By: G.H. Harding

David Bowie

BOWIE IN TORONTO --- The David Bowie-show at the Art Gallery of Toronto (AGO) which I visited this weekend was just a sensational Bowie-thon of sound and vision. There’s literally so much video, music and personal mementos, such as his many costumes, that almost borders on overkill; especially the final stop in the show, which is literally wall-to-wall Bowie in various concert performances. 

I really loved seeing Bowie perform “Heroes” from the 9/11 show in New York. Reportedly he was suffering from a severe case of the flu, but his performance was particularly stirring; especially the footage of the police singing along note-for-note. There was also footage from the legendary Diamond Dogs tour; where he had David Sanborn on sax as well as Luther Vandross as one of his backup singers. I also loved seeing footage from his last tour, the so-called Reality tour. 

I also loved seeing brief interviews with several of his collaborators; including producer Tony Visconti, who has worked with Bowie for years. He said that Bowie in the studio was something of a revelation: “Some days it was ten hours, others six…. but, at the end of the day you’d wind up with some wonderful work and think … how’d that all happen? He comes to the studio very, very prepared.” 

Also, a very animated Kansai Yamamoto, who designed one of the costumes Bowie wore during the 1973 Aladdin Sane tour, all in Japanese, comparing his talents to that of Bowie ... did I believe it? I'm not so sure, but Kansai was sure assertive and his work most visionary.Visconti is one on the unsung heroes in those early-British rock days. Look up what’s he’s done … you're in for a surprise.

I was there for four hours viewing everything and it was well worth it. However, several things come to mind: First: His collaborators were all chosen for their brilliance were brought to an even higher level working with him; his body of work is sensational and singular. From movies, to video, to his music, Bowie has always been stunning and unequalled. 

And, finally: In case you wondered, there is information from his most recent album The Next Day. I loved, absolutely loved, the video for the first single from the album “Where Are We Now.” Stirring, emotional and brilliant. There’s no question, what’s he’s done is rather amazing, but, for me as I get older, I appreciate more than ever seeing where an artist is ... now.

Quite a show. If you're a fan, this is very much a much-see.

R-EVOLUTION --- Eagle Rock Entertainment is releasing on December 3, R-Evolution from The Doors on DVD and Blu-ray. 

Combining early TV appearances with The Doors’ own music films, R-Evolution illustrates how the band evolved from the constraints of mid-sixties television to a point where they had the creative input and power to shape how they were portrayed on screen. From an unknown L. A. band creating early music films to an established worldwide phenomenon executing creative control over their celluloid persona, R-Evolution shows the growth of The Doors from being forced to accept the formulaic television approach to taking control of the medium. It’s all in the title – the evolution of a band that helped revolutionize the way rock bands promote their art.

R-Evolution brings together a wealth of previously unreleased footage of The Doors. This incredible release features the classics “Light My Fire,” “People Are Strange,” “Hello, I Love You,” “Crawling King Snake,” “L. A. Woman,” “Moonlight Drive,” “Break On Through (To The Other Side),” and many more. 

R-Evolution boasts a wealth of excellent bonus features, including a commentary by Doors members John Densmore (who earlier this year did a sensational XM Brett Winterble interview), Robby Krieger and the late Ray Manzarek plus Bruce Botnick and Elektra Records Founder Jac Holzman. Additionally there is a performance of “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” from the Isle Of Wight Festival 1970, a 45-minute documentary entitled “The Doors – Breaking Through The Lens,” and “Love Thy Customer,” a never-before-seen 1966 Ford training film with music by The Doors. Additionally, the DVD has a section of outtakes from the band’s appearance on the US TV show Malibu U in 1967.

In addition to the DVD and Blu-ray, a Deluxe Edition is available on each physical format, packaged in a 40-page DVD sized hardback book with a “scrapbook” style presentation on each track including lyrics, background info, trivia and photos. All footage has been carefully restored to the highest standards and the sound has been remixed and mastered for 5.1 by Bruce Botnick.

Again I was not a Doors fan growing up – and, I still don’t know why – but, after a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (in Cleveland) five years back, where they had an entire floor set aside to the group, I became one. Continually stirring, emotional and raw: The Doors are an amazing treat! 

CLOSING NOTES --- Congrats to Q104.3’s Jim Kerr on 10 years at the station. I remember meeting Jim back in the mid-80's … was it really that long ago? I knew he had a certain magic even back then and still does today. His encyclopedic knowledge of music is uncanny. And, I learned something last year I never knew: he’s from Detroit!  A true original; all the best Jim … Sir Paul McCartney has worked with both Sir George Martin and his son Giles Martin.Giles is a co-producer of Paul’s new album New and Sir Paul spoke about the two Martins in his first Twitter chat this week. He said they were “Similar: Both very musical and smart.” They were also “Different: Giles comes from a younger generation and has a more contemporary approach”. Giles re-mastered classic Beatles songs for the Love show in Las Vegas. He co-produced New with Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns and Paul Epworth. We can't wait to hear it … What ever happened to The Singhs Science Fiction album? The Boston’s band new album was produced by Tony Visconti, and we'd still love to hear it. I guess when you're well-funded ... and, self-funded, it's commerce over art every time.Matt Beecher, their manager couldn't be reached for comment … While in Toronto this weekend, I had occasion to pass a record store on Queen Street. HMV no less. I hadn't been to a real record store like that in ages. Felt very, very good. Also, had dinner at Panorama Lounge downtown and other than a waitress who seemed to rush everything … the food and view were sensational. Check them out here: ... I'm not one for polls, but announced this morning: Esquire's sexiest woman of the year is Scarlett Johansson. Good choice and outstanding shots! Count me in ... Though I didn't see Miley Cyrus on SNL this weekend (and, she was reported to be excellent) her interview and performance on Today this morning with Matt Lauer was simply outstanding. With a crackerjack band she sang "We can Do What we Want" and the current single "Wrecking Ball" that were both spot-on excellent. Her interview, where she weighed in on the current situation with Sinead O'Connor as well as the VMA's was thought provoking and mature. She's really terrific. Bravo!