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From the archives: David Bowie wows Commonwealth on 1983's Critical Moonlight tour

David Bowie attracted about 60,000 folks to his stadium rock present, held at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.

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It was, on the time, the most important rock live performance to hit Alberta.

David Bowie attracted about 60,000 folks to his stadium rock present, held at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on a heat Aug. 7, 1983 — the temperature hit 26 C that day.

After supporting acts The Tubes and Peter Gabriel cleared the stage, Bowie supplied an hermetic two-hour efficiency.

About one-third of the gang attending the Bowie live performance reportedly got here from outdoors town, resulting in brisk enterprise at metropolis motels.

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The 1983 live performance was the primary of 4 exhibits Bowie carried out in Edmonton: twice at Commonwealth Stadium (’83, ’87) and twice at Rexall Place (’90, 2004).

Right here is the Journal’s protection of the spectacle:


The A1 ‘newser’ within the Aug. 8, 1983, version of the Journal

Hermetic present dazzles 60,000 followers

By ALAN KELLOGG, Journal Workers Author

Wowie Bowie!

About 60,000 cheering Commonwealth Stadium followers delivered that verdict at Alberta’s largest rock live performance Sunday, celebrating the appearances of The Tubes, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie — one of many few pop performers nonetheless able to drawing large crowds within the depressed rock market of the ’80s.

Planked by large columns emblazoned with a crescent moon and outstretched hand, the 36-year-old Briton danced his approach thropugh an hermetic two-hour efficiency, a lot to the delight of the assembled, who ranged from pre-teens to the mortgage and white-wine set.

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Most of the staging results used all through Bowie’s worldwide tour needed to be scrapped as a consequence of Edmonton’s late sundown, however the total manufacturing values had been glorious, providing good sound replica and a schedule that Canada’s railways ought to research.

The Tubes, an American outfit finest recognized for its outrageous satires, and former artwork rocker Gabriel turned in stable performances, however the love affair between viewers and performer started when the headliner made his entrance.

Over a 3rd of the gang had been out-of-towners, and native motels reported brisk enterprise all through the weekend. Full gate receipts and artists’ charges are unavailable, however the live performance grossed greater than $1 million, making it some of the profitable rock paydays in Canadian historical past.

Edmonton police expressed pleasure with the gang’s behaviour, noting that solely 12 arrests had been made all through the eight-hour occasion. One younger man fell off a two-storey wall and was reported in severe situation with a number of fractures at Royal Alexandra Normal Hospital.

Whether or not or not Edmonton will appeal to future concert events on this scale stays unclear, however hundreds of followers will keep in mind the day David Bowie got here to city. As stadium rock exhibits go, it could solely be described as a rosuing success.

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Live performance opinions from web page C4

Stable Bowie shines on, Gabriel touches hearts

By ALAN KELLOGG, Journal Workers Author

Permitting for the truth that stadium concert events aren’t precisely probably the most applicable boards for the appreciation of music, Sunday’s Edmonton (sunburned) leg of the Critical Moonlight Tour proved to be an occasion, because it was cracked as much as be.

Undoubtedly, a profound respect for the principle man’s 15-year musical historical past helps lots, and this poses some difficulties for yours actually.

Even so, the man danced his approach (with appreciable model) into the hearts and loins of the transformed and turned in a stable total efficiency. No matter one thinks of Bowie’s musical achievements, the person is a grasp on stagewho by no means succumbs to the embarrassing self-parody widespread to rock stars of his technology. Sure, David Bowie has star high quality.

Mixing loads of chestnuts along with his latter-day dance tunes, the previous David Jones was expertly backed by his 10-piece band, which included a primary rock format with a horn part and the superb background vocals of the Simms brothers.

Ashes To Ashes, The Skinny White Duke, Fame and Area Oddity had been my faves, however the crowd went gaga over latest hits like Cat Folks, Let’s Dance and China Lady.

