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STAGE

David Bowie

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David Bowie Stage  album cover
3.88 | 74 ratings | 7 reviews | 22% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing


Disc one

1. Warszawa (Bowie, Eno) - 6:50
2. Heroes (Bowie, Eno) - 6:19
3. What in the World - 4:24
4. Be My Wife (bonus track) - 2:35
5. Blackout - 4:01
6. Sense of Doubt - 3:13
7. Speed of Life - 3:44
8. Breaking Glass (Bowie, Davis, Murray) - 3:28
9. Beauty and the Beast - 5:08
10. Fame (Bowie, Lennon, Alomar) - 4:06

[edit] Disc two

1. Five Years - 3:58
2. Soul Love - 2:55
3. Star - 2:31
4. Hang on to Yourself - 3:26
5. Ziggy Stardust - 3:32
6. Art Decade (Bowie, Eno) - 3:10
7. Alabama Song (Brecht, Weill) - 4:00
8. Station to Station - 8:55
9. Stay (bonus track) - 7:17
10. TVC 15 - 4:37



Line-up / Musicians

* David Bowie - vocals, chamberlain
* Carlos Alomar - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
* George Murray - bass, backing vocals
* Dennis Davis - drums, percussion
* Adrian Belew - lead guitar, backing vocals
* Simon House - violin
* Sean Mayes - piano, strings, backing vocals
* Roger Powell - synthesizer, keyboards, backing vocals


Releases information

RCA Records (1978) (1984)
Rykodisc (1992)
EMI (2005)

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
Edit this entry

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DAVID BOWIE Stage ratings distribution


3.88
(74 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(54%)
54%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

DAVID BOWIE Stage reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I really liked this live album while it came out some ages ago. So much better than the rather average "David Live". And for once, I would say that one of the many later releases, representing the true track list is a better choice, just thanks to this and it should be your only worry if ever you are interested in a live album of the man.

The original album was a straight cut of his last three albums to (that) date PLUS a whole Ziggy side. You might know that I am keen to this.don't you? But the sequence was rather shaky. The new 2005 release is more appropriate and closer to .reality. To my likings as well.

Some additional songs but not always great like "Alabama Song" makes it a best buy of course. My only problem would be why it was not released as such primarily (I'm not even talking about the bonus tracks which might have been a physical space problem). But we know this Bowie disease of re-re-re releasing the same work all over again. It made him rich. Fair for him. But I just HATE this habit.

Since I consider three of the albums highly represented here as masterpieces ("Ziggy", "Station To Station" and "Low") , I have always praised this live album.

David was in good shape and music was splendid. Some disappointments though. A couple of my preferred "Low" songs were not featured ("Subterraneans" and "Sound And Vision") and the three tracks from "Station" are rather cut down.

Four stars.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I don't know, why Bowie's live albums are not popular at all. May be people think he is better in studio, especially during his electronical sounds era. Who knows.

But I just wanna say, that "Stage" is PERFECT Bowie live album. It includes his period from glam -rock peak ( "Ziggy...") to the beginning of "Berlin Trylogy" ( "Low "). So, you understand, it's not easy to have songs from both very different periods in one concert. But Bowie 's doing it perfectly.

The album starts from his golden "Warszawa" , beautiful dark ambient instrumental piece from "Low"album. I don't know, where from is this song name ( it's instrumental, so no lyrics, no even idea, where from it came). I know this city very well, have been there plenty of times, and I am sure, that anyone, who ever visited this city, will confirm, that it's a most boring capitol in Europe. The song is not like that ( happily some eastern wordless vocals from studio album are changed in live version to more acceptable Bowie singing).

"Heroes"- next song, do you need my comments? Strong from very beginning, album makes very high energy atmosphere.

I honestly believe, that this live album is better, than studio albums with the same songs!The reason is strong track list and very successful music combination. You have here very rock- driven album, which combines dark ambient sounds and glam-rock. And this basical sound is perfect decision. Adrian Beliew on guitar, plus two perfect prog musicians Simon House and Roger Powell, now you know, what I 'm speaking about!

