Happy Birthday, David Bowie: ’80 SNL performance w/ Klaus Nomi; denture art; Tony Visconti City Winery setlist & more
by Bill Pearis
Bowie with Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias on 'SNL,' 1980
Happy Birthday to David Bowie who turns 68 today. (Today is also Elvis' birthday, he would've been 80.) In tribute, we offer a roundup of recent items related to the Thin White Duke:
It only too 35 years for anyone to notice, but people seem to have just caught on this week that Bowie's 1980 performance of "Boys Keep Swinging" on Saturday Night Live featured a green-screen puppet version of the singer with a giant pop-up penis. It's more than a little ironic, as NBC Censors made the singer remove the lyric "When you're a boy, other boys check you out!" for the performance. The "Boys Keep Swinging" SNL performance is also notable as Klaus Nomi and downtown drag icon Joey Arias are the backup singers. You can watch it, and his SNL performance of "The Man Who Sold the World" from the same episode, below (fast forward to the end if all you want to see is the thrill).
That SNL performance is also when Bowie still had his original extremely British smile, which has since been cleaned up with cosmetic dental work. Some folks preferred his original choppers, such as artist Jessine Hein who has made a hand-sculpted recreation of Bowie's teeth via denture acrylics. See for yourself:
Speaking of art, the "David Bowie Is" exhibit just closed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, which turned out to be the most popular exhibit in the museum's history! It featured costumes, original pages of lyrics, storyboards, drawings, concept art and more. There was also a related "Bowie Changes" events series that featured talks with St. Vincent, of Montreal's Kevin Barnes and more, plus a concert where Disappears played Low in full and Bobby Conn played Station to Station in full. The MCA was the only stop for "David Bowie Is" in the U.S. unfortunately, but there is a commemorative coffee table book.
We haven't heard of any Bowie tribute concerts in NYC, but Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti played City Winery over the weekend (1/3) where he played a few of the songs he worked on, with a few special guests (no, not that special):
The perfectly balanced set of 19 songs was selected from the three or four thousand songs that Visconti has played on, produced or mixed over his fabled career in music. The exceptional highlights for Bowie fans included Suzanne Vega's divine singing on 'The Man Who Sold The World', a haunting version of the dystopian epic 'Sweet Thing/Candidate' sung by Richie Barone and a roof-lifting, barn-storming 'Young Americans' sung by Nakia.
Setlist for Tony Visconti's City Winery shows, plus those Bowie SNL videos from 1980, below...
SETLIST: Tony Visconti @ City Winery 1/3/2014
1. A New Career In A New Town (David Bowie)
2. Rock & Roll With Me (David Bowie)
3. You Have Killed Me (Morrissey)
4. Jet (Paul McCartney & Wings)
5. Boys Keep Swinging (David Bowie)
6. Ballrooms of Mars (T.Rex)
7. Young Americans (David Bowie)
8. Yet Another Midnight (Richard Barone)
9. Your Wildest Dreams (The Moody Blues)
10. Dove (Tyrannosaurus Rex)
11. She Was Born To Be My Unicorn (Tyrannosaurus Rex)
12. Beautiful Daughter (The Move)
13. Sweet Thing/Candidate (David Bowie)
14. The Man Who Sold The World (David Bowie)
15. Will You (Hazel O'Connor)
16. Fashion (David Bowie)
17. "Heroes" (David Bowie)
18. Oh Baby (T.Rex)
19. Get It On (T.Rex)