The nice jacket
The Bowie estate is releasing a lot of concerts nowadays, six live albums since the beginning of 2017! It’s great and I love it. Hard for my bank account, but good stuff for my vinyl collection on the shelves. Glastonbury 2000 was released last November. It’s taken from a short summer tour David did in 2000. I was looking forward to this live show from June 25th as I love the BBC show recorded two days later, on the 27th, that was released on the special edition CD of the “Bowie at the Beeb”.
This was Bowie’s first return to the Glastonbury Festival since 1971, as told by Bowie from the stage. Bowie seems to have been in a really good mood and the band is great. The double LP contains 22 tracks. The older songs are stronger than the newest ones, but that is no surprise, I guess.
The opening track is the wonderful “Wild is the wing”, but unfortunately it is wrecked by bad post production or mixing of the sound from the cheering audience. The cheers are turned up now and again as to make us hyper aware of the audience and it is stealing attention from David and his performance. This is only annoying, and it has got to stop. Luckily it is much better mixed on the “At the Beeb” cd.
Another track that is better on the “At the Beeb” cd is “Ashes to ashes”. They play it tighter somehow. There are some sound effects on the Glastonbury version that are odd and in no way improve the song.
“Ashes to ashes” starts a trio of songs that make up to the weakest part of the album; “Ashes to ashes”, “Rebel rebel” and “Little wonder”. Either weak versions or in case of “Rebel rebel”, one of the weaker songs. But most parts of the album are great. There are really cool versions of old classics such as “Golden years”, “Station to station” and “Starman”. We also get one of the very best versions of “Absolute beginners” I have heard. The song from the film with the same name has never been a favourite of mine, but here it blossoms. The duet with Gale Ann Dorsey on “Under pressure” is lovely. I love how great their musical relationship was. Why did you leave?
The last four songs are soooo good. The audience must have been ecstatic! I am listening back home in my music room, and even I felt my pulse rise. “Ziggy Stardust” is heavier than usual, less focus on lighter guitar sounds. Here it is played with the full strength of all instruments and a singer on top of his game.
“Heroes” is, as always, interesting. This version is missing the intro! He starts singing and it’s like the players catch up eventually. It is nice to hear a more “meaty” version of Ziggy. The usually powerful “Heroes” is however started more lightly. It’s a mellow start, but in the end, we get the full lungs treatment. Actually the end of the song is done as a straight up rocker, not as the usual powerful “anthem”.
“Let’s dance” get the same Spanish guitar intro that I always have loved from the version on “At the Beeb”. Unfortunately, he uses the intro to introduce some of the players from the band on this version. Very bad. But when it gets going everything is soon forgotten. The live version from 2000 is clearly the best version of this superb song. The show was ended with an aggressive “I’m afraid of Americans”. What a great way to end a glorious night!
The sound quality is really good, almost great except for the bad mixing of the audience noise here and there. The sound is a tad muddier than the “At the Beeb” which has a super detailed soundscape, but also is a little thinner with less “body” and “punch”.
The cover is not that impressive, a picture of Bowie in his elaborate, and apparently thick, jacket. However great a jacket this is clearly not a cover they have spent time on. Nice hair though, David.
My rating: 8/10
- Introduction (Greensleves)
- Wild is the wind
- China girl
- Life on Mars?
- Absolute beginners
- Ashes to ashes
- Rebel rebel
- Little wonder
- Golden years
- All the young dudes
- The man who sold the world
- Station to station
- Hello spaceboy
- Under pressure
- Ziggy Stardust
- Let’s dance
- I’m afraid of Ameicans
Best live versions: “Stay”, “Absolute beginners”, “Golden years”, “Station to station” and “Starman”.
Produced by: Tony Visconti
Released: November 30th, 2018