First 5-6 songs go at one breath ( I am speaking about 2005 version with some additional tracks on double CD album). To be honest, secod CD missed some energy, has few fillers, and at the end you are feeling a bit tired. But overall it's a perfect illustration of that Bowie's period. Highly recommended

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Released in 1978, Stage represented quite a leap forward when compared to the rather lacklustre David Live of 1974 (ironicly they were both recorded at the same venue in Philadelphia). It was recorded after Bowie´s second work of what would become his ´Berlin Triology´ (Low - Heroes - Lodger, all coproduced with Brian Eno), when he lived in that city. It was not well received at the time. The reason may be quite simple, although annoying: the double vinyl LP had the songs in the chronologial order of release, not as they were presented on the show. The reason for such suicidal decision was never fully explained as far as I know.

I remember hearing this LP at the time and not liking it at all. However, recently I had the opportunity to get the new, remastered CD of this album. Fortunally this time they decided to release it with the correct track´s running order. It seems like a small detail, but the results are way better than on the old version. Better still: not only the sound was more balanced and improved with the new technology but there are also a couple of bonus tracks with the new package. Stage, as it is now, shows a great performer on the top of his form. Backed by a superb band that included guitarrist Carlos Alomar and Adrian Belew (plus a special appearance of ex Hawkwind´s Simon House on violin), Bowie sings with confidence a very strong repertoire.

Ok, the album´s not perfect: some of the songs are not as good as their original studio version (Statio To Station for exemple, is shorter than on the his 1976 CD of the same name). Still, the show is quite energetic and is a good display of Bowie´s tremendous versatile powers as showman, songwriter and trendsetter. It is no wonder he has inlfuenced a whole new generation in the 80´s and beyond.

Conclusion: the best Live David Bowie album I´ve ever heard. The new CD version fixed most of its old problems and I´m really glad I got it now. It is an excellent document of an era. Highly recommended.

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A somewhat insignificant and throwaway live album, but definitely better in its 2005 form than in its original 1978 form. While the 2005 reissue more or less creates the sense of a full show from the "Heroes" tour (it's still a little short, though), the original version had a strange ordering of tracks that would have made it feel extremely artificial, not to mention that (according to reports; I've never actually heard the original issue) the tracks each faded out with applause. The setlist is mostly material from the previous three albums (including four instrumentals), with "Fame" thrown in for good measure (as well as a fairly horrifying atonal cover of "Alabama Song" that's so bad it actually becomes kinda neat), but it also scratches the nostalgia itch in a strange way by including a whopping five tracks from Ziggy Stardust ("Five Years," "Soul Love," "Star," "Hang Onto Yourself," "Ziggy Stardust"), with no overlaps with David Live. In the original release, these tracks made up the whole first side of the album (in the reissue, they're presented in the middle of the set, as the start of the second disc), for some reason I can't fathom; maybe the people compiling the set thought people would be more likely to buy the album if they saw Ziggy material at the top, I dunno. Anyway, these renditions are nowhere near the disasters that the renditions of Ziggy songs were on Live, but they're weirdly sterile, and presenting them all in a row makes it feel like David was going out of his way to fill the perceived need for material from the back catalogue in the most perfunctory way possible. I don't skip these tracks, but they're not the main draw of the album.

Nah, the draw of the album is the recent material, where David and his backing band (featuring none other than Adrian Belew on guitar, along with Carlos Alomar in his standard guitar role) do their best to perform these tracks in all their technophilian splendor. The original release made the weird decision to cram the album's four instrumentals ("Warszawa," "Sense of Doubt," "Speed of Life," "Art Decade") onto the third side, but hearing them in roughly their original setlist placements makes their inclusion feel less like pointless reproductions of the studio versions. Having "Warszawa" as the concert opener, in particular, just feels really classy: I wish I could have seen one of these shows, with Bowie hiding himself behind a chamberlain, blending into the ensemble until his voice pops up with the wordless sounds. "Speed of Life" feels perfectly at home with all the rest of the material, and while the idea of hearing "Sense of Doubt" and "Art Decade" live seems awfully strange, there are just enough changes to keep them from feeling redundant.

