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members of Shearwater, Xiu Xiu & more played Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy (pics from ‘Low’ night, video)

David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy — 1977’s Low and Heroes and 1979’s Lodger — was performed live at NYC’s Brookfield Place across three consecutive nights by an ensemble led by Shearwater/Loma’s Jonathan Meiburg that also included  Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart, Emily Lee (Shearwater), Dan Duszynski (Loma), Sadie Powers (Shearwater), Ed Rodriguez (Deerhoof), Josh Halpern (Shearwater), Lucas Oswald (Shearwater), Travis Laplante (Battle Trance), and Eliot Krimsky (Glass Ghost). Says Meiburg:

So much attention has been paid to Bowie’s image that his music is sometimes taken for granted; but for many of us, these albums are the pinnacle of his musical and artistic output. Made with producer Tony Visconti, puckish pop genius Brian Eno, the exuberant rhythm section of Carlos Alomar, Dennis Davis, and George Murray, and guitar antiheroes Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew, the Berlin Trilogy has everything: brooding, cinematic instrumentals, rave-ups that end almost before they begin, gorgeous ballads that threaten to collapse on themselves, and Bowie’s most famous and expansive song.

These albums added to his legend even as they pricked at his commercial success; but on the 40th anniversary of “Heroes” they still sound fresh, exciting, and unique, with a haunting core of emotional honesty that their fiendishly detailed (and frequently chaotic) sound somehow enhances rather than obscures.

Each night also featured programs of music that inspired the trilogy, composed by Brian Eno (Discreet Music on 10/17 and Another Green World on 10/18) and Klaus Schulze (Body Love on 10/19) which were performed by Timo Andres, Angel Deradoorian, Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs, Uniform), Grey McMurray (Beth Orton, ACME Ensemble), Clarice Jensen (ACME), Frank LoCrasto (Cass McCombs, more).

We caught the final night, which was a performance of Low, and featured a couple special guests: Carlos Alomar, who was Bowie’s rhythm guitarist and musical director for nearly 30 years, was guest conductor and the opening set of Klaus Schulze’s Body Love material also featured the great Shahzad Ismaily (Secret Chiefs 3, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, more). Check out pictures from Friday in the gallery above and watch a few videos from all three nights, below.


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photos by Ryan Muir

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