David Bowie: Glastonbury 2000 (Parlophone, 2 CDs + DVD, NR, 115 min.). On June 25, 2000, David Bowie, who rarely performed at the time, closed the Glastonbury Festival 29 years after his last appearance at Glastonbury, which took place in the wee hours of the morning. This set presents his triumphant, winning show on two CDs and a region-free DVD that was very crisply filmed. Bowie sported a new long, shaggy golden mane, looking every bit the rock star, but he was very engaging with the audience, starting with "Changes," the third song of the hit-heavy set.

Supporting Bowie on this evening were guitarist Earl Slick, a veteran of several Bowie recordings, but who had become a bit of a recluse himself at the time; bassist/vocalist Gail Ann Dorsey, ex-Gang of Four and who, along with drummer Sterling Campbell had played with the B-52's; Campbell, also of Soul Asylum; and pianist Mike Garson, who played with Smashing Pumpkins. Completing the band were guitarist/backing vocalist Mark Plati, keyboardist/backing vocalist Emm Gryner and backing vocalist/percussionist Holly Palmer.

This is the first time that a DVD of the entire show has been released. Previously, only 30 minutes were broadcast on BBC TV. The set comes with a 16-page booklet that includes excerpts from Bowie's diary, originally written for Time Out, which documents him preparing for the show and commenting on current cultural events in New York City. One excerpt states: "As of 1990 I got through the rest of the 20th century without having to do a big hits show." The set has newly remastered  audio and upgraded video, as well as new artwork by Jonathan Barnbrook, who worked with Bowie on the album sleeves for his albums "Heathen," "The Next Day" and "Dark Star," and a recollection by writer/fan Caitlin Moran, who reviewed the show for The Times.

Bowie takes the stage in a 3/4-length, one-of-a-kind Alexander McQueen frock coat, the pattern of which was made to echo the "bipperty-bopperty hat" mentioned in the song "Queen Bitch" and worn by Bowie at Glastonbury in 1971. Five songs in, Bowie changes coats to a more standard 3/4 one, but admits near the end of the concert that he is "too sweaty" as he wore a "stupid coat," but is too vain to take it off.

The show starts to take off with song three, "Changes," which he recalls having just written prior to his 1971 Glastonbury appearance. The some 120,000 in attendance are bouncing up and down to the stuttered title line. Slick turns in a lengthy guitar solo opening  on "Stay." He was the original guitarist on the "Station To Station" album. Two of my favorite Bowie songs follow: "Life on Mars?" and "Absolute Beginners," the latter from the 1986 Julien Temple film of the same name, in which Bowie starred. The wonderfulness continues with "Ashes To Ashes" and "Rebel Rebel," with Bowie chewing a bit of gum and doing a little dance wiggle. Dorsey sings a couple of the verses on "Golden Years."

Moving into the second half of the show come two songs with classic guitar riffs: "Fame," co-written with John Lennon and Carlos Alomar, and "All the Young Dudes," the smash hit Bowie wrote for Mott the Hoople. All phases of his career are covered with "The Man Who Sold the World," "Station To Station" (guitar feedback and train chugs open) and "Starman," with Bowie acting a bit goofy before the latter. "Under Pressure," written with Queen and with another classic guitar riff, is sung with Dorsey to close the main set. The encores consist of "Ziggy Stardust," "Heroes," "Let's Dance" (with a very slow intro; later Bowie does some sway dancing and air guitar) and "I'm Afraid of Americans." The latter is a bit unusual for a closer, but works here. Grade: A+

Foreigner: Live at the Rainbow '78 (Eagle Vision, Blu-ray or standard DVD, NR, 74 min.). Six weeks before the release of their second album, "Double Vision," Foreigner wrapped up a European tour with this show at London's Rainbow Theatre on April 27, 1978. The band's eponymous debut album, played here in its entirety, had spent a year in the U.S. Top 20, sparked by the hits "Cold As Ice," with its classic opening tiff, and "Feels Like the First Time." The band also plays "Hot Blooded" and "Double Vision" from the upcoming album.

While an American rock band, half of the sextet actually were British, including lead guitarist Mick Jones (also keyboards, backing vocals), guitarist/keyboardist Ian MacDonald (also flute, backing vocals) and drummer Dennis Elliott (also backing vocals). Jones, formerly with Spooky Tooth and the Leslie West Band, formed the band in New York City in 1976. MacDonald had been with King Crimson. The American half consisted of vocalist Lou Gramm (also percussion), keyboards/synthesizer player Al Greenwood and bassist Ed Gagliardi (also backing vocals). Gramm had been in Black Sheep, which had broken up.

