David Live

Performers David Bowie

Virgin Records (USA) | October 1, 2013 | Compact Disc

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During the supporting tour for 1974's Diamond Dogs, David Bowie shifted away from the arch camp of glam rock and turned toward a highly stylized variation of Philly soul -- a transition captured on the 1974 double live album David Live. It's an interesting idea for a record, and certainly one that's fascinating as a historical footnote, but David Live winds up as one of the true failures in Bowie's catalog, one of the few records in his catalog that's a genuine chore to sit through from beginning to end. Part of the problem is inherent to any live Bowie LP: his concerts are equal parts visual spectacle and musical concert, so having just the aural portion of the show misses a crucial part of the story. Another part of the problem is that the soul reworkings of Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and Diamond Dogs material is intriguing conceptually, but the execution, at least on this record, is awkward and ham-fisted, nowhere near as sleek and sexy as the subsequent Young Americans and, especially, Station to Station albums. And that points out the real problem with David Live -- the performances are stilted, lacking energy, and often degenerating into bland groove-oriented vamps. It doesn't help that the recording is lousy and that no amount of aural tweaking -- whether on Rykodisc's 1991 CD reissue or Virgin's expanded 2005 reissue, which is heavily remixed by its original producer Tony Visconti -- can change the fact that this is a flat, colorless experience. [The 2005 edition contains the bonus tracks that were on the Ryko edition, but they're inserted into the running order of the album instead of being tacked onto the end, which is where they were on the 1991 edition.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 1, 2013

Genre: Art Rock

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 2005

Label Name: Virgin Records (USA)

UPC: 094631124822

Found in: Art Rock, Art Rock

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– More About This Product –

David Live

Performers David Bowie

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 1, 2013

Genre: Art Rock

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 2005

Label Name: Virgin Records (USA)

UPC: 094631124822


Title Track Time
1.1984 --
2.rebel Rebel --
3.Moonage Daydream --
4.Sweet Thing / Candidate / Sweet Thing (Reprise) --
5.Changes --
6.Suffragette City --
7.Aladdin sane --
8.All The Young Dudes --
9.Cracked Actor --
10.Rock 'N' Roll --
11.With Me --
12.Watch That Man --

Editorial Notes

During the supporting tour for 1974's Diamond Dogs, David Bowie shifted away from the arch camp of glam rock and turned toward a highly stylized variation of Philly soul -- a transition captured on the 1974 double live album David Live. It's an interesting idea for a record, and certainly one that's fascinating as a historical footnote, but David Live winds up as one of the true failures in Bowie's catalog, one of the few records in his catalog that's a genuine chore to sit through from beginning to end. Part of the problem is inherent to any live Bowie LP: his concerts are equal parts visual spectacle and musical concert, so having just the aural portion of the show misses a crucial part of the story. Another part of the problem is that the soul reworkings of Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and Diamond Dogs material is intriguing conceptually, but the execution, at least on this record, is awkward and ham-fisted, nowhere near as sleek and sexy as the subsequent Young Americans and, especially, Station to Station albums. And that points out the real problem with David Live -- the performances are stilted, lacking energy, and often degenerating into bland groove-oriented vamps. It doesn't help that the recording is lousy and that no amount of aural tweaking -- whether on Rykodisc's 1991 CD reissue or Virgin's expanded 2005 reissue, which is heavily remixed by its original producer Tony Visconti -- can change the fact that this is a flat, colorless experience. [The 2005 edition contains the bonus tracks that were on the Ryko edition, but they're inserted into the running order of the album instead of being tacked onto the end, which is where they were on the 1991 edition.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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