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Every little thing, from the marble-like flooring and the sheer shifting columns to the stage costumes, was simply so — as you’d count on from one of many style’s main style plates.

To those ears — and let it’s acknowledged that it is a minority opinion to understate issues — it was Peter Gabriel who supplied the day’s most musical moments. The person could have a number of Eva Perron pretensions at stadium concert events, however he clearly possesses the abilities and materials that deserve true respect — even admiration, contemplating the social bases he touches.

Gabriel’s world view was notably shifting in Biko, arguably one of the best tune of the day. Right here, and in Household Snapshot, a robust reflection on assassinations, Gabriel confirmed himself to be certainly one of pop’s most lucid and principled practictioners. He can get you up in your ft as effectively, as he demonstrated on a scorching studying of Shoot The Monkey.

I stay up for the person’s subsequent solo live performance. One hour is just too quick a time to savor an artist of this high quality.

The Tubes, fired by the antics of singer Charge Waybill, did their finest however suffered from the daylight, as lots of their onstage methods require correct staging and lighting. Once more, this act ought to be heard as headliners.

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If it wasn’t the musical occasion of my life, the Bowie spectacular provided worth for cash and loads of principally clever music. Within the period of Let’s Dance, that’s simply high quality.

Followers face scorching solar for Bowie

By TERESA MAZZITELLI, Journal Workers Author

Cross Edmonton off Aladdin’s listing. Add one other notch — the Critical Moonlight tour — to the rock ‘n’ roll historical past books, one other paragraph to the prolonged and intriguing chapter on David Bowie, one of many style’s most fascinating performers.

This transient inclusion will probably not point out Edmonton — simply one other of the 30-city, 50-show North American tour, however Alberta’s largest live performance — selecting as an alternative to concentrate on evaluation or lend an total perspective to this most present Bowie endeavor.

You couldn’t give the 60,000 at Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday evaluation or perspective. They wished prompt gratification, entry, reminiscences.

They wished front-row seats.

The gang pressed towards the stage shortly, loudly and in an orderly style (contemplating) when the person of many colors appeared barely after 8 p.m. Causlally dressed, effectively tanned and with representatives from all ages, it was a well-behaved ensemble.

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A couple of minor arrests for drug trafficking had been made and one policeman suffered bruises and a sore jaw in a scuffle.

The medical group reported a few drug overdose instances, some alcohol-related and warmth exhaustion incidents, sprained ankles and “loads of blisters.” The one severe harm passed off later within the night when an unidentified male in his mid-twenties tried to scale a wall, slipped and fell. He’s in hospital with fractures.

Happily, the motion was all on stage. When San Francisco’s The Tubes started the afternoon at 4 p.m., the miles of pores and skin on the stadium ground — the grass was lined with plastic — had been settling in.

The realm later turned an enormous disposal website.

Different ornamental measures included a poster that learn “It’s been So Lengthy David” whereas the out-of-town contingent was represented by a pink-on-white “Hinton Loves Ziggy Stardust.”

One other was extra anatomical about her summation: ” There are way more lovely our bodies right here than I’ve ever seen at some other perform in Edmonton.”

The Tubes garnered extra consideration for his or her antics than their music: solely one-third of the ground viewers listened. Aisle visitors had diminished significantly when progressive rocker Peter Gabriel made his entrance minutes earlier than 6 p.m. By the top of his one-hour set, two-thirds of the ground had been specializing in the white-clad vocalist.

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The mid-afternoon 25-degree climate had fallen barely by the point Bowie arrived in a pale yellow swimsuit. However the chanting, lighting of lighters and standing ovations had simply begun. Aladdin and mates might add 57,600 completely satisfied listeners to the Moonlight tour’s anticipated total viewers of two million.

