I had waited a long time to see this. Well let me rephrase. I had the DVD and the records of this recording but had never seen it on the big screen. Ziggy’s last stand. The last show they will ever do. A lump comes to my throat every time I say that. If I had a time machine, this is where I would choose to go to. Not The Beatles at The Cavern but seeing the last ever Ziggy concert. I was only six and at the time had no concept of Bowie. I fell in love with him at age 12 and have loved him ever since so I was extremely excited about this event. Ziggy is why I love David Bowie. It's no secret I am a 70’s Bowie girl at heart and the live Ziggy album has always been my favourite live album. I was taking son no 2 with me as he loves Bowie, and it was his birthday the day before. Not only was the screening 50 years to the day of the last Ziggy gig, it also was exactly 40 years ago since I saw Bowie live at Milton Keynes Bowl. It would be a very special night.
We were the first into the screen. Sadly, the seats we had picked online, had a dirty floor. It was very sticky. We tried to clean it (I still carry wipes in my handbag), but it was not working so I asked to move and moved into the seats in front of us. Luckily for us it was not sold out, but there were a lot of people in this screening. More than both screenings I attended of Moonage Daydream put together. People clearly love Ziggy.
We waited patiently. Around 20 minutes actually. We had a coloured test screen going bip/bop and a left right sound test. I joked about Fashion (turn to the left). We were all in good spirits awaiting it in anticipation. While we were waiting, I joked to everyone in the screen that we should start a sing-along. I did do a ‘We want Ziggy’ chant too. Well, where else can I do this? We did not realise we were actually missing the live panel discussion. We finally got it but had apparently missed Woody Woodmansey speak and Mike Garson play piano. This is sacrilege. These tickets were extortionately priced and for that I expected the full experience. Cineworld Milton Keynes was not alone with technical difficulties. No matter how many people were unimpressed with the panel, we had paid to see it and I cannot have an opinion of what I haven’t seen. While I understand that these things happen occasionally with live streams, all those who experienced this should be compensated.
When the live Ziggy concert started everyone settled back to enjoy it. I know every word off by heart. One of my favourites is My Death. The new edit had cut the bits of him telling the audience it’s a quiet song and to be quiet. That had gone and i missed it. But when he sang this, I felt like I was the only person in the crowd. It is like in a film where all the others around you blur out and its only me and Bowie. He is coming to the end of the song:
Angel or devil. I don’t care. For in front of that door there is…. I screamed out ‘Me!’. I was the only one to do it. But it had to be done. There was a reaction from the audience, but I was oblivious to it. It was just me and Bowie. I clapped after each song as if I was at the concert. He deserves applause.
Another of my favourites is the medley. A little bit of Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud, Changes and Oh! You Pretty Things. I felt very emotional seeing this on the big screen.
It was wonderful to see Round and Round and Jean Genie and see Jeff Beck rock that guitar. This clip had been missing from the original DVD and it was great to see something new amongst all the familiar.
What really stood out was how fantastic Mick Ronson was not just as a guitarist, but as a performer too. He was amazing and really shone in this version of the show. It didn’t show much of Woody or Trevor, but they are also amazing talents and I have met Woody on several occasions and have a lot of time for him.
But there is no doubt that the star of the show is David Bowie. Ziggy in 4k on a big screen is phenomenal. The outfits were outrageous. Can you imagine what it must have been like to see that in 1973? It also shows that the Ziggy statue at Aylesbury is accurate for the outfit and what he looked like (I am not commenting on the others that are behind the main statue – that is a whole other blog!)
Bowie does a bit of mime which always makes me smile. He teases the audience with his sexual prowess and shakes his bum, flaunts his thighs and generally is a sex god on stage. Cracked Actor and Time are just iconic with Bowie doing Ziggy.
He broke down barriers for so many people. Bowie as Ziggy taught me that its okay to be myself in my quirky way. That no outfit can be outrageous enough. That we can be whatever we want to be. What a wonderful legacy.
But back to the show, I was dreading the end. I knew it was coming. I know the lines so well and they always make me cry. ‘Not only is it the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show we will ever do’. And launches into Rock n Roll Suicide. In 2013 at the V&A in London, I sang that loudly. When we lost Bowie in 2016, I decided to have ‘cause you’re wonderful tattooed on my wrist alongside the Blackstar’s. It is safe to say this song means a lot to me. My hands were outstretched, and I was sobbing. This moment was everything. It might never happen again, and I was well aware of this so to be able to give him my hands and for him to tell me I am wonderful is all I need in the world. I came out in a daze. On a Bowie high. My favourite kind of high. I'm happy, hope you're happy too.