David Bowie - David Live (3xLP Vinyl)

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David Live is the first official live album by English musician David Bowie, originally released by RCA Records in 1974. The album was recorded in July of that year, on the initial leg of Bowie's Diamond Dogs Tour, at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. The second leg, a more soul-oriented affair following recording sessions in Philadelphia for the bulk of Young Americans, would be renamed 'Philly Dogs', as reflected on a different live release, Cracked Actor (2017).

The album catches Bowie in transition from the Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane glam-rock era of his career to the 'plastic soul' of Young Americans. While the cover featured a picture of Bowie in his latest soul threads – baggy trouser suit complete with shoulder pads and braces from October 1974 – the music was recorded in July of that year when he was showcasing his two most recent studio albums of original material, Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane, as well as selected favourites from Ziggy Stardust and earlier.

The tour was Bowie's most ambitious to date, featuring a giant set designed to evoke "Hunger City", the post-apocalyptic setting for Diamond Dogs, and his largest band, led by Michael Kamen. For "Space Oddity" (recorded at the time but not released until the album's 2005 reissue) Bowie sang using a radio microphone disguised as a telephone whilst being raised and lowered above the stage by a cherry picker crane. The tour was documented in Alan Yentob's Cracked Actor (1975).

In 2005, the album was re-issued with four additional tracks, after having been thoroughly remixed by Tony Visconti.


Let’s party like it’s 1984.

Sometimes you have to wonder at the serendipitous timing of David Bowie’s career. Okay, I can buy that it’s just pure luck that his last performance as Ziggy Stardust was recorded on film, but it’s difficult to choke down the idea that it’s just a coincidence that his 1974 concerts at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia, the very ones where he just about came right out and said that his next album would be a soul record, were recorded for posterity before anyone knew what he was up to.
But don’t worry about the trickery or contrivances. Because, frankly, David Live is a no-shit no-doubts-about-it good live album, the kind that’s hard to find but easy to appreciate. Because unlike most live rock n roll recordings, the songs here aren’t simply louder and faster. Many of them feature new arrangements and all of them have been at least tweaked a little to create a seamless mood and emotion between songs from albums as diverse as The Man Who Sold the World and Aladdin Sane. And while the mood is a more somber than the pervious Ziggy Stardust tour, it’s more nuanced and not without it’s moments of all-out rock. Yes, Diamond Dogs was an elegy for glam, and it’s supporting tour didn’t deviate, but at least it’s a raucous wake.
And it’s not perfect, David sounds a little tired, and he has some trouble building momentum at the start of the performance (just check out the winded sounding ‘Rebel Rebel’) and highlighting a new horn arrangement over the guitar solo of ‘Moonage Daydream’ was just a flat out mistake. But those are just minor blemishes on an otherwise wonderful performance.
Most all of the songs on David Live are wonderful, but ‘Aladdin Sane’ deserves special mention. While the recorded version can be a take-it or leave-it thing, there’s no question that this live version is a definite winner which far surpasses the original. It’s got a new, slightly funkier beat and the horn section really adds a nice kick to the whole thing. In fact, the entire show gets a lot of mileage out of those two new elements that Bowie would explore further on 1975’s Young Americans.
There are some additional songs to pay close attention too, such as ‘Panic in Detroit’ and a wonderfully truncated ‘The Width of a Circle’. ‘The Jean Genie’ undergoes the most radical re-arrangement and comes out just fabulous for it. ‘Cracked Actor’ sounds a little too smooth for its own good but ‘All The Young Dudes’ benefits from it. Don’t miss ‘Watch That Man’ either, as this is a far better live recording than the one found on Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack. And be sure to notice how well David works two old Motown numbers at the start of disc two.
So, overall, David Live sounds just like you’d want your funeral too. Its fun without giving into abandon and somber without falling into melancholy. Bowie’s performance is maybe a hair too spotty, but chalk it up to grief rather than coke. David Live is a 3.5 point album that sums up nicely David Bowie’s career to this point and hints at what’s to come.

By: Xclaimation

A1 1984 3:20
A2 Rebel Rebel 2:40
A3 Moonage Daydream 5:10
A4 Sweet Thing / Candidate / Sweet Thing (Reprise) 8:48

B1 Changes 3:36
B2 Suffragette City 3:46
B3 Aladdin Sane 4:58
B4 All The Young Dudes 4:19

C1 Cracked Actor 3:29
C2 Rock 'N' Roll With Me 4:19
C3 Watch That Man 4:23
C4 Knock On Wood 3:08

D1 Here Today, Gone Tomorrow 3:32
D2 Space Oddity 6:27
D3 Diamond Dogs 6:32

E1 Panic In Detroit 5:41
E2 Big Brother 4:08
E3 Time 5:19

F1 The Width Of A Circle 8:12
F2 The Jean Genie 5:13
F3 Rock 'N' Roll Suicide 4:47

Catalogue Number:  0190295990190
Record Label: Parlophone / Warner 

David Bowie - Live at the Philadelphia Tower, July 8-12th, 1974.