Bowie returned to Commonwealth Stadium 4 years later, in 1987 on his Glass Spider tour, bringing opening acts Duran Duran and Georgia Satellites with him, however this time attracting about 30,000 folks on a cool mid-August night. From the Journal on Aug. 18, 1987:


Bowie dramatic, fascinating as followers share an ‘expertise’

By HELEN METELLA, Journal Workers Author

It had a stunning, hue-altering spider, four-stories excessive, dangling above the stage; a fantasical crew of singer-dancers extra outrageous than something Bob Fosse might think about; a sequence wherein a lady from the viewers is dressed and integrated into the tableau.

Briefly, regardless of unsettled skies and a depressing-looking, half-full venue, David Bowie’s Monday evening live performance was nonetheless an occasion that can mark an area in time and expertise for the 30,000 or so predominantly teenage followers who shivered by way of 4 hours to see it.

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In any case, a live performance of those dimensions is, by definition, much less about music than it’s a few communal spectacle, about sharing “the expertise.”

Nothing stood in the best way of that as two video screens, an astounding and potent sound combine, and a sumpuous lights-and-effects show turned such new, gutsier Bowie materials as Day In Day Out, Bang Bang and Glass Spider, and such basic older items as China Lady and Insurgent Insurgent, into some of the dramatic and fascinating opening 40 minutes these days noticed by this agent.

Admittedly hampered by deadlines, I’ve no concept what the message of all these ricocheting our bodies, thumping drums and tribalistic chanting was, however the finish impact was a transfixing, pulsating and luscious deal with for the eyes and ears.

As anticipated, Bowie, the consummate showman, was completely comfy, however so was the once-has-been guitarist Peter Frampton, who dished out scorching leads on this resolutely hard-edged program.

After all, a riot of extra like this additionally has lots to do with exploiting the market and maximizing earnings.

How else would one clarify the wholesome turnout (albeit solely half the record-breaking 60,000 who danced with Bowie right here in 1983) at a time when he’s had two mediocre albums again to again?

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Or how about these $12 (!!) tour packages? (Die-cut and lovely, however resembling a Vogue format greater than a peek behind the scenes.)

And let’s not neglect that this was simply the strangest billing since Bruce Springsteen opened for Anne Murray.

Duran Duran, the erstwhile teen darlings making a last-ditch effort to revive their careers, had been greater than tolerable and fairly convincingly polished, irrespective of how low on the evolutionary scale one recordsdata such nonsensical works as Hungry Like The Wolf, Union of the Snake and the most recent pop fluff, Infamous.

Decked out in dapper fits, the three remaining authentic members are as cutesy as ever, however lead singer Simon LeBon was an effervescent bundle of power and the funk basis of most of their preparations was vigorous, time-wasting enjoyable.

Nonetheless, that they had an excessive amount of bother the viewers’s power stage up.

Though they had been about as applicable to the affair as halter tops would have been within the unseasonably chilly air, jovial southern rockers Georgia Satellites laid down a satisfying slab of guitar manhandling throughout their environment friendly half-hour.

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The unpretentious, unrefined quartet is principally a rowdy storage band that bought fortunate, however on Railroad Metal, they proved their mettle as manipulators of a darkish, tense groove.

Bowie went indoors on his third cease in Edmonton on March 12, 1990, when performed Northlands Coliseum whereas touring to assist Sound+Imaginative and prescient, a double-disc best hits package deal:

David Bowie performs during his Sound+Vision tour at Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum on March 12, 1990.
David Bowie performs throughout his Sound+Imaginative and prescient tour at Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum on March 12, 1990. Picture by Greg Southam /Edmonton Journal

David Bowie’s Sound & Imaginative and prescient; A couple of irritating flaws in all of the razzle-dazzle of profession retrospective

By HELEN METELLA Journal Workers Author

The tour with two names and two agendas turned out to have way more to supply than that.

David Bowie’s Best Hits/Sound and Imaginative and prescient Tour (so dubbed as a result of it’s a profession retrospective designed to put to relaxation the previous tunes endlessly and likewise to advertise the gross sales of all these previous hits, that are at present being re-released on CD) is marvelous a number of of all the things you’ve ever seen or anticipated to see in a rock ‘n’ roll present.

