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David Bowie
David Live and Stage
Virgin/ EMI Records

Why the re-issues, you may ask? Is there such a tremendous sound difference between my old cd versions of these awesome David Bowie live shows and these new re-mixed ones? The answer, my good friend, is yes. Tony Visconti, who originally recorded and mixed both Stage and David Live, is once again responsible for re-mixing the records into the 21st century. Sound quality is crisper, instrumentation clearer at times, and the actual running order of the live shows has been followed, rather than the chronological ordering of songs as on the initial releases. Both albums come packaged in a cool 2-disc digipak, complete with new liner notes by Mr. Visconti, and are being released not only in CD format, but also as DVD-A's for those of you that care for that sort of thing.

But the meat of these re-issues lies in the addition of just 2 songs each set, that round out a Bowie fan's need to hear more from that golden 70's transitional Bowie. On David Live, "Panic In Detroit" and "Space Oddity" are the previously unreleased tracks. This version of "Space Oddity" alone is worth trading up to the re-issue CD. This version is spaced out, and slowed down a bit, creating a much more dramatic air to the song. "Panic In Detroit" is available for the first time on CD here, and rocks as hard as it ever did. The guitars are phased and distorted and pure sonic bliss. The classic re-workings of "The Width Of A Circle" and "Suffragette City" are present, being obvious staples of this era's live sets.

On Stage, the new tracks are "Be My Wife" and "Stay". This set is more cohesive than the transitional era sound of David Live, and songs are included from records as varied as Ziggy Stardust to Heroes. From the opening classical operatic-ness of "Warszawa" to the closing pop of "TVC-15", this is Bowie at his live finest. High energy, both from the crowd and stage, are obvious in this set, and the album flows much better with the track list being set to actual stage set lists, instead of the previously released track listing. "Heroes" kicks off the vocal set in high style - it's a marvelous performance, from what must have been a marvelous show. The version of "Be My Wife" is bluesy, rhythmic and magical. "Beauty And The Beast" is chock full of the Eno-esque keyboards that characterized the Low album, and which marked the turning point of Bowie's musical genius. This version of "Ziggy Stardust" is remarkably energetic, even with most of the guitar being replaced with keyboards. The onus of this record is the transition from guitar rock to more of a keyboard oriented sound, and it is well documented how David was reworking songs into his newly chosen format. "Stay" is full of near disco guitars and slurring hi-hats, being very representative of the original album version, and leads oddly well into the closing "TVC-15". It's difficult to believe that not too long after this record, Niles Rodgers took over as Bowie's producer and ruined what could have been the highlight of the early 80's rock scene.

Any fan of Bowie, or anyone that doesn't already own either David Live or Stage, needs to run out and get these re-issues. They are not only classic representations of live rock and roll perfection, but they are musical and much more contiguous with the new track lists.

-L. Keane

Track Listings:

David Live
Disc: 1
1. 1984
2. Rebel Rebel
3. Moonage Daydream
4. Sweet Thing
5. Changes
6. Suffragette City
7. Aladdin Sane
8. All the Young Dudes
9. Cracked Actor
10. Rock & Roll With Me

Disc: 2
1. Knock On Wood
2. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
3. Space Oddity (Previously Unreleased)
4. Diamond Dogs
5. Panic In Detroit (First Issue on CD)
6. Big Brother
7. Time
8. The Width Of A Circle
9. Jean Genie
10. Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

Disc: 1
1. Hang on to Yourself
2. Ziggy Stardust
3. Five Years
4. Soul Love
5. Star
6. Station to Station
7. Fame
8. TVC 15
Disc: 2
1. Five Years
2. Soul Love
3. Star
4. Hang On To Yourself
5. Ziggy Stardust
6. Art Decade
7. Alabama Song
8. Station To Station
9. Stay (Previously Unreleased)
10. TVC-15

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