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David Bowie - Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74) CD (album) cover


David Bowie

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5 stars With a limited vinyl edition released for 2017's Record Store Day followed by a 2CD digipack, David Bowie's estate graces us with a long-overdue official release of this much-bootlegged live set. Legendary in part for being partially captured on the Cracked Actor documentary film by Alan Yentob, which captured Bowie in the process of spiralling into the cocaine addiction that nearly completely derailed him in the mid-1070s, this release sets itself head and shoulders above the bootlegs by a fine mastering job at the hands of Tony Visconti.

Though recorded a couple of months after David Live, the concert featured a markedly tweaked lineup, which combined the soul experimentation of the Philly Dogs tour with an evocative torch song aesthetic and a brief return of the glam rock fire that Bowie was trying to work beyond. The end result is perhaps the most sonically interesting of Bowie's work from his soul experimentation phase, particularly since the concert takes place just after The Gouster was wrapped up but before it got reconfigured into the Young Americans album we now know and love - It's Gonna Be Me and John I'm Only Dancing (Again) are both present in the setlist, for instance.

As a revelation of how quickly Bowie was evolving even from month to month during this time period, it's priceless - but the CD digipack version is actually a very reasonably priced budget release. Highly recommended.

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Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | Review Permalink

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