Thursday, January 31, 2013

David Bowie: The Calm Before the Storm - Under Review 1969-1971 (2012, MVD)

Another great documentary from MVD, David Bowie: The Calm Before the Storm features one of my favorite periods of Bowie's career. These documentaries have become something I really look forward to and try to watch any one I can snatch up. I have been a fan of David Bowie since I was a young teen and discovered his early albums not too long after. I still have very fond memories of buying Hunky Dory during Christmas vacation of my sophomore year of high school. It was actually the same day I bought Big Star's 3rd/Sister Lovers album. I remember it was snowing and after helping my father at work, I went to a dance with a friend to meet a girl I had a huge crush on. Obviously, that album is very memorable for me and it's fun re-living those memories and learning about the album too.

The Calm Before the Storm - Under Review 1969-1971 documents Bowie's early career, particularly three of his early albums - Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory. This was right before Bowie started one of his best loved periods with Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Space Oddity to many is a half baked album with only its title track as a stand out, but I love it and still listen to it all the time. The Man Who Sold the World is one of Bowie's darkest and (as Bowie called it) "drug addled" albums, known by most younger fans due to its title track being covered by Nirvana. Hunky Dory still stands as one of Bowie's greatest and best loved albums, featuring the well known (and prophetic of his career) song "Changes". This documentary features fellow Bowie musicians (Mike Garson, John Hutchinson), critics, biographers and music experts telling many behind the scenes stories and explaining how important these albums were to Bowie's career.

The Calm Before the Storm is a concise, well put together documentary about an important time in rock history. David Bowie, being one of my favorite musicians for a long time, is a fascinating character and I love hearing as much as I can about him and his career. The interviews here feature several people who have studied Bowie's career (and music) or have played with him, giving the viewers first hand accounts of how these albums originated. My only complaint with this DVD is how short it is (a little over an hour). I would love to have heard more stories and details, maybe even a track by track commentary on the songs. Overall though, if you are a fan of Bowie or rock documentaries, this one shouldn't be missed.

RATING: 9/10

Order this DVD directly from MVD HERE

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