David Bowie – 1974 (BOW 741/742)

1974 (BOW 741/742)

Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, CA – September 5th, 1974

Disc 1 (53:47):  Intro, 1984, Rebel Rebel, Moonage Daydream, Sweet Thing, Changes, Suffragette City, Aladdin Sane, All The Young Dudes, Cracked Actor, Rock n Roll With Me

Disc 2 (52:42):  Knock On Wood, It’s Gonna Be Me, Space Oddity, Future Legend, Diamond Dogs, Big Brother, Time, The Jean Genie, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide, band intro., John I’m Only Dancing (Again), outro

The Los Angeles shows in September were a compromise for David Bowie.  Starting the second half of the Diamond Dogs tour, he had already made another style shift to Philadelphia Stax soul.  Working on the new album Young Americans, he wanted to ditch the overproduced stage production and replace it with a stripped down soul revue.

But Los Angeles, with many celebrities in attendance, wanted to see the production Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Taylor, et al.  Bowie played the show at the Universal Amphitheater September 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th.

The excellent audience recording of the September 5th show first surfaced on the 2LP Strange Fascination (A LOMART PRODUCTION C DB A/B).  It has the complete concert except the 10 minute intro, the beginning of “All The Young Dudes” and the voice of the promoter after the show is missing.  The vinyl was copied onto silver disc the same year on Strange Fascination (BOW1/2).  

A Japanese release Strange Fascination (The Original Masters TOM CD 1 /2) is complete with the introduction and outro.  in 1991 Live In Los Angeles 1974 Part 1 and Live In Los Angeles Part 2 (Super Golden Radio Shows No 011/012) came out in Italy as did The Duke Of L.A. (Papillon Records CD 010/2).  

1974 on BOW also came out in 1991.  It contains the complete show including intro and outro as well as the strange beginning of “All The Young Dudes.”  It has excellent sound quality and, in the twenty years since its release, hasn’t really been improved in any way.  

Since its release there have been several other releases.  In 1995 came Cracked Actor (Oil Well RSC CD 056)and Big Brother (Oil Well RSC CD 057), copies of the two Live In Los Angeles 1974 titles from 1991.  An Australian version came out in 1996 called A Portrait In Flesh (RCA 070459-1) and a faux official label.  A couple songs are included on the 2002 compilation Legendarios Del S. XX (DISQUERIA 80.048 SGAE 70.126 SGAE 70127) and copied the following year on Seleccion 5 Estrellas (ESTADIO POR SEND MUSIC 85.049 70.126/70.127).

The tape starts with a ten minute long pre-taped introduction.  Without visual reference the dog barks and other noises are lose their meaning.  The funk “1984” gets the show off with much energy and is the start of almost forty minutes of continuous music.  The opening is followed by another new song from Diamond Dogs “Rebel Rebel,” one of Bowie’s big hits at the moment.

The Ziggy track “Moonage Daydream” is given a radical reinterpretation compared to the earlier live arrangements.  The loss of Mick Ronson’s fiery guitar is compensated by a loud saxophone section, keyboards, Carlos Alomar’s guitar, and a Brechtian instrumental interlude.

Another new song “Sweet Thing” provides one of the early highlights of the show and segues into a slower arrangement of “Changes.”  Only after “Aladdin Sane” does Bowie actually address the crowd.  Speaking in a thick Scottish accent, he praises the women’s dresses and high heel shoes “and walk around not fall down.”  He continues speaking in this accent through “All The Young Dudes.”  

He continues his Scottish accent in the introduction ot the cover tune “Knock On Wood.”  The dramatic highlight of the show occurs with “Space Oddity,” “Diamond Dogs,” “Big Brother,” and “Time.”  Bowie plays the newer songs in a curious position with the older songs from “The Jean Genie” from Aladdin Sane and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” from Ziggy.

1974 contains one of the most vivid recordings from David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs tour and is certainly worth having.  The packaging and artwork (featuring pictures of Bowie from the show singing “Cracked Actor” on the front and “Space Oddity” on the back) is simple, very much a product of its times.  However, the sound is great and it is readily available and a good way to obtain the show.  

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