David Bowie
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David Bowie - cd reviews and discography
David Bowie - cd reviews and discography

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David Bowie - cd reviews and discography

 

David Bowie Stage reviewDavid Bowie Hunky Dory

David Bowie

David Bowie Ziggy StardustDavid Bowie - David Live

 

David Bowie - cd reviews and discography

David Bowie  Stage review

Disc: 1
1. Warszawa   
2. Heroes   
3. What In The World   
4. Be My Wife   
5. Black Out   
6. Sense Of Doubt   
7. Speed Of Life   
8. Breaking Glass   
9. Beauty And The Beast   
10. Fame   

Disc: 2
1. Five Years  
2. Soul Love  
3. Star  
4. Hang On To Yourself  
5. Ziggy Stardust  
6. Art Decade  
7. Alabama Song  
8. Station To Station  
9. Stay (Previously Unreleased)  
10. TVC-15  
 
STAGE review

Wow!!! Oh my!! (insert other exclamations as needed) But you're probably wondering "What the ---?", and rightly so: STAGE was a live album released in 1978, scoring no hits, and dismissed at the time in favor of DAVID LIVE, which had been released four years earlier and was better mixed & more focused in style.

And yet ....

Bowie covered a lot of musical ground in the 70s -- and much of it charted to one degree or another. By 1977, he was performing as the Slim White Duke -- sort of an outer-space alien investigating life on this planet. But Bowie the person had just hooked up with avant-garde artiste Brian Eno for a couple albums, exploiting Eno's interest in German minimalism. The results were sometimes surprisingly accessible ("Sound & Vision", and especially "Heroes"), even when they were anything but commercial ("Sense of Doubt"; "Art Decade").

1977 was probably the last year anyone could make such albums with any expectation of sales, but Bowie went a step further and actually toured in support of them. Possibly suspecting the strain this could place on his audience, he pulled five songs from the Ziggy Stardust collection out of retirement; the result was a set spanning several genres, to say the least.

STAGE chronicles all this, and the original release artfully organized each album side by artistic style: one for Ziggy rock; one for 1975 - 76 material; one for instrumentals, and side four completed the set with recent vocal songs from the experimental albums. Each album side worked as a collection unto itself, while the whole acted as a calling card for Bowie's artistry of the moment.

All well & good, but the album was rather flat-sounding -- and what the heck WAS all this stuff? Moody instrumentals, Ziggy remakes -- did anyone really NEED this album? If so, why?

The answer, as it happens, is this: the band. For this tour, Bowie assembled one of the best bands he would ever have, and they bring to life several songs which were only semi-interesting ideas in their album incarnations (especially the LOW material). Both "TVC-15" and "Station to Station" benefit from stronger arrangements, as does "What in the World" -- little more than filler on LOW, it's a show-stopper here. But even the Ziggy material is played with enthusiasm; these guys were keen to impress, and it showed.

But what about the sound? Well, there is that .... or, rather, there *was*. Because the 2005 release is worlds away from all previous versions: better mixed, better equalized, better produced. Furthermore, the songs have been restored to the actual performance order, so STAGE can now be experienced as a *show*. This is only helped by the addition of two more songs, one of which is the redoubtable crowd-pleaser "Stay".

Finally, there is Bowie himself: confident & in control, he moves easily from helping out on instrumentals to taking center stage, singing with the confidence such material requires. This album was assembled from several nights, no one of which could have contained all the energy displayed here, but that doesn't matter: this all really happened, one week back in the late 70s, before record companies became corporations.

By now, we've all heard more than enough versions of "Fame", but the real rewards are in his adapting Ziggy material to a more mature voice, taking real chances with audience patience on music that was low-key and anti-commercial, and assembling a first-rate band that could play that material for all it was worth. Of all the Bowie albums, this is the one most often in rotation on my stereo.
Ramble on Joeİ

David Bowie Classics

Below are a few of our favorite David Bowie releases, Heroes was selected by Ramble on Joe.

David Bowie - cd reviews and discography
Hunky Dory Ziggy Stardust Heroes
David Bowie - cd reviews and discography
David Bowie Websites
David Bowie official page This is the official David Bowie website.
David Bowie - cd reviews and discography
Apple iTunes
David Bowie - cd reviews and discography

 

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