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David Bowie – Torquay 1972 (Wardour-057)

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Torquay 1972 (Wardour-057)

Friars Club, Aylesbury, England – July 15th, 1972

Ode To Joy, Hang On To Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, The Supermen, Queen Bitch, Song For Bob Dylan, Starman, Changes, Five Years, Space Oddity, Andy Warhol, Amsterdam, I Feel Free, Moonage Daydream, I Can’t Explain, White Light White Heat, Suffragette City, Waiting For The Man (encore)

Torquay 1972 is being advertised and distributed as a brand new tape source from the June 16th, 1972 show at the Town Hall in Torquay.  However, it is a tape from the Friars Club in Aylesbury on July 15th, about a month later.  Wardour have been in production for several years and have never made a mistake or deception before and one can only assume they were mislead themselves.  This is also being advertised as having “great sound,” but in reality this is a poor to fair recording very distant from the stage and thin sounding.  There are a couple of small cuts on the tape including one after “Queen Bitch,” “I Feel Free” and “Suffragette City.”  This is an interesting tape for historic purposes and something no Bowie collector can live without.

Occurring five weeks after the release of The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and in the early stages of the Ziggy Stardust tour, Bowie returned to the same venue where ten months before was the scene of one of his biggest triumphs for shows on July 15th and July 18th.  July 15 was also a showcase for Bowie.  RCA invested $25,000 to court American journalists from top publications including Rolling Stone, Creem, The New York Times, and the New Yorker to witness the show.  The following day a press conference was arranged at the Dorchester Hotel (with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop also in attendance).  Press interviews afterwards would be refused in order to build a “mystique” around the artist.   

These shows are notable for containing the first rethinking of the set list.  In the July 15th show a cover of The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” makes its first appearance, and in the July 18th covers of Chuck Berry’s “Round And Round” and The Beatles’ “This Boy” new originals “The Width Of A Circle” and “John, I’m Only Dancing” were played.  The club which held 2,000 people was packed for the concert. Bowie had planned to relay this concert to a huge video screen in the market square but this idea was scrapped.  The tape picks up with the Walter (now Wendy) Carlos electronic arrangement of Beethoven’s Ode Zu Freunde from Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.  “Alright! I’m David Bowie, these are the Spiders From Mars and this is some of our rock” he says as they come on stage.

The first four songs are delivered at a furious pace borne by nervous energy.  “Thank you very much.  That was called ‘Bob Dylan’” he says after “Song For Bob Dylan” as they light into one of their bigger hits of the time “Starman.”  Bowie and the band loosen up considerably playing very strong material like “Changes” and “Space Oddity,” this most famous song.  “This is a song we wrote…called ‘Andy Warhol’” he says before playing the Hunky Dory track.  There is a long explanation before the next song which Bowie says is “written by a Belgian…who wrote a song called ‘The Port Of Amsterdam’ about twelve years ago.”  He gives a very loose rendition.  This is followed by the Cream cover “I Feel Free,” one of the barn burners in the set.  This would be soon be dropped in favor of “The Width Of A Circle” where Ronson would not only import but also expand the solo to almost triple the length. 

The new song “Moonage Daydream” sounds very powerful despite the poor recording.  Bowie gives a short explanation about how he would listen to  The Who when he was a boy and they follow with a rather faithful cover of “I Can’t Explain.”  The show ends with the newer song “Suffragette City” featuring Bowie’s fellating Ronson’s guitar no doubt, a trick they began the previous month to much press notoriety.  The only encore of the show is the Velvet Underground cover “Waiting For The Man.”  Several years ago silent color 16mm footage filmed by Mick Rock surfaced from this show and although it circulates has never been pressed.  A Wardour release of this tape (with correct attribution) along with a DVD of the Rock footage would be an amazing title truly aimed at Bowie collectors. 

The Ziggy In Osaka (bonus cdr)
Koseinenkin Kaikan, Osaka, Japan – April 17th, 1973

The Jean Genie, Time, Five Years, Let’s Spend The Night Together, Suffragette City, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide, Land Of Hope And Glory (outro)

The Ziggy In Osaka is a bonus CDR given with Torquay 1972.  Bowie played eight dates during his first visit to Japan and this is a tape from the second show in Osaka.  Only about a half hour long, it captures six songs from the latter part of the two hour show.  An employee of the Festival Hall made this tape and it has circulated among collectors in a high generation copy, but this uses the master cassette.  Not that it really matters.  The sound quality is poor.  Very distant with some distortion, it exists as a curiosity for hardcore fans but is a bit tough to take for the average fan.  From what can be gathered it sounds like a fun show with everyone having a fun time.  As a free bonus this is fine, but with this sound can’t really be enjoyed. 

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David Bowie - Torquay 1972 (Wardour-057), 1.3 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

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