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David Bowie – An Earthling In Atlanta (Eat A Peach EAT 99/100)

davidbowie-an-earthling-atlanta1-296x300An Earthling In Atlanta (Eat A Peach EAT 99/100)

International Ballroom, Atlanta, GA, USA – October 10, 1997

Disc 1 (68:28) Quicksand, The Supermen, Waiting For The Man, My Death, The Jean Genie, I’m Afraid Of Americans, Look Back In Anger, Seven Years In Tibet, Strangers When We Meet, The Man Who Sold The World, Fashion, Looking For Satellites, Under Pressure

Disc 2 (55:22) Panic In Detroit, Hallo Spaceboy, Scary Monsters, Little Wonder, Fame, White Light / White Heat. Bonus Tracks; David Bowie & Reeves Gabrels Acoustic Set. Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA, USAApril 8, 1997. Scary Monsters, Seven Years In Tibet, The Supermen, Dead Man Walking, The Jean Genie, I Can’t Read

The tour to support David Bowie’s 1997 album Earthling was originally planned to feature two separate set lists, one regular and one dance oriented set list incorporating drum and bass. Bowie had been fascinated with the style of the latter and had partially incorporated in Bowie fashion of the Earthling record, however after a performance of this concept in Utrecht on June 11, 1997, the duel set list theme was abandoned, for the rest of the tour both elements would be incorporated in to one singular performance. Bowie would use a small band for the tour, Reeves Gabrels would be on guitar, Gail Ann Dorsey was on bass and keys, Zach Alford was on drums, long time sideman Mike Garson would do the keyboard chores and Bowie would play guitar and sax.

This new release from Eat A Peach showcases a couple of performances in Atlanta Georgia during the tours stop. The sound quality is an excellent audience source, completely three dimensional sound with a nice wide range of frequencies that sounds incredible when played loud, the recording captures the atmosphere and excitement of the live performance perfectly. If one could find a minor issue with the recording is that from time to time very faint conversations can be heard in quieter parts. The concert features a nice set made up of very old and very young with a few gems thrown in for good measure.

A nice semi acoustic Quicksand opens the show that is quickly followed by the even older version of The Supermen. What is nice about these older songs is the band incorporated a new sound without loosing sight of the original. Perfect example is My Death, it sounds like a version you would hear in some smokey subterranean Jazz club, The Jean Genie has a Delta Blues beginning that is excellent. The new material is very well played, Bowie’s tour a couple years prior with Nine Inch Nails was an undeniable influence, I’m Afraid Of Americans is pure industrial rock at its best. Bowie has a unique ability to have the right musicians for the right projects, Reeves Gabrels has considerable history dating back to the Tin Machine project, his style is aggressive with soaring leads ala Hendrix Look Back In Anger to Stevie Ray Vaughn blues licks during Tibet. Just prior to Seven Years In Tibet, David introduces his band then has a hilarious interaction with some audience members in the front row.

The Man Who Sold The World gets a major make over, like the other older songs from the early 70’s in this show, it is done brilliantly if one did not know, one would assume it was a more recent song. Gail Ann Dorsey deserves special praise for her vocals mimicking Freddie Mercury’s signature singing in Under Pressure, she captures the essence of Freddie yet maintains her own voice. Some songs do not need a face lift, Panic In Detroit is one such song, just hammer it out. Scary Monster is nice to hear, Fame is an excellent funk meets industrial version, a couple of nods to Lou Reed, early in Waiting For The Man and to close out the concert with White Light / White Heat make for an excellent evening of music.

The bonus material is an acoustic performance at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta six months prior, done as part of an FM broadcast, the show features an almost town hall meeting style, some question and answer along with music. The majority of the interviews are sadly edited out but all the music is here. The quality is excellent, the performance meets the same high standard. David speaks of meeting Johnny Cash and they play the most interesting version of Scary Monsters you’ll ever hear, worth the price of the set by itself. David talks about Jimmy Page prior to The Supermen, David tells of how he got the riff to the song from Page. Bowie tells of how they used the riff, named Excalibur, for Dead Man Walking. Jean Genie gets a country fried blues take like the electric version and the performance concludes with Tin Machine’s I Can’t Read.

Packaging is mini LP style sleeve, wonderfully adorned with mostly live shots, the CD sleeves have track listings on them, the CD’s have pictures on them and we get the obligatory inserts with liner notes, as with other Eat A Peach releases, great detail goes into both the visual and aural presentation. I have found this release making its way back into my player on a routine basis, great recording and performance that would appeal to the committed and casual collector alike.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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