09
Aug
08

Worshipping The Leper Messiah: David Bowie Live Santa Monica ’72

Bootlegs are extraordinary things – they can be a sign of subcultural capital, a souvenir from a gig you were at, or in many cases, the only way you can ever get to experience a band/artist in their prime. They’re traditionally supposed to exist outside the official music industry and economy, hence the term bootleg, passed along between fans, acting as a currency of sorts. Of course some people end up making rather official-looking bootleg records and CDs and then selling them, and these bootlegs can become just as treasured and rare as others. I, myself, own most of my bootlegs via digital files transferred to disc, and I’m incredibly thankful that so many people post live gigs for free download, even if they’re sometimes difficult to find. So as much as I still wish I could have seen The Smiths live or the Manics when Richey was still a part of the band, at least I can gain a little insight into what it would have been like to be there through the dozens of bootlegs I’ve amassed. To add to my few “official” bootlegs, I’ve now got David Bowie’s 1972 gig in Santa Monica, which was re-released a few weeks ago, and I’m quite pleased I have it despite the fact it’s clearly one of those re-release money grab situations. While I thankfully did get to see Bowie live once during his Reality tour (third row seats, for which I’m particularly grateful), I obviously would have loved to see him during his Ziggy Stardust days, and this bootleg puts me smack back into that time.
This box set is aesthetically very pleasing and includes all those fun extras that fans like going through in addition to liner notes – exclusive photos from RCA, the concert review featured in the LA Times, and the liner notes booklet itself. Robert Hilburn. who wrote the review in the LA Times, provides some fantastic visuals for you as you listen to the disc and imagine being there:
Bowie, with a background in mime, has enormous stage control and is able to accomplish more with the mere movement of his eyes than most performers in rock can do with a whole series of exaggerated movements. His body is so disciplined that Bowie can create the tension of a wild animal, a tiger or panther as he prowls the stage, controlling the pace and direction of the show as he moves.
In addition, to the beautiful presentation, the performance itself is just brilliant in spite of mistakes and screeches of feedback. Bowie’s theatricality and charm is tangible as he works his way through hits from Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World, and even The Jean Genie from the forthcoming Aladdin Sane. The setlist is also representative of the impressive body of work that Bowie had already created by that time – there aren’t any songs from bad or non-descript albums that you inevitably contend with at Bowie shows now (I don’t care how many punters want to hear Modern Love, David, you don’t need to sing it anymore – replace it with Letter to Hermione).
There are many places on this bootleg that just transport me back to an excitement I will never get to experience firsthand: the rumbling bass building and building in the opening of Changes; the mesmerizing lonely drumbeat in Five Years echoing throughout the venue like an apocalyptic tribal call; the absolutely blistering Mick Ronson guitar solos in The Width of a Circle, Moonage Daydream, Waiting For the Man, and Sufragette City; Bowie asking in his camp voice for “pliers or a strong hand” as he prepares for the acoustic break, including a performance of Space Oddity in which he drones his own special effects and his voice just soars flawlessly; the haunting and emotional cover of Jacques Brel’s My Death that makes my heart flutter; the frenetic, wild performance of one my favourite Bowie songs, Queen Bitch; and the poignant, appropriate finale of Rock ‘n Roll Suicide where Bowie rasps “Gimme your hands” over and over, and I want to reach out to the stereo.

Overall, the gig was one of those perfect ones, where it was obvious David Bowie was completely in his element and at one of the several peaks of his career, still at the cusp of the most productive decade of his life. As much as I wish I had paid my $5.50 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on October 20, 1972, I must make do with this historical recording of when David Bowie truly was otherworldly.

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2 Responses to “Worshipping The Leper Messiah: David Bowie Live Santa Monica ’72”


  1. 1 hadge
    August 10, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Fantastic album – I have had the bootleg for many years and I was fortunate enough to see pretty much the same set in Manchester when he toured the UK with the Spiders in 1973 – the same tour which saw him kill off Ziggy at the Hammersmith Odeon – a golden age and a memory I shall never forget.

    iaskedforwonder

  2. 2 JC
    August 17, 2008 at 10:30 am

    It was the 80s before I got round to seeing Bowie play live…..but I’m married to someone who, at the age of 14, got to see him on that ’72 tour.

    She still puts it in her Top 3 gigs of all time….


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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave

Photobucket

So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun

Photobucket

Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head

Photobucket

Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away

Photobucket

Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

Photobucket

Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

Photobucket

You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender

Photobucket

I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding

Photobucket

You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black

Photobucket

Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

Photobucket

Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

Photobucket

Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

Photobucket

Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Photobucket

And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

Photobucket

My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

Photobucket

Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love

Photobucket

We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

Photobucket

Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south

Empty

Running on

Bravado

As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different

Photobucket

LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell

Photobucket

Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are

Photobucket

You must let her go

She's not crying

Photobucket

Baiting

Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times

Valentines

Hating

Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone

Whipcrack

Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't

Photobucket

So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need

Photobucket

The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest

Photobucket

Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know

Photobucket

No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more

Photobucket

All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids

Photobucket

Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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