Taped live during the 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour that shattered box office records in every city, David Bowie gives one of the most dramatic and charismatic live performances of his career. The Serious Moonlight Tour has ... more »been called the most important rock event in the history of the music genre and his Vancouver show was designed specifically to ensure that the live excitement was captured on tape. It includes such hits as: "Let's Dance", "China Girl", "Heroes", "Rebel", "Young Americans", "Space Oddity", and "Golden Years", among others.« less
All things considered, not bad, plus a hidden little bonus
Philip P. Obbard | Brooklyn, NY | 04/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My first exposure to Bowie was seeing him on MTV in the "Let's Dance" video back in 1983. While I've since acquired just about everything he's ever recorded, and have no trouble identifying the strongest part of his career as coming to an end around 1980, I still have a fondness for the 1983 incarnation of Mr. Jones. I also - truth be told - love horn-laden, synth-heavy, bright rearrangements of much of the older material showcased on the Serious Moonlight tour, like "Star", "Station to Station", "Scary Monsters", etc.
I enjoyed this video back on VHS, and it has transitioned as well as can be excepted to DVD. I am still annoyed at a few of the artistic choices -- especially truncating the beginning of "Station to Station", as well as omitting tour staples like "Modern Love" and "Star", from the video record -- but at 20 songs, I can't accuse the producers of being skimpy. It serves well as a record of an exciting, commercially successful tour -- and one that isn't as artistically bankrupt as critics claim.
The video quality is still somewhat grainy, but the sound is excellent.
Getting the "Ricochet" documentary as a bonus is a real treat.
Finally, for a hidden bonus: I almost bought the revised SOUND & VISION box set back in 2003 just to get the live b-side version of "Modern Love" -- a rarity from the days of vinyl that had previously not made it to CD. I'm glad I didn't, because it's actually hidden away on this DVD, as the soundtrack for the "Gallery" feature!"
Poor audio and video quality
J. Gitzlaff | Chicago, IL United States | 01/08/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am about as big a David Bowie fan as anybody can realistically claim to be, but even I cannot muster much enjoyment from watching this DVD. True, several of the interpretations of songs on this disc are classic and highly worth hearing. However, there is no escaping the fact that the disc started with dated media and was remastered sloppily, if at all. The video is in "soft focus" throughout (to put it charitably) and the technical sound quality low."
Give the Drummer (and Alomar) Some!
Mr. E. J. Ross | Northern England | 03/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A vast improvement over the earlier VHS release, thank God. Though the picture and sound are by no means perfect (from what I gather, the concert was filmed on video), they no longer detract from the concert in the way the VHS version (muffled sound, blurry picture) did. For some idea of the quality, check out the Cat People video on The Best of Bowie DVD.
The concert itself is not for everyone, by all means, but even beyond the blonde perm and hammy theatrics, there lurks a solid concert. Its strength lies mainly in the track listing: it's basically the Low through Scary Monsters period with some older material and new songs thrown in. With Carlos Alomar (who features a lot in the concert) and Chic's Tony Thompson, the material has a nice funky edge, something missing in Bowie's current line-up.
The low points are Life on Mars and Space Oddity, which don't work at all well in these settings, the latter seeming to grind to a halt in places. Also, Earl Slick and his red hair band should have been tamed: each time he comes on for a solo it feels like you're watching a Van Halen covers band - it's not ideal. (When Bowie introduces the band towards the end, Slick is greeted by rapturous applause while Alomar just gets a routine clapping, which is simply unfair.).
Also included here is the documentary, Ricochet. Thankfully, Bowie doesn't act in the film. Instead, we see him hob-knobbing with the people of Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong. There are actually some nice shots of these cities, with a particularly nice montage of Bangkok set to the music of Moss Garden. There is also footage of the Hong Kong leg of the tour, where the set is more intimate and a little rougher round the edges."
Philip P. Obbard | 04/07/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the way old tube cameras recorded things back then in the eighties - lights would smear, and soft focus filters and spotlights shining through smoke just add to the at-time-fuzzy, at-times-glossy look. Don't believe the reviews that say the DVD had bad visual mastering; my criteria for this disc is simple: Does it look and sound the way it did when it aired on HBO those many years ago? It does. That's both relief (the master video could have deteriorated - except for a couple split second breaks, it hasn't) and unfortunate (the sound needs to be remixed/remastered). About that all-important sound: Background hiss exists, but what really bothers me is that the mix doesn't do justice to Carlos Alomar's guitar. A modern mix would bring him out more, but who knows if the unmixed audio tapes from the show even exist anymore? At least the vocals are clear. About the show itself, this was Bowie at his most accessible, with everyone dressed up in shirts & suspenders and proper shoes (except for Earl Slick, who looks and acts like he escaped from an episode of Welcome Back Kotter), and just a few smoke and light effects, with some great performances; Cat People sounding great, and even Fame - which often turns into a laborious affair - is engaging."
Cary S. Ashby | Sandusky, OH USA | 11/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Two words - classic Bowie! Taken from the Vancouver show of David Bowie's 1983 world tour, this concert is a great representation of the Thin White Duke's career up to that point. Bowie's voice is strong and his performance epitomizes the charisma and energy for which his live shows are known. Although not nearly as theatrical as the Ziggy Stardust through Diamond Dogs era ('72-'74) or the Glass Spider tour ('87), it's a fun concert filled with lots of hits. Except for "Sorrow" and "The Cracked Actor", Bowie performs no Ziggy-era songs, but he does indulge in a Hamlet-esque, show-stopping rendition of the latter. Dressed very dapper in baggy suits, Bowie parades the stage, playing with the audience and giving them their money's worth. His band is one of his strongest - with Earl Slick on lead guitar, Tony Thompson on drums, and the funky saxophone section, The Borneo Horns, to name a few. A masterful performance. In summary: a must for die-hard Bowie-heads and a great way to get started for those not acquainted with the music of the talented David Bowie"