David Bowie’s years in Berlin are completely illuminated. Greater than that. And should you really feel nostalgic, you possibly can all the time make a pilgrimage to Hauptstrasse No. 155 in Schöneberg and reverently take a look at the memorial plaque: “I lived on this home from 1976 to 1978…”. The albums “Heroes”, “Lodger” and “Low” are stated to have been created within the then nonetheless divided metropolis, a trilogy of the best artistic stage, which can also be primary information of music historical past. However now the English Theater is dedicating the night “Bowie in Berlin” to the allstar, who died in 2016. And also you reflexively assume: Actually? Did it nonetheless want it?
The reply is: completely. As a result of the efficiency staged by Günther Grosser, the inventive director of the home on Fidicinstrasse, doesn’t fall into the lavish reel-off of Bowie anecdotes or into the mode of a theatrically illustrated hit parade. Slightly, it casts divergent spotlights on a pop phenomenon from a wide range of views – understanding that every little thing has truly already been instructed. Simply not from all of them but.
Again then in entrance of the Reichstag
“Bowie in Berlin” is the second a part of a collection that the English Theater Berlin has dubbed “A Dialog With A Cultural Icon,” an alternate with a cultural icon. The primary half was known as “Jaws” and examined the Steven Spielberg blockbuster “Jaws” from 1975, a movie that led to a sudden enhance in hostility to sharks worldwide, however on the identical time raised consciousness of the endangered marine habitat has. David Bowie is an attention-grabbing successor candidate on this cultural icon context. What’s subsequent? First King Kong, then Madonna?
5 performers – Olivia Dean, Maureen Gleason, Ben Maddox, Angharad Matthews and Jeffrey Mittleman – strategy Bowie (and in addition companions like Iggy Pop) by way of biographical docking factors. It’s about reminiscences of his legendary live performance in entrance of the Reichstag and his old flame again in 1987. About nightclubbing, medication and the query of how a lot accountability artists bear for the glorification of heroin and different dangerous influences. Concerning the trend icon Bowie and her penchant for chameleon-like costume and picture adjustments in a metropolis that, a minimum of prior to now, inspired self-reinvention. Pictures from this city previous run throughout the video display screen, driving alongside the wall and flying over homes.
Theft as a artistic course of
The temper of all of that is reasonably dimmed in a minor key and permeated by the leitmotif of “Heroes”, this self-empowerment anthem that’s actually onerous to play lifeless. This night’s theme can also be that Berlin nightclub goddess Romy Haag claims a decisive share of inspiration for the tune. How a lot authentic genius was there in Bowie, who as soon as confidently confessed to the theft of concepts as a artistic course of in a Playboy interview?
The musical idea of Grosser’s night works brilliantly (association and stay music: Daniel Janke). Many of the songs are simply tapped on the piano, usually with a single line: “I’m a DJ, I’m what I play” (“DJ” from 1979), “I’m blissful, hope you’re blissful, too” ( Ashes to Ashes, 1980). The aim is just not completeness the least bit. Simply as Bowie’s musical, filmic and trendy work thrives on everlasting transition and variety of influences – prepared to leap between Krautrock and Expressionism – this efficiency is simply as associative and fluid.
In a video that frames “Bowie in Berlin”, a gaggle of astronauts comply with within the footsteps of the inventor Main Tom within the distant future. Restlessly looking out, with out floor management. A pleasant outlook: the Bowie phenomenon in the end stays intangible. However the curiosity won’t be gone in a thousand years.