Live Review: David Bowie, Docklands Arena, 27th March, 1990


Whether you like David Bowie or not you can't fault his irresistible appeal and charismatic charm. Many had travelled inconveniently to London's Dockland's Arena in awe of seeing and hearing him. I for one was keen to see the 'White Duke' deliver up his 'greatest hits' package in front of the massing throngs. The 'Sound And Vision' show was to be a glorification of the man’s past achievements and also provided him with an opportunity to rake in a small fortune! But enough of that...

The atmosphere inside the arena was somewhat distant because of its sheer size, but I’m sure that everyone else was as eager to see Bowie as I was. As he and his band took to the stage my doubts went straight out the nearest exit – the atmosphere was indeed electric!

We were whisked off on a journey through time as Bowie and his boys rolled out old classics, Space Oddity, Life On Mars, Changes, Queen Bitch, Ziggy Stardust, Young Americans, Fame, Stay, Station To Station...the list is endless. Bowie even donned a sax and made it sing during Rebel Rebel. And of course there were a whole array of more modern classics during the set. More contemporary tunes such as Heroes, Ashes To Ashes, Fashion, Modern Love, China Girl, Let's Dance, and Blue Jean prove that Bowie was by no means a one-hit wonder but a 'natural' who could and still can deliver up songs of infinite detail.

A gigantic screen dwarfed both Bowie and his band as close-ups and specially cut video takes were scanned across it to the delight of the audience. In such an environment such a feature was obviously necessary because of the sheer size of the venue. Still, it worked within the confines of the music. Had it not been there then the whole show would have been completely lost! We would not have seen enigmatic guitarist Adrian Belew bellowing out his sea of syncopated sounds and for that matter Bowie himself, topped out in Armani style swimwear (no it was a suit actually) thanks to the VISION.

I must admit it was something of a surprise when Mr. B. announced this mega tour way back in February – I did view it as something of a cash-in. However, having witnessed the 'Sound And Vision' spectacle and enjoyed it, just like everybody else, I can see no harm done. After all this man is a legend, isn't he?

Words: Mark Crampton
Photo: Mark Hadley
Riff Raff
May 1990
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