Let’s Go (BOW051404)
John Labatt Centre, London, Ontario, Canada – May 14th, 2004
New Killer Star, Cactus, Sister Midnight, All The Young Dudes, The Loneliest Guy, Under Pressure, Station To Station, Ashes To Ashes, Fame, Quicksand, Modern Love, I’m Afraid Of Americans, “Heroes.” Bonus track: Isn’t It Evening
Let’s Go is a one-off production on the BOW label issued to make available this specific radio broadcast. David Bowie’s May 14th show in London occurs right in the middle of the second North American leg of the A Reality tour and was professionally recorded for Canadian radio. Only about half of the show was aired “Fashion,” “Hang On To Yourself,” “China Girl,” “The Man Who Sold The World,” “Panic In Detroit,” “Hallo Spaceboy,” “Sunday,” “Heathen (The Rays),” “White Light, White Heat,” and the two encores “Suffragette City” and “Ziggy Stardust” were not broadcast. Let’s Go also omits one song that was broadcast, the set opener “Rebel Rebel.” Recorded straight off the radio, the sound quality very clear but contains the expected radio compression of the sound.
The A-Reality tour began with a low-key warm up show on August 19th, 2003 at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, New York and followed three weeks later with the “cinema gig” from Riverside Studio, London and broadcast to movie theaters in Europe and the whole world. The tour originally was scheduled to last ten months but the final two weeks were cancelled for Bowie’s angioplasty surgery. Other notable events include the Oslo show on June 18th where someone threw a lollipop into Bowie’s eye and the cancellation of the May 6th show in Miami when a technician fell to his death before Bowie came onstage.
The set list spanned his entire career and features the return of two songs from Ziggy Stardust, “Suffragette City” and “Ziggy Stardust,” being played for the first time since the Stage tour in 1978. The disc begins with the latest single “New Killer Star” and is followed by “Cactus.” A startling rendition of “Sister Midnight,” a song he wrote for Iggy Pop, is one of the redeeming qualities of this disc. “We should keep that one. We rehearse as we go” Bowie says afterwards. Another song Bowie wrote for another artist “All The Young Dudes” follows with him having difficulty hitting the high notes. “The Loneliest Guy In The World” is among the latter day classics and the version played at Labatt is much better than the version recorded at the cinema gig and released on the tour edition of Reality.
“Ashes To Ashes” is augmented by Gail Ann Dorsey’s and Catherine Russell’s backing vocals and includes the atonal piano bashing coda. “Fine workout from Michael Garson and Sterling Campbell there” Bowie says afterwards. The drum sound on “Fame” sounds very loud and overall this rendition sounds extremely heavy. “Modern Love” makes its first appearance in a tour set list since 1990’s Sound + Vision in an arrangement full of adrenaline. The closing two songs in the broadcast “I’m Afraid Of Americans” and “‘Heros'” are also very strong and it is just a pity that the entire concert weren’t included. Let’s Go contains the bonus track “Isn’t It Evening.” This is taken from guitarist Earl Slick’s first solo album in twelve years called Zig Zag, released in December 2003. This is the lone song on the album on which Bowie provides vocals. Overall this is a competent production with some excellent performances that is worth having.