A still from “Moonage Daydream.” Image courtesy of NEON

Even if you’re a casual fan of David Bowie, you’ll want to see the new documentary “Moonage Daydream,” because it’s a feast of sights and sounds, narrated in Bowie’s own voice.

If you’re a big fan, your mind will be blown, because at times you’ll feel like Bowie is speaking directly to you and that you’re back in the mid-70s, dressed like him waiting outside one of his concerts in England. That’s how I felt.

“Moonage Daydream” opened on Sept. 16, and you can see it at a handful of theaters in Maine.

I saw it at an IMAX theater in Massachusetts and was gobsmacked by the amount of new material it contained. I have read a number of Bowie books and have seen a few other documentaries about him, but this level of intimacy by way of photographs, interview footage and live clips, is unprecedented.

The more time passes, the more I remember bits about the film and feel a fresh surge of appreciation. Case in point, in one scene, there’s footage of Bowie out somewhere in public, and I realized that moment is captured in one of the many posters of him that I had on my wall in high school.

The film takes its name from a song on Bowie’s seminal “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” an album that’s now 50 years old but that hasn’t lost any of its potency.


Director Brett Morgen was given the keys to the kingdom when the Bowie estate granted him access to a bottomless treasure trove of rare and never-before-seen recordings, films, journals, archived footage and performance clips. I’m as hardcore as Bowie fans come, and my jaw was on the floor while my heart beat out of its ribcage for the 140 minutes of “Moonage Daydream.” So much of what was in the film I was seeing and hearing for the first time.

Morgen masterfully stitches together interview bits so that Bowie’s voice told the story. Often backed by stunning visual imagery, Bowie waxes poetic about concepts like time and art.

Then there’s the live footage. It was astounding and included my favorite Bowie track “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” from the iconic 1972 album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” but also several other deep album tracks, like the haunting “Warszawa” from 1977’s “Low” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me” from 1974’s “Diamond Dogs.”

“Moonage Daydream” also featured a live version of “Heroes,” and this is the moment that broke me. As the tears fell, I was reminded of how much I still miss Bowie and how much his absence since Jan. 10, 2016, is still felt so universally by millions of us mere mortals who still wander the earth, anchored by the legacy he left behind in the form of 26 studio albums, not to mention several lives ones and rarities compilations that continue to surface. Speaking of which, the “Moonage Daydream” soundtrack is a must-have. Its 45 tracks include live or remixed versions of songs like “Hallo Spaceboy,” “Word On A Wing,” “Quicksand,” “Life on Mars?” and, gasp, “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud.” “Wild Eyed Boy” is from Bowie’s 1969 “Space Oddity” album, and it’s an early, formidable example of his lyricism and vocal abilities.

The end result of Morgen’s work is a meditation on, rather than a homage to, Bowie. It’s a fascinating piece of art, and I will be shocked if an Oscar nomination doesn’t come its way in a few months.

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in “Moonage Daydream.” Image courtesy of NEON

I checked in with a few local Bowie fans who are excited to see “Moonage Daydream,” and they were thrilled to open their hearts about Bowie.


Courtney Schlachter, who lives in Lewiston and owns Quiet City Books, said her love for Bowie began 35 years ago when, at age 5, she saw the film “Labyrinth” which stars Bowie and features his music. “To a 5-year-old, it was magical and mysterious,” said Schlachter. “Books, music and movies have always provided an escape for me and my imagination, and ‘Labyrinth’ was formative for me.”

As she grew older, Schlachter grew curious about Bowie’s musical career and raided her parents’ record collection. “I love how unique and distinctive his voice is and how his songs felt familiar somehow, and comfortable.”

Schlachter’s two favorite Bowie song are “Modern Love” from 1983’s “Let’s Dance” album and “As The World Falls Down” from “Labyrinth” (1986).  Her hope for “Moonage Daydream” is to see glimpses into his world and experiences. I only wish I could see the look on her face when she sees it and gets in spades what she asked for.

Rich Gilbert and Eileen Rose are a married couple from Freeport and are both longtime musicians and Bowie fans. They plan on seeing “Moonage Daydream” as soon as possible.

“I’m ready for the ride and whatever they show me because he is one of the greatest artists of our lifetime,” said Gilbert who was in high school when the “Ziggy Stardust” album came out. “The impact it made on me was huge.” Gilbert also gave a nod to the entire dozen-album run, from 1970’s “The Man Who Sold the World” to 1980’s “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). “There’s no bad albums in there and most of them are stellar.

Rose said that Bowie was ahead of his time, and she’s particularly drawn to his acoustic, stripped down songs like “Kooks” from 1971’s “Hunky Dory.” “He’s a great songwriter.”


Rose was also able to share a unique perspective on Bowie. For a brief stint in the ’90s, she lived in Camden, England, where she played some guitar and sang backing vocals in a band with Dave Stewart, half of the duo Eurythmics and, according to Rose, a worshipper of Bowie. “He told me he was always trying to write ‘Moonage Daydream,’ so there was a lot of that influence.” Stewart’s Bowie obsession led Rose to a deeper appreciation for Bowie’s music, and Stewart, just for fun, would try and break down Bowie songs. “With an artist like that, it gave me a totally different perspective on Bowie.”

Gilbert and Rose, like me, took Bowie’s death hard. “To me, he’s one of the giants of music and art in our lifetime and he also just seemed like a good person,” said Gilbert. “He stood on the right things and was obviously ridiculously intelligent, aware and forward seeing.”

As for “Moonage Daydream,” Gilbert hopes to see anything he hasn’t seen yet. Dude, buckle up!

Rose hopes to see a lot of Bowie just talking. “I love just hearing his thoughts on things.” She also hopes that the film is curated carefully. “I think that is what he would want,” she said.

Morgen sure does come through, as does the film’s musical producer, longtime Bowie friend and producer of several of his albums, Tony Visconti.

I’ve seen a lot of music documentaries, but I’ve never seen anything quite as immersive and engrossing as “Moonage Daydream.”


Even if you’re not a super fan like me and the people I spoke to, “Moonage Daydream” is worth seeing because you’ll be treated to a multi-sensory smorgasbord of sights and sounds that could have only come from the genius that is David Bowie. I walked out of that theater overwhelmed with feelings of inspiration and appreciation for what Morgen and his massive team made for us.

“Don’t fake it baby, lay the real thing on me,” sings Bowie in the film’s title song. Rest assured, there’s nothing fake about this film. It’s two hours and 20 minutes into the mind, life and soul of a musical chameleon who embodied many personas but who always led with his brilliant heart.

Here are some of the places where you can see “Moonage Daydream” in Maine, though it may be playing at others soon, so check your local listings.

The Strand Theatre
5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, 1 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. 345 Main St., Rockland, $9, $8 seniors, under 12, matinees and on Monday. rocklandstrand.com.

Railroad Square Cinema
Opens on Friday. 17 Railroad Square, Waterville, $10.50, $9 matinees, $8.50 students and seniors, $7.50 for 12 and under. watervillecreates.org.

Nickelodeon Cinema
Now playing, several days and times. 1 Temple St., Portland, $11. $9 kids and $6 on Tuesday. patriotcinemas.com.

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