DATE: FEBRUARY 28, 1997
FROM: TRESA REDBURN/MITCH SCHNEIDER
SPECTACULAR AND ACCLAIMED
50TH BIRTHDAY CONCERT
TO AIR AS A TELEVISION PAY PER VIEW EVENT
DEBUTING SATURDAY, MARCH 8 "A volatile musical cocktail: shrieking sonic maelstroms, poignant ancient ballads, deep jungle grooves, startling duets." That's how the San Francisco Chronicle described DAVID BOWIE's spectacular 50th birthday concert at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Billed as "DAVID BOWIE and FRIENDS: A Very Special Birthday Concert," the sold-out show and benefit for Save The Children will air as a Pay Per View television event Saturday, March 8 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT and 11:30 PM ET/8:30 PM PT, with other replays through March 15. A portion of the proceeds from this Pay Per View event will also benefit Save The Children.
The two-hour-plus 24-song show, directed by Tim Pope, finds DAVID BOWIE backed by his band–guitarist Reeves Gabrels; keyboardist Mike Garson; bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and drummer Zachary Alford–and joined by an array of truly special guests at different points throughout the concert: Frank Black (former leader of the Pixies), Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan, Foo Fighters, Lou Reed, Robert Smith of the Cure and Sonic Youth.
Writing in the New York Daily News, Jim Farber said the show "kept one eye firmly on the future. Instead of simply serving up dewey-eyed rehashes of sounds from eras dead and gone, BOWIE–aided by an ornery mix of musical friends–shook classic numbers to their core. He also devoted roughly one-third of the show to recent and brand new material."
At the show, BOWIE opened up with the first single from his newly released Virgin album EARTHLING, "Little Wonder," whose "arrangement had the feel and sound of many of his classics," wrote the New York Post's Dan Aquilante. From there, BOWIE was joined by Frank Black for "Scary Monsters" and "Fashion." Foo Fighters came onstage for Outside's "Hallo Spaceboy" (which featured three drummers including the Fighters' frontman Dave Grohl) and EARTHLING's "Seven Years In Tibet." Next: Robert Smith joined for EARTHLING's "The Last Thing You Should Do" and the Hunky Dory chestnut "Quicksand," performed acoustically with both BOWIE and SMITH on vocals and guitars. Later, feedback heroes Sonic Youth charged into EARTHLING's "I'm Afraid of Americans." Bowie brought Lou Reed onstage, introducing him as "the King of New York," launching into Hunky Dory's "Queen Bitch," the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man" and "White Light White Heat" and Reed's "Dirty Boulevard." Billy Corgan came on for the BOWIE classic "All The Young Dudes" and "The Jean Genie," playing guitar and singing. BOWIE closed the show intimately, singing "Space Oddity" alone, as 14,500 fans cheered him on.
"I always promised myself that I wouldn't be on a stage playing rock music when I'm 50," Dave Grohl told Rolling Stone. "But when I see DAVID BOWIE so happy and alive, and still so creative, I'm like, 'I don't want to stop.'" And Billy Corgan commented to Rolling Stone, "On the one hand, he's celebrating his body of work tonight, but he's also saying, 'Look, I'm still here. This isn't an oldies act.'"
"I wouldn't have expected to have such an appetite for life at this point," BOWIE himself told the New York Daily News. "I had assumed, like romantic poetic heroes, that I would burn it all out. But nothing has been quenched. I'm still feeling fiery."
SAVE THE CHILDREN is a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-political international development and relief organization founded in 1932. It is dedicated to making lasting, positive change in the lives of disadvantaged children throughout the United States and in 40 developing nations. For more than 60 years, Save The Children has been a leader in early childhood education, economic opportunity, preventive health care and emergency response. Today, their programs reach 1.5 million children and their families throughout the world.
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