To start with, the staging is ingenious, ground-breaking and considerate.

A minimalist set damaged up by 4 totem-like lighting grids, it’s divided by a ceiling to ground scrim on that are projected pre-taped movie clips in addition to stay footage and flanked by two supplementary screens for close-ups of Bowie.

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However from the very first tune, Area Oddity, when a stay Bowie taking part in an acoustic guitar is dwarfed by a huge movie picture that threatens to devour him, the medium is used with invention and humor to convey myriad meanings.

“What shall I have a look at? What’s most actual?” the viewers asks itself, as eyes instinctively flit from tiny and unsatisfying view of stay Bowie to the way more fascinating view on inventory movie, to stay video after which sheepishly (as a result of we’re paying for it) again to the stay determine. It’s an astoundingly apt touch upon how we coloration and determine our heroes and stars and a transparent dialogue of what’s made the principle attraction himself – whose 20 yr profession existed on fast exchanges of phantasm, flamboyance and disorienting shock.

A robust tango sequence wherein Quebec artist Louise LeCavalier leads Bowie, stay digicam angles that simulate the view of Bowie from the band’s perspective (tucked off to the left of the stage), white on black silhouettes and doubled photos dancing with themselves whereas cannily built-in with stay motion, additionally begs the query, “Who’s the star?”

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Is it Bowie or Montreal based mostly Edouard Lock, the founding father of the avant garde dance troupe La La La Human Steps, who choreographed, stage directed and created the movies?.

One additionally wonders, why this has by no means been tried earlier than. Rock ‘n’ roll has created all method of self-absorbed celebrations of picture, but by the point one half of the 2 hour present is over, we’ve seen extra unexplored prospects than revealed in a lifetime of concert-going.

However for all it’s visible dazzle and thought-provoking commentary on the character of superficial hocus pocus and movie star worship, the live performance had irritating flaws.

Most importantly, the sound stunk. Whereas cash has been lavished on the spectacle, the acoustics are worse than that generated by a storage band taking part in an empty airline hanger. It was most noticeable on an off-kilter Insurgent Insurgent. The background singing was skinny, the bass bottomless and the end result disorienting.

There’s additionally a disconcerting lack of emotional pay-off in what’s in any other case a shocking, authentic and audacious work.

Not solely does Bowie appear by no means to interrupt a sweat, there’s nothing to attach the threads between TVC15, Golden Years and China Lady. It’s a pure downside after all, once you line up a bunch of hit songs from radically totally different eras. However it’s magnified when the artist is a chameleon corresponding to this 43 year-old who over 20 years has glorified sexual ambiguity, elegant and aloof cynicism, earthy American R&B and Las Vegas-drenched theatrics.

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And though he was unfastened and gregarious, relating his go to to The Yardbird Suite Sunday evening, the overriding sense was certainly one of aid that these songs had been being buried, slightly than pleasure in sharing them.

Nonetheless the band, when one might hear it, made its character well-known, ably reproducing Kurt Weill’s Moon Over Alabama with the identical aplomb they confirmed for the funky Let’s Dance. Guitarist Adrian Belew and keyboardist Rick Fox supplied a number of stellar solos, whereas the rhythm part of Erdel Kizilcay and Michael Hodges was staunch if typically overwhelmed by white noise.

Fourteen years afterward April 9, 2004, Bowie returned for what can be his final live performance in Edmonton. In truth, the A Actuality Tour — which began in October 2003 and ended the next June — was his longest (113 dates) since his first main tour (Ziggy Stardust in 1972-73) and was additionally his final: the tour was reduce quick after Bowie suffered a coronary heart assault backstage at certainly one of his exhibits. 

