Media promotions for the David Bowie concert last night promised the young Briton would "change the direction of rock music in Memphis."

If it changes in Bowie's direction, it will be to rock shows in which music plays little, if any, role.

David Bowie probably could be a talented musician. But his show is not selling music. He has substituted noise for music, freaky stage gimmicks for talent, and covers it all up with volume.

But his show was just what at least 4,385 young Memphis fans wanted to see and hear last night.

They loved it. They screamed. They yelled. They danced on their seats and begged for more David Bowie. Despite prior press notices that David Bowie and the Spiders, his band, is a ballad group, the tone Sunday on their second stop of a much-promoted first American tour was mostly pure acid rock.

Bowie's chief claim to fame probably will be that he has come closest to out-freaking Alice Cooper on stage.

He started the his show in a multicolored skin-tight body suit of red green purple and gold at least. His boots were bright red. They matched his dyed and teased hair.

His gyrations and song lyrics have been said to lend hints of bisexuality and homosexuality. That is a matter of opinion. But physical notions of the slightly-built rock star could not be confused with those of a Johnny Cash or an Isaac Hayes. At the least, Bowie's show can objectively be called better than that of his warm-up group, "Whole Oats", a country rock quartet.

Playing all of their eight numbers in a simple four-four time, the group could not even keep the attention of the crowd which spent much time milling up and down the aisles and tossing several plastic Frisbees.

One of "Whole Oats" final numbers was titled "I'm sorry." It should have been dedicated to the audience.

Joe M. Dove (Commercial Appeal, September 25, 1972)

photo by "Staff Photo"

Bowie - Memphis 73 review

Lynn Lewis in the Memphis Press Scimitar under the heading 'Bowie's Blast Draws 2 Full Houses' wrote 'The lights go out, then begin to flicker on and off as the crowd rises in expectatancy. The lights glow red, and suddenly David Bowie is spotlighted in a black outfit designed with concentric circles. Bowie, backed by the Spiders, begins delivering his almost deafening music, a cross between electric rock and a new sound which, with his Ziggy Stardust and Space Oddity roles, made him the leader of glam rock. His showmanship made him the first rock star to have a sell out show at the Auditorium when he appeared here last year. Last night he sold out two concerts. Guy Coffee, hall manager, said the North Hall, which held 4,450 for each show, had no room for about 1,000 fans who were turned away at the ticket office. As Bowie's show progressed, he changed from a silken pajama pantsuit to a skin tight multi-coloured outfit in the style of the 50's rock and roll. Then he switched to a flowing dress which was later removed for his finale costume comprised of pink patterned hot pants and a blue scarf. The costuming is not all of David Bowie's gimmickry. He utilises lighting as well as any rock singer with a globe dropping from the ceiling and revolving while he sings his current hit, "Ground Control to Major Tom". The lights give a feeling of a spaceship traveling through the stars, swirling along the backdrop behind the singer. Bowie showed he could not exist on voice alone as he soloed on "My Death", a folk song on which he accompanied himself. His gimmicks draw the crowds. Many followers even copy his sequined, whitened face and reddish, long ducktail. The full house stood through many of the songs, dancing when they wanted and sitting only occasionally. They showed no Beatlemania in their yelling and their applause was only average, but in their rapt attention they exhibited a strange and somewhat puzzling attraction by Bowie. Bowie is a showman through and through, whether sitting on a stool strumming a guitar or rolling on the stage in his hot pants. Fumble, the group that played warmup for him, is another of the countless groups capitalising on the nostalgia movement bringing back the '50s music. The group adeqautely readied the full house, which spent the 15 minute intermission flinging frisbees.

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