Most of the rest of the concert consists of regular material from "Heroes" and Low (as well as the aforementioned "Fame" and "Alabama Song"), where the songs are done similarly to the originals but not quite identical. These tracks all sound fine, but not especially remarkable. Where the album really picks up steam is in the final three tracks, where Bowie brings out the Station to Station material. The intensity produced by the noisy introduction of that album's title track is just breathtaking, and hearing this version in full just reaffirms to me the idea that this is one of Bowie's best songs. "Stay" and "TVC15" close out the album, and while "TVC15" doesn't have quite the same strange metallic crunch to it that made the original so fabulous, it's still lots of fun, and "Stay" confirms its place as one of the best crowd pleasers Bowie ever wrote.

I probably wouldn't recommend this for a casual fan, and I might not even recommend the original version to many fans of this era of Bowie's career, but now that the reissue is the standard version, I'd definitely recommend it to anybody who liked the last few albums. Definitely don't get it before the studio albums it covers, though.

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars DAVID BOWIE, one of the 'great musical explorers', had this album released in 1978, quite possibly against his will (or his knowledge). There's also video footage from gigs in Japan (and maybe Germany too) during this era of his career, floating around. Having put together a band comprising of, to name a few 'Prog' giants - Adrian Belew (lead gtr - Zappa, King Crimson, Talking Heads), Simon House (el. violin - Hawkwind, Spiral Realms) and Roger Powell (Kbds/synths - Utopia/Todd Rundgren and his own synth oriented solo ventures - oh yeah, his debut from 1973 - 'Cosmic Furnace', is quite essential for fans of Electronic-Prog....) along with the dynamic and versatile rhythm section of Dennis Davis and George Murray (drums & bass, respectively - they really are an absolutely pounding duo), many facets of Bowie's styles are covered with plenty of energy and enthusiasm. Owning the dbl LP, it groups selections from certain eras, a 'Ziggy' side, a 'funky' side, his Kraut-influenced experimental side, and the punky/pre-new wave side - that's the best way I can describe it..... and did I mention Bowie performs some of the electronic pieces on an old Chamberlin (that dinosaur keyboard which eventuated into a Mellotron..... ?) - man, Sean Mayes' thumping piano in Sense of Doubt is heavy-as-fuc...... Anyways, without a track-by-track analysis, this release captures a most extravagant and progressive period of master Bowie, with all the excitement, verve and precision of what he has to offer. Can't say no more - easy 4 stars........
Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nş 59

"Stage" is the second live album of David Bowie and was released in 1978. It was recorded on the "Isolar II ? The 1978 World Tour", more commonly known as "The Low/Heroes World Tour" or "The Stage Tour". The tour opened on 29 March 1978 at the San Diego Sports Arena, continuing through North America, Europe and Australia, before reaching a conclusion at the Nippon Budokan in Japan on 12 December 1978. The recordings were taken from concerts in Philadelphia, Providence and Boston, in USA. It primarily included material from the Bowie's three most recent studio works to that date, "Station To Station", released in 1976, "Low" and "Heroes", both released in 1977. However, in a true surprise show of nostalgia, it also featured five songs from his fifth studio album "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars", released in 1972.

The line up on the album beyond David Bowie (vocals and keyboards) and his usual core team Carlos Alomar (backing vocals and rhythm guitar), George Murray (backing vocals and bass) and Dennis Davis (drums and percussion), it's also formed by the then ex-Frank Zappa sideman Adrian Belew (backing vocals and lead guitar), Simon House (violin) from Hawkwind, Roger Powell (backing vocals, synthesizer and keyboards), best known for his work with Todd Rundgren in Utopia and Sean Mayes (backing vocals, piano and string ensemble).

Bowie's second official live album is an improvement on the first one, "David Live" released in 1974, even though most involved with it consider it a disappointment. Having not attended any of the supposedly excellent shows that this allegedly fails to properly capture, I don't have any such reservations about this album, and as such I can readily enjoy it. While "David Live" captured the Bowie's music in a traditional phase, from glam rock to soul, "Stage" was released in his Berlin phase, with the presence of Brian Eno, and so, it reflects more that musical phase. Anyway, it has also some songs from "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars" and from "Station to Station".

