I did not know about DA Pennebaker’s Ziggy Stardust movie until yesterday. Poor me.
It seems that Bowie had plans to retire the The Spiders from Mars as his backing band after these very shows, as well as Ziggy Stardust as his stage persona. He invited Pennebaker to record a couple of songs, for posterity, but the legendary director of music films (Don’t Look Back among others)ghby saw a bigger chance, and recorded the weekend of shows at the Hammersmith Odeon.
With word out that the Spiders were done, many took that to mean that the willful Bowie was retiring from the stage himself. I watched half of this today and it is so fine, a mixture of fab musical performance and just enough verite color to make it all feel immediate and up close.
There is a DVD of the whole show that surely has better pictures and sound, but this clip will give you an indelible taste.