The show opens appropriately with "Long, Long Way From Home," then a lengthy Jones guitar solo opens "I Need You." Jones gets to sing verses too, on "Woman Oh Woman" and  plays piano on "Cold As Ice." Gramm, of the classic voice, plays a second set of drums on the lengthy "Starrider" and closing "Headknocker." "Starrider," set between "Cold As Ice" and "Double Vision," extends to 12 minutes, being much more dynamic than the album version. It opens with flute by MacDonald, who also solos on the instrument halfway through, before being joined by synth and drums. Greewood also has an organ solo and Jones a guitar solo. The closing "Headknocker," also 12 minutes, has  Gagliardi engaging the crowd to sing along and make noise. The pamphlet has new notes by Malcolm Dome, who attended the show. Also, Rhino Records has released a digital version of the concert's music. Grade: A

Glastonbury Fayre (1972, Screenbound/MVD Visual DVD, NR/15 in UK, 91 min.). This rockumentary by British director Nicolas Roeg has a lot in common with the "Woodstock" film, with less music, as it centers on the festival crowd, many of whom were hippies having a love-in. There is a lot of casual nudity in the film. Performers shown include Terry Reid (including one song with Linda Lewis), Family, Melanie, Fairport Convention, Traffic and Arthur Brown.

Roeg missed an opportunity, though. He missed the early-morning set by David Bowie. Bowie, of course, would star in Roeg's "The Man Who Fell To Earth" in 1976. There are about 11 filmed performance and another three songs played over scenes of the festival goers. Roeg also capture the construction of the soon-to-be-classic pyramid stage. He also captures such weird moments as a man addressing the crowd from onstage with a chicken is on his shoulder.

The film, which has been digitally restored, has been unseen for more than 30 years since its cinematic release. The soft-spoken Roeg provides an audio commentary, which sometimes finds him repeating himself as he talks about how he would allow no camera shots to be staged. Roeg says he did not know Bowie was to perform, learning only years later he had. There also is a making-of documentary (35:33) that uses a lot of clips from the film, as well as interviews, including with two of the producers. Grade: B

Melanie: Live at the Meltdown Festival 2007 (MVD Visual DVD, NR, 143 min.). Melanie (aka Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk) was one of only three women to perform solo at Woodstock Festival in 1969 and continue her festival appearances at Isle of Wight in 1970 and Glastonbury Fayre in 1971 (see above). Her experience at Woodstock reportedly was the inspiration for her first U.S. hit, "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)." Once hailed by The New York Times as the female Bob Dylan, Melanie has sold more than 80 million albums.

This concert marked her first performance in Great Britain in nearly 20 years. Melanie was invited to open the Meltdown Festival by organizer Jarvis Cocker (Pulp frontman). The DVD contains the whole marvelous show, which she performed with her son Beau. Beau is an accomplished guitarist and has been co-writing songs with his mother and produced her recordings. (Melanie also has two older daughters, one of whom is the inspiration for the nice "And We Fall," in which the subject falls in love three times a week.) Beau gets two solo performances midway through the show. A handful of the 20 songs use scenes from the film "Glastonbury Fayre" (see above) and her performance of "Peace Will Come" from the film is included.

The very relaxed affair starts with a drop-in for three songs at soundcheck. There also are brief interview bits with Melanie throughout the program. While there are plenty of then-new songs, Melanie also delivers her hits, including "Beautiful People," "Brand New Key," "What Have They Done To My Song Ma" and "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)," as well as her classic covers of "Carolina in My Mind" and the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday."

Twice during the program, she delivered lengthy stories tied to songs, which reminded me of how Arlo Guthrie would perform "Alice's Restaurant." The first is about when she struggled to get a new publicist, who at first deferred because she was "too old," but kept getting her 4 a.m. TV appearances in small cities. Saying the publicist sounds like Joan Rivers, Melanie launches into her own Rivers' speak. It all leads to a new song, "I Tried To Die Young," with its humorous lyrics. Earlier, she talks about how her original idea for "Brand New Key" was for it to be a Cajun song — she sings a little of it like that — but then her producer husband realized it could be a hit and sped the song up and added some backing vocalizations that she hated, after she had left the studio. It was another example of Melanie having fun and tied in later with "What Have They Done To My Song Ma," as she talks about that song's frequent use in commercials, including for soaps that were found to have harmful ingredients in them. At this point, Melanie is pretending she is in a movie of her life, and she says Holly Hunter would be perfect to play her. Grade: A+

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Cherry Red America, 3 CDs, 2:49:16 + vinyl disc). The 52 tracks here include both stereo and mono versions of the 11-track album, the only longplayer made by the trio before they broke up. Lead singer Arthur Brown and organist Vincent Crane co-wrote most of the songs, with Brown's lyrics often having a poetic quality (outright poetry in "Fanfare — Fire Poem"), while Mancunian drummer Drachen Theaker completed the trio, which broke big in August 1978 with the debut album and "Fire," the second single that topped the British charts and was number two, behind the Beatles in America.

