David Bowie
"Serious Moonlight"

(Virgin Records/EMI 2006)David Bowie - Serious Moonlight

Always one for the grand drama and theatrics, David Bowie's 1983 "Serious Moonlight" tour does not disappoint. Nominated in 1985 for a Grammy for best long video, the concert video of Bowie's Vancouver, Canada, tour stop has made it to DVD. Also included on the new release is "Ricochet," a documentary of Bowie's tour stops in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. With bleached blonde hair and a powder blue suit, Bowie remains constantly in character for "Serious Moonlight." One moment he is dressed like Hamlet and making out with a skull and the next he is doing Iman proud, striking poses during "Fashion." Hints of the 80s invade even the music as "Cracked Actor" uses synthesizers and tremolo-happy guitarist Earl Slick, a dead ringer for Mallory's boyfriend on "Family Ties," adds some extended solos.

But clearly throughout "Serious Moonlight," the focus is Bowie; his band remains in the dark with few close-ups. Maintaining the 80s style video editing techniques, colors radiate and glow for a now nostalgic feel. While today's rock videos make a series of quick cuts to the music's rhythm, director David Mallett sews together a variety of clear camera angles while keeping the video's flow.

The inclusion of "Ricochet" is hit or miss. More an avant-garde film project than a true documentary, it follows the "Serious Moonlight" tour through his tour stops in Asia. The grainy footage offers oddly long scenes of Bowie riding up and down escalators and acting seemingly uncomfortable in a Thai strip club. Miniature storylines are woven in as a Hong Kong teen is followed in his quest for a ticket to the show while Bowie tries to watch a rehearsal of a Chinese opera in Singapore. Elsewhere he discusses the politics of China's then future take over of Hong Kong and Thailand's rebellious youth.

A refreshing trip down memory lane, "Serious Moonlight" captures David Bowie as he wants to be captured. The selection of songs may not summarize but certainly covers his then decade long career highlighting hits of the 70s and 80s and making them sound just as good live.


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