GLAM SLAM BOLAN BASH!
Delacorte Theater, New York City
September 29, 2007
By Madeline Bocaro
'Baby you're a groove – you're like the planets when you move'. That was Marc Bolan - and those are his words, not mine. Whenever I play a T. Rex song, I get sucked into his shiny little world filled with unicorns and wizards, Cadillacs and glitter, and I cannot leave for weeks at a time. No other music is important for a while, and no other world feels more like home.
Marc wore a halo throughout his life – a light that he emitted which followed him everywhere. Some say he was self-absorbed and pompous, but they are just jealous. He disappeared so suddenly, a cruel death at the height of his beauty (after a bout with 'fat Elvis syndrome' – Marc and Elvis died within a month of each other) and at the onslaught of Punk rock, which he embraced, and whose denizens worshipped him.
On the eve of his 60th birthday, New York City celebrated Bolan's life and the music of T. Rex. Feathers, satin and glitter abounded with a constant stream of go-go dancers, and an uber-band which included Blondie's Clem Burke on drums, James Mastro and Steve Conte on guitar, Tony Shanahan on bass, T. Rex producer Tony Visconti also on bass and acoustic guitar, and an array of sax, string and bongo players. The night was hosted by Joe Hurley of Rogues March and Ed Rogers.
A female chorale opened the show with 'Children of Rarn, and the cavalcade of stars began. Patti Smith performed a most fitting song, 'Children of the Revolution'. During her improv, she managed to squeeze in a 'motherfucker' and something about CBGB. Moby's girlfriend bought him tickets to the show for his birthday, and he was 'honoured to play one of the greatest riffs of all time' on '20th Century Boy'.
Robert Gordon, who was born to 'Rockabilly Boogie' did 'Groove A Little', leaving 'Born To Boogie' to Tish & Snooky; Manic Panic moguls and creators of Crazy Color hair products (my favourite shade in the 70's was Aubergine!) Other performers included Television's Richard Lloyd on 'Jeepster', The New York Dolls' Sylvain Sylvain on 'Get It On', Ivan Julian (Voidoids) on 'Ballrooms of Mars', Steve Conte on 'Rip Off', Richard Barone and the Bongos on 'Cosmic Dancer', Willie Nile, Lloyd Cole (of the Commotions) and his son, and many more!
Other songs covered were 'Life's A Gas' 'Solid Gold Easy Action' 'There Was A Time/Raw Ramp', and I sobbed during 'The Slider' ('cos when I'm sad, I slide) but everyone else carried on having a good time.
The stage exploded with strobe lights and a bang when Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears and dragster Justin Bond of Kiki & Herb burst into 'Solid Baby'. It was nice that some obscure songs were included, like 'Rapids' from Tanx, and even some Tyrannosaurus Rex songs like 'Dove' which was beautifully rendered by Icelandic chanteuse Ragga.
T. Rex publicist B.P. Fallon introduced his latest protégé Justin Tranter of the band Semi Precious Weapons (producer of their new album: Tony Visconti) who sang a scorching version of 'Metal Guru'. 'Hot Love' was the finale, with everyone onstage.
Belvedere Castle was eerily illuminated by moonlight and stage light in the background of the proceedings at the lovely outdoor venue where Shakespearean events are often held. I could almost see Marc in the window of the uppermost turret, glancing down with a wink. A gigantic birthday cake was brought out at the end, which gave me an idea. When I get to heaven, I'm going to bring a piece of that cake to Marc's castle. I'll bring along my pals; John Lennon to sing 'Spaceball Ricochet', Johnny Thunders on 'Baby Strange', Mick Ronson can sprinkle his angel dust on the 'Monolith' solo, and the Ramones can rock out 'Debora'. I don't know if this is Marc's idea of heaven, but it most certainly is mine!