David Bowie was at the Nightclub 9:30 last night. Well, not exactly. Actually, it was millions of electrons, transmitted at the speed of light, which bombarded a phosphorous screen and produced his image. David Bowie was on videotape.
The show (which will be repeated in two abbreviated versions tonight at 8:30 and 11:30) was a collection of the singer's performances spanning his chameleon-like career. Ziggy Stardust. The Young American. The Diamond Dog. And Bowie the Artiste. All put in an appearance.
The segments were alternately exciting and embarrassing -- Bowie has always bounced from one extreme to another with varying degrees of success. Some of the excerpts were fascinating (one featured Bowie and a cadverous Marianne Faithful singing "I Got You Babe").
While the edits were poor and the sound simply awful, the show nonetheless imaprted the sense of inspired excess which has pervaded Bowie's career and made him a memorable rock 'n' roll character.
Throughout the performance, the crowd danced and sand along and applauded after each song. The entire tableau -- a room full of rock fans responding to a giant screen on stage -- was disconcerting, if not downright creepy.
Creepy or not, the show was also an imaginative presentation, one of the many which the 9:30 has presented. At the moment, rock mucis needs all the help it can get, and this club consistently presents evenings that are enlightening as well as illuminating.