DAVID BOWIE: SERIOUS MOONLIGHT
Reviewed September 17th, 1999 by Staff
While hardly the artistic height of his career, no one can argue that the Serious Moonlight tour was not the commercial summit for David Bowie. As the DVD literature boasts, the tour broke box office records at every stop. Let's Dance, the album which the tour supported, got Bowie all over MTV, the charts and the cover of Time. This August Vancouver evening is Bowie as big as he would ever be. The 1983 concert video itself is considered a classic of the genre, if it can be called a genre.
Despite the fact that even Bowie might call Let's Dance a sellout, no fan can complain about the song lineup:
Look Back in Anger
What in the World
Life on Mars
Cat People (Ok, complain about that one)
White Light, White Heat
Station to Station
Ashes to Ashes
Bowie's theatrical stage show, his backing band and his voice are fantastic; despite the ridiculous “acting” by backing vocalists Frank and George Simms during Scary Monsters.
Now for the bad news: the video quality on this disc suggests that Pioneer mastered it from a copy of a copy of a Beta tape of the HBO concert in '83. It's absolutely terrible. This shoddy 1.33:1, full frame transfer is unfortunate, as the concert is shot in a very interesting way.
Strangely enough, someone at Pioneer had the concert's audio remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound is somewhat muddy, and the split surrounds are filled with crowd noises, but some points should be given for effort. Turn off your TV and treat this as a live record: it's better than Bowie's Stage, other than for the muddy mix.
While scene selection should not be considered a special feature, in a concert video it is very useful.
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