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David Bowie – Plastic Soul (Mainstream MAST-114)

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Plastic Soul (Mainstream MAST-114)

Boston Music Hall, Boston, MA – November 18th, 1974

Opening: Memories Of A Free Festival, Rebel Rebel, John I’m Only Dancing Again, Sorrow, Changes, Young Americans, 1984, Footstompin’, Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me, Love Me Do/ The Jean Genie, Moonage Daydream, the band intro., Can You Hear Me, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Suffragette City, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide, Diamond Dogs

Plastic Soul is an interesting release. Another tape from the Joe Maloney archives, this show has never circulated in any form before. This is the second of three shows Bowie performed in Boston during his “Philly Dogs” tour in the autumn of 1974 and this is a fascinating document. At this time he had completely ditched the Diamond Dogs extravaganza and focused solely upon the Philly Soul Revue, or as Bowie himself put it “Plastic Soul”. This included playing tracks from the yet unreleased Young Americans LP plus offering soul based interpretations of his older material which received mixed reviews and scratched heads.  No tape source has circulated for this concert until now and this is a complete good to very good mono audience recording. It sounds very slightly better than the 72 tape reviewed for Ziggy Plays…Velvets And Rock ‘N’ Roll. He opens with “Rebel Rebel” which some have interpreted to be Bowie’s valedictory to the “glam” image, followed immediately with “John I’m Only Dancing Again”, the gospel interpretation of the older track.

The Hunky Dory track “Changes” receives a similar make over and is the source of some frustration with the Boston audience. The beginning of the song is met with cheers only to turn to grumbling and catcalls. It’s painful to listen to although they calm down by the end. Not until “Young Americans” does Bowie actually address the crowd and delivers an intense performance of the new piece. It is so impassioned that he blows his voice out and is raspy for the rest of the show. “The Jean Genie” contains the “Love Me Do” with harmonica into and the rest of the show is received well. There aren’t many tapes circulating from this tour and this is a valuable release that is highly recommended. It’s not the best recording but more than adequate for capturing the passion and drama. Mainstream also includes several pictures from the era of the emaciated Bowie on stage on the inserts.

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