Live! David Bowie

by Charles Webbster / Record Mirror

15th July 1972

ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL: David Bowie will soon become the greatest entertainer Britain has ever known. His performance on Saturday at the “Save The Whale” Friends of the Earth concert was a triumph for the showmanship as well as music. His talent seems unlimited and he looks certain to become the most important person in pop music on both sides of the Atlantic. He is a real star, incorporating the things that made people like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and The Beatles so very special.

The atmosphere that surrounded him at the Festival Hall could be felt so positively that even before he appeared on stage it was obvious that somebody unique was about to take the platform. With his Spiders From Mars band, featuring another man, Mick Ronson, destined for superstardom, he performed a selection of numbers from his “Hunky Dory” and “Ziggy Stardust” albums and added to the delight of the 3,000 strong audience, “Space Oddity” and the wistful “Amsterdam.” After a dozen numbers, Bowie was joined by Lou Reed, once of the legendary Velvet Underground, for three numbers, and I had the feeling that as much as David wanted to pay tribute to Reed, the inclusion of the American into the act was quite unnecessary.

The people were there to Save the Whale and to see Bowie, who compere Kenny Everett described as the “next biggest thing to God,” – a mere mortal next to our hero from Mars – seemed to destroy the illusion that Bowie had spent the entire evening creating. Marmalade opened the show and suffered amplification trouble from the word go. It was a shame for lead guitarist Hughie Nicholson, who was making his farewell performance with the band. The other act on the bill, the JSD Band were very funny, but I was left with the feeling that they should have devoted more time to playing music than telling humorous anecdotes.

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