The music was steeped in psychedelia and Brown often screamed. In fact, "Fire" opens with him shouting, "I am the God of Hellfire." Their stage show bordered on the circus; at times, Brown would have a fire atop his hat. The album was produced by Kit Lambert (The Who) for Track Records, but he would only let Brown go so far with his fire concept for the album, as Pete Townshend was working on "Tommy" at the time, another album Lambert produced. Also, Lambert, and Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegun in America, disliked Theaker's jazz-influenced drumming. That was the reason orchestration and horns were added to "Fire," according to author Mark Paytress' excellent historical essay in the LP-sized, 24-page booklet, which also is filled with rare photos.

The album, for which Lambert sort of allowed the fire concept on the first side, opens in wonderful fashion with "Prelude — Nightmare" and then the spoken "Fanfare — Fire Poem." Then comes "Fire," opening with Crane's Hammond organ groove — the band had no guitarist or bassist — and the shout of "I am the God of Hellfire." The middle is very soft, then comes the horns towards the end. The mono version is without the horns. Side one also has the driving "Confusion."

On side two, more controlled by Lambert, the trio's love of R&B music shows, with dynamic covers of "Screaming Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You," with Brown's vocal based on Nina Simone's 1965 hit single version, and James Brown's "I Got Money."

Disc one has seven bonus tracks, including both sides of the band's first two singles. The other three are from singles as well. including a single edit of "Fire." The non-album "What's Happening" features Carl Palmer (future Emerson Lake and Palmer) on drums. Disc two has nine bonus tracks, including six alternate mono mixes and a first version of "Fire." The version of "Nightmare" here comes from the film, "The Committee." Disc three contains 14 rarities and radio sessions, including five songs performed for BBC's "Top of the Pops" show, plus an interview with Brown. For these BBC sessions future Rolling Stone Ron Wood, then with the Jeff Beck Group, was borrowed to play bass. There also are four radio session performances, and four very R&B, pre-Track recordings, the best of which is "Baby You Know What You're Doing."

The box set also comes with a vinyl stereo version of the original album, a foldout poster, a cardboard foldout that holds the CDs and shows a couple dozen show posters from the day. Grade: original album B+; anniversary package A

Gordon MacRae: Lover's Gold, Dynamic Classics & Rarities (UK, Jasmine, 4 CDs, 5:14:48). One interesting in the Crazy World of Arthur Brown booklet is when writer Mark Paytress recalls an interview with Brown in which Brown said one of his favorites was singer Gordon MacRae, because of his ability to bring his voice from very low to very high, as on "And This Is My Beloved," one of the 118 tracks in this 4-CD set. An actor and singer, MacRae appeared in the film versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel." Many of his hit recordings were made with Jo Stafford, including the "Whispering Hope" duet on disc three and the first 24, mostly religious-oriented  tracks on disc four (very lovely). This is the fourth Jasmine collection of MacRae recordings, after "Never Till Now," "Yesterday — The Definitive Duo" and "High on a Windy Hill — The Great Hit Sounds of Gordon MacRae."

Most of these recordings are from the 1940s and 1950s, with disc four from the early 1960s. Signing with Capitol Records in 1947, he worked with conductors  Paul Weston, Axel Stordahl, Frank DeVol, Les Baxter, Carmen Dragon and, most often, Van Alexander. The first disc includes many of MacRae's neglected singles, several of which are making their CD debut. Highlights include "The Sound of Music," "Lover's Gold," "Poison Ivy" with The Starfighters, "September Song," "And This Is My Beloved" and "Old Man River."

The collection has at least 10 show tunes from a variety of musicals. Disc three includes many recordings he made of material he performed on "The Radio Hour," for which he learned a new abbreviated score of a musical or operetta each week that was performed in full production with The Norman Luboff Choir and the NBC Orchestra, arranged and conducted by Dragon. There were 299 performances of the show over three years. Disc four includes two full inspirational albums recorded with Stafford in 1962. Grade: A-