One Night With David – The Elvis Memorial Concert (Golden Eggs EGG 151/152)
Gorge Amphitheater, Quincy, Washington, USA – August 16, 2002
Disc 1 (60:09) Life On Mars?, Ashes To Ashes, Breaking Glass, Cactus, China Girl, Slip Away, Fame, I’m Afraid Of Americans, I’ve Been Waiting For You, 5:15 The Angels Have Gone, Heroes, Heathen (The Rays)
Disc 2 (57:29) I Feel So Bad, One Night, A New Career In A New Town, Fashion, Everyone Says ‘Hi’, Hallo Spaceboy, Let’s Dance, Ziggy Stardust. Bonus Tracks: Jonathan Ross Show, UK – June 27, 2002: Fashion, Slip Away, Everyone Says ‘Hi’, Ziggy Stardust. Tonight Show, USA – August 12, 2002: Cactus (Live with Moby). Conan O’Brien Show, USA – October 19, 2002: Hickory Dickory Dock!
David Bowie’s North American tour in support of his 2002 release Heathen took place in the summer of that year and was part of Moby’s Area:2 Festivals, an eclectic bill that featured Moby, Bowie, Rapper Busta Rhymes, Ash, and the Blue Man Group. The last night of the tour took place at the massive 27,500 seat amphitheater The Gorge in George, Washington. There are two audience recordings that capture Bowie’s set, for this new release, the folks at Golden Eggs use the better of the two, an excellent stereo audience recording.
The recording features a perfect balance and mix with no volume fluctuations one usually associates with outdoor audience recordings. It has a full range of frequencies with a nice bottom end and captures the atmosphere of the event nicely. There has been one other release of this concert, 50,000,000 Bowie Fans Can’t Be Wrong (Helden-DEN-123/124) features a great cover, a take off of Elvis’ 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Based upon a review of that title, it sounds like it used the other source. The short tour doesn’t allow for exhaustion to set in and David is in a wonderful, talkative mood. Vocally he is in excellent shape and he and his band that features Bowie stalwarts Earl Slick on guitar, Gail Ann Dorsey on bass, and Mike Garson on piano turn in an excellent relaxed performance.
The concert opens with Life On Mars?, and interesting choice but shows David is in fine voice. He warmly greets the audience afterwards and introduces Ashes To Ashes as being a “little Cowboy song”, interesting is you can hear the sound get clearer and increase in volume. There’s a relaxed vibe among the musicians, David jokes a bit with some band introductions prior to Breaking Glass. There is a girl by the taper who finally lets loose with Cactus, she gives her approval a few times through the song and seems to inject life into the audience. Between Slip Away and Fame David does a tease of Space Oddity that gets the audience hoping he would play the song but he was just joking, Fame is then played with a sexy swagger. More jokes abound…”Dave Limey Bowie”, it seems all are enjoying themselves.
David’s cover of Neil Young’s I’ve Been Waiting For You is excellent, the band delivers the power and feel of the original version but interject a unique edge to it, Sterling Campbell’s drumming is very powerful with some killer fills. Heroes is an uptempo version that is quite interesting, Earl Slick plays melodic leads that harmonize with David’s vocals interjecting that melancholy feel in contrast to the punchlines of the other instruments…really good.
David gives an interesting yet heartfelt speech about Elvis Presley, who by all accounts was a major influence on David. The band had obviously rehearsed a few numbers to commemorate the 25 years since his passing with a take of Elvis’ 1961 I Feel So Bad, interesting to hear the band go rockabilly! They slow things down for an equally as brilliant version of The Kings 1958 hit One Night, and David is crooning with the best of them. A fabulous tribute that certainly leaves some in the crowd wondering what the hell is going on. David also brings up the fact he and Elvis share a birthday, January the 8th and even comments that Jimmy Page is a day latter. David plays some damn fine harmonica for the Low deep cut A New Career In A New Town. “What’s your name..inet”, David can’t seem to get enough. Hallo Spaceboy is Industrial Bowie at its best, layered and textured with Garson’s piano fills contrasting the electronic noise.
Let’s Dance is a complete contrast, David tells the audience “You’ve given us a great time, thank you very much” and the band begin the song ala a night club version that I’m sure catches many by surprise, certainly only recognizing the song when they go into the chorus and finally the song proper, brilliant. Ziggy Stardust brings the house down, the tempo is just a tad slower and it gives a heavy feel to the song. A great and extremely enjoyable performance.
The bonus tracks begin with four songs played on the Jonathan Ross Show from June 27, 2002, watching the video of these performance on youtube is very cool, they are on a small sound stage, lots of smiles David and the band look to be greatly enjoying themselves. The sound quality is excellent, especially coming from a TV source. The next bonus track is David and his band joined by Moby and they play a version of The Pixies’ song Cactus. The last track is David on the Conan O’Brien Show talking about singing lullaby’s to his daughter and gives a rendition of the old nursery rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock!.
The tri-gatefold sleeve features both posed and live shots of David and his band, the interior live shot of him smiling certainly could describe this concert. The sound quality of this set is excellent, filling up the space on the second disc with relevant material is a trademark of the Golden Eggs titles, value for money. A very enjoyable set.