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David Bowie - David Live CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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2.93 | 73 ratings

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3 stars Bowie missed a trick here by not calling this one Live Oddity, because this is a truly strange live album. To many, it was a massive disappointment on its original release, because it offers little of the glam rock style which, as of Diamond Dogs, David was still most closely associated with.

With the Spiders having broken up (just as Ziggy promised they would be!), Bowie had cobbled together a new band led by Michael Kamen and performed his repertoire in a curious art rock style which worked in a bunch of influences, including a mild dose of the Philly soul which would in later legs of the tour come to dominate it sound and be the fulcrum of Young Americans.

At the same time, the space given to the band to jam away at times makes it feel a bit looser and more classic rock- oriented than that stylistically very disciplined album, whilst at points the presentation feels like it is trying to crawl towards something like Bowie's late-1970s art rock sound as on Station to Station without being entirely sure how to get there, Young Americans having been perhaps a necessary detour along the way to help Bowie get his sound in order before pushing on.

In terms of sound quality, it is alright in general, though it can be a little heavy on the audience noise and Bowie sometimes seems to be the worse for wear. This was the tour documented on the classic Cracked Actor documentary, of course, so we're coming into that bit of the 1970s where Bowie and cocaine where pretty much one and the same.

Ultimately, it's a mess, but it's an interesting enough mess that Bowie fans interested in this strange transitional time may find it worthwhile. It's at its best when it's doing the torch song type compositions, like Time from Aladdin Sane or the Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise) triptych from Diamond Dogs.

Warthur | 3/5 |


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