Continuing from last night’s post…
Favorite Bowie soundtrack – Labyrinth
Albums in this category also include: Christiane F. and The Buddha of Suburbia. This selection is probably not too hard to imagine as Labyrinth is probably his most popular soundtrack. Christiane F. is, for the most part, merely a compilation of songs from the “Berlin Trilogy” days. Technically, The Buddha of Suburbia, while claiming to be a soundtrack on the album cover, isn’t necessarily one. Yes, it’s a full-length (10 tracks) recording. Yes, it was supposed to be utilized in the BBC2 series of the same name, but the title track was the only song used. Most people have no idea this album even exists, but it was released between Black Tie, White Noise and Outside. Believe it or not, this is the album Bowie claimed was his favorite. Back to Labyrinth. Although this movie and soundtrack came during his soul-less period, it was a welcomed break away from the solo albums that weighed him down. It has Bowie, it has Muppets, it has the beautiful Jennifer Connelly. What’s not to like? From a sentimentality standpoint, Labyrinth and The Goonies are two of my favorite children’s adventure movies that still hold a special place in my heart. Other soundtrack favorites include: This Is Not America (from The Falcon and The Snowman) and Absolute Beginners (from Absolute Beginners).
Favorite Bowie tour – Sound + Vision
I have experienced four Bowie tours – two live and two on DVD. The DVD concerts include the Serious Moonlight Tour (in support of Let’s Dance) and the Glass Spider Tour (in support of Never Let Me Down). The live concerts include Sound + Vision Tour and A Reality Tour (in support of Reality). All four concerts were superb in their own way as one might expect from a showman like Bowie. Serious Moonlight shined because it was Bowie finally stripped of his personas playing to massive crowds worldwide. It was musically tight as one might expect, but the theatricality stood out – mostly because of the two giant floor-to-ceiling condoms on the stage. I’m not sure what they were supposed to be, but that’s the image that has stuck with me all these years.
The Glass Spider Tour was also spectacular in its gaudy Vegas-style lighting and dancing. This tour was just so over-the-top campy that you just had to laugh or shake your head at what was occurring on stage. To be fair, though, Peter Frampton added his excellent guitar work and vocals to the performance. This tour also has my favorite choreographed song (Sons of the Silent Age) courtesy of Toni Basil. Yes, that Toni Basil. Of Mickey fame. Any time you can include movement from a dancer in ski boots, you’ve got my attention and appreciation.
The Sound + Vision Tour was wonderful because it stripped away all of the gaudiness from the Glass Spider tour – including all choreography. What was left was a black & white stage with Bowie and his backing musicians (including the talented Adrian Belew) blasting out “a farewell to the old songs”. The show wasn’t visually boring without the pomp or dancing, though. It featured a scrim onto which they flashed artistic images and videos. It was a right send-off.
A Reality Tour brought together the drum & bass core (Sterling Campbell & Gail Ann Dorsey respectively) from the Earthling album and paired them with long-time Bowie contributors Earl Slick on guitar and Mike Garson on keyboards. Like the Sound + Vision Tour, the stage was sparse and included a scrim. The show itself was just Bowie being Bowie but with a more ballsy sound backing him. Honestly, deciding my favorite tour is difficult because as much as I loved A Reality Tour for the musical muscle, it’s hard to compete with the Sound + Vision Tour and all of his catalog to that point.
There are so many more aspects to the musical visionary that was David Bowie that it feels disrespectful to his memory to stop here. All good things, my friends. All good things. Before I close this post, however, I really should complete the answer to the question that sparked this three-part post. To be perfectly honest, up until this moment I still couldn’t decide what my favorite Bowie album was – it was a tie between The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Let’s Dance; Black Tie, White Noise; Blackstar, and my ultimate winner…
I chose this due to what I said earlier, but also because the more I thought of it (and the more I read what others have written), the more I realized that so much of his later work has been labelled, “The best album since Scary Monsters.” There’s a reason it comes back to this album.
You’ve now read my ramblings, it’s time to add your thoughts. What is your favorite Bowie album? Or, if you aren’t a Bowie fan, which artist or group holds the same significance for you and what is your favorite album of theirs?