The original version of "Stage" has 17 songs. The songs appear in the chronological order of the original release of his studio albums, with 5 songs of "Ziggy Stardust", 3 songs of "Station To Station", 5 songs of "Low" and 4 songs of "Heroes". Despite I have both, the vinyl and the CD versions, the version of "Stage" that I'm reviewing here on Progarchives, is the 2005 CD reissue version, which is the best because it sequences the songs in the order that they were actually performed and it includes also three bonus tracks, "Alabama Song", "Be My Wife" and a version of "Stay", that may well be the best song on the whole album, despite all the songs on the album are great.

About the performance, the band pulls off the coldly majestic "Warszawa", an unusual choice for an album opener, extremely well, and there are plenty of other potential highlights here, plus the House's prominent violin adds an interesting new element that differentiates some of these songs from their studio counterparts. Disc one is comprised primarily of "Low" and "Heroes" tracks aside from "Fame", with "Heroes" the song unsurprisingly serving as the centrepiece and the high point of the set. Like most songs here it may not be as good as the original, but this version is still epic and wonderful in its own right. Disc two goes back in time for five straight "Ziggy Stardust" songs. "Art Decade" doesn't really fit here very well, and I prefer The Doors' version of "Alabama Song", but despite it, the album ends strongly with three "Station To Station" tracks, where Belew in particular shines, especially on the aforementioned extended version of "Stay". On the whole, this album doesn't really provide anything new other than to show that Bowie and company could pull these songs off in a live setting. Still, there's nothing wrong with that, and I for one enjoy listening to this album, and it represents undoubtedly an improvement to his debut live album.

Conclusion: "Stage" is, in my humble opinion and without any doubt, an excellent live album. I know it since it was released and I always loved it very much. It has an incredible set of songs, superiorly live performed, and that almost belong to some of the Bowie's best studio albums, and which are some of my favourite albums too. The repertoire chosen from those four studio albums is practically irreproachable. In relation to "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars", I've nothing to say because all the songs on the album are great and we are in presence of a conceptual album. Relatively to "Station To Station", "Low" and "Heroes", the selection is simply excellent. The only negative point, for me, is the non inclusion of "Subterraneans" of "Low". So, "Stage" is an excellent live document and a perfect illustration of the Bowie's musical period of that era, and is highly recommended for everyone. Anyway, Bowie is a highly visual artist so that aspect of his artistry can't be properly captured by only an audio CD.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a solid live recording from the Isolar II tour Bowie undertook in 1978, primarily showcasing material from Low and Heroes but with a few throwbacks - including an extended set of material from Ziggy Stardust. Bowie sounds more relaxed and comfortable than he has in a live context for a long while. On one level, this is reassuring - he was in a bad way just a few years prior - but it also means that the set, being a bit more relaxed, is also a bit less compelling. Compare it, say, to the dark energy of the 1976 Nassau concert (made available for the first time on the Who Can I Be Now? boxed set and later given a standalone release), or for that matter to the manic panic of the Cracked Actor live set from 1974 (recently released and putting David Live into the shade). Still, when the material at hand is this good and the band assembled is so professional, the show still ends up pretty good, though not quite essential.

Moreover, the chilly art rock experimentation of the Berlin era doesn't really suggest the warmth and spontaneity of live performance very much - so Bowie wisely doesn't try to recapture the sound of the most experimental parts of those albums onstage, instead giving the material an extensive reworking to make it more amenable for a live band, ("What In the World" may offer the most radical example of this). Taking on Adrian Belew as live guitarist lends a different but interestingly so sound to many of the songs, especially the Heroes material, which is rather transformed when you take Robert Fripp away and put Adrian Belew in his place.

(I have to wonder, in fact, whether Fripp had this album in mind when considering Belew for the 1980s King Crimson revival - after all, anyone who could reinterpret Fripp's approach in their own distinct style to this extent is surely a rare find.)

Earlier releases of the album hacked about the running order a lot, which rather shakes you out of the live context; more recent rereleases on CD restore missing songs and put the set list back how it's supposed to be. The best of these is the 2017 edition released on the A New Career In a New Town boxed set, which restores the final missing songs from the setlist (aside from Rebel Rebel, which was only occasionally performed on the tour as an encore), providing finally a complete Isolar II set for the listener's enjoyment. (I don't even miss the encore very much - the upbeat take on TVC 15 the album closes with is already a joyful enough farewell for my tastes.)

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