David Bowie in concert at Rexall Place on April 9, 2004.
David Bowie in live performance at Rexall Place on April 9, 2004. Picture by Larry Wong /Edmonton Journal

Ziggy Stardust’s gone, however singer stays stellar: Bowie, six-person band cowl 30 years of songs

Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal

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Keep in mind Bowie bonds?

All the time forward of the curve, David Bowie turned the primary rock star to concern his personal bonds in 1997. He ended up incomes a triple-A ranking from Moody’s buyers companies and elevating greater than $55 million US from followers and monetary wizards.

On Tuesday, Moody’s devalued Bowie’s bonds to a stage simply above “junk.” But when the rock icon was upset concerning the downturn in his monetary fortunes, he wasn’t displaying it Friday evening.

In entrance of 9,000 followers at Rexall Place, the self-effacing Bowie and his six-person band gave a efficiency worthy of a triple-A ranking — singing bits of China Lady in Chinese language, joking with the viewers and performing songs spanning greater than 30 years, from 1970’s The Man Who Bought the World to 2003’s New Killer Star, By no means Get Outdated and The Loneliest Man. As an added bonus, Bowie threw in his swelling synth cowl of Cactus by The Pixies and his personal 1984 smash, Trendy Love, the latter of which was absent from his Calgary live performance in January.

What was absent from his Edmonton gig, alas, was killer sound high quality. As a lot as I hate to say it, the Saddledome has higher acoustics than Rexall. Whereas Bowie sounded heat and crisp in Cowtown, the combination was muddy and tinny on Friday. Throughout a number of songs, corresponding to China Lady, his low-range vocals had been overpowered by his band — a fault, maybe, of Bowie’s sound man, slightly than the constructing’s structure.

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If it’s any comfort, Bowie was in significantly better kind and extra effusive for his Edmonton followers. His vocals — delicate and effeminate for The Man Who Bought the World, angular and swooping for Fame — not often missed the mark. Neither did his cracks to the gang. He joked about visiting the Muttart Conservatory throughout Friday afternoon’s Easter egg hunt and stealing crops whereas nobody was trying.

“I can inform a few of you took these crops, too,” Bowie smiled, trying on the followers within the entrance rows.

As promised, Bowie not hides behind elaborate units. His spiders, costumes and dancers are gone. Of their place are tight black denims, a number of coats, a horizontal video display, a bunch of hanging white branches, two under-used catwalks — they stood empty till his thirteenth tune, Hallo Spaceboy — and an important band, starring bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, who additionally supplied the vocals for a spine-tingling duet of Beneath Stress. She wasn’t fairly as much as Freddy Mercury high quality, however we ought to be grateful that Bowie nonetheless performs the tune.

We additionally need to thank Bowie for bringing The Polyphonic Spree on tour with him. It’s not usually certainly one of America’s buzz bands — like The Strokes, The White Stripes or The Rapture — makes it to Edmonton whereas the media bees are nonetheless spazzing out. After they do come, it’s often 10 years after they’ve peaked and after a specific nasty breakup and reluctant reunion. (The Pixies, as a lot as we wish to deny it, are a shining instance of this.)

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So it was a particular deal with to see The Polyphonic Spree, a rising orchestral-pop group — that includes 25 vocalists, horn gamers, drummers, harpists, keyboard gamers, guitarists and a very excitable theramin participant. All wearing spiritual white robes. All insanely completely satisfied and singing about sunshine. All bouncing round, as if Jesus was tickling their souls and their toes. All liable for placing ridiculous grins on the faces of jaded critics who don’t wish to take heed to Michael Buble or Ben Mulroney ever once more.

It’s all a schtick, after all, a send-up of these annoyingly perky Up With Folks productions from the ’90s. Not everybody at Rexall bought the joke, however a number of pockets of followers waved their arms and danced round, a lot to frontman Tim Delaughter’s appreciation.

“Have a great evening,” he beamed on the finish of a 30-minute set. “And an exquisite tomorrow.”

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