The Return Of The Thin White Duke (Vintage Masters Premium VM002)
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – March 23rd, 1976
(51:25): Station To Station, Suffragette City, Fame, Word On A Wing, band introduction, Changes, TVC15, Diamond Dogs, Rebel Rebel, The Jean Genie
David Bowie’s gig at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island at the end of the Station To Station tour on March 23rd, 1976 was recorded by his record label RCA and about an hour was given to The King Biscuit Flower Hour. This recording was a perennial throughout the vinyl era since soon after the radio broadcast seeing multiple releases.
A Tasteful Display (IMP 1114A/B) on Idle Mind was the first vinyl release in 1976 and was excellent quality but had “Word On A Wing” out of order. Resurrection On 84th Street (TAKRL 2995 A/D) on The Amazing Kornyfone Record Label followed soon afterwards with the correct running order.
Idle Mind followed this soon after with The Thin White Duke (IMP 1114 A/D) but with the correct running order and issued the tape again 1978 on The Thin White Duke (IMP 1114A/D) under the Slipped Disc label. Resurrection On 84th Street on Saturated Recordworks (TAKRL 2995 A/D – 2S 702A/D) was produced in 1979 with the “helmet” cover.
“Word On A Wing” was included on Golden Years Of Bow on Golden Records (BD 9791) released in 1980. In 1983 there were two releases, Thin White Duke on Duke Plates 1001 (TWD 1001 A/D) with the famous “legs” cover and Live At Nassau Coliseum, N.Y. 1976 Part 1 & 2 (SS 18A/D).
The following year two more vinyl titles were manufactured, The Thin White Duke (TWD 1004-A) issued on Bebop and the final one, Resurrection on Calico/Circuit Records (AST 6024). The first compact disc release of this tape were copies from vinyl and began in 1989 with the release of Live At The Nassau Coliseum New York (SR007 CD) released on Stoned Records in 1989 on two discs and with “Word On A Wing” misplaced.
The same label issued the same tape with the same matrix number in the same year but on the one disc title Resurrection On 84th Street. Imtrat released Live USA (IMT 900.028) in 1991 and has “Word On A Wing” again missing and with faked guitar solos in “Fame” and “Diamond Dogs”.
This was truly one of the worst productions from this shameless label. Also in 1991 the Great Dane label released Suffragette City (GDR 9023), a copy of The Thin White Duke vinyl on Idle Mind and is the first cd release with the songs in the correct running order and is generally in excellent quality. Live In New York City (CD12009) was released by On Stage in 1992 with the songs in random order and “Word On A Wing” missing. Also that year “Diamond Dogs” appeared on a compilation called Thin White Duke (P 910028) with various other material. Audifon released The Thin White Duke (TWD 1) in 1996 in great quality.
Legendarios Del S.XX (SGAE 70.126-127) on Disqueria was released in 2002 containing “TVC15”, “Fame”, “Changes”, “Station To Station”, “Suffragette City”, “Stay”, “Panic In Detroit”, and “Diamond Dogs” and was reissued the following year as Seleccion 5 Estrellas. The most recent release with material from this show came in 2005 with “The Freakiest Show” by the faux-“Zion” label. This contains no songs from the actual broadcast, but does have Bowie’s cover of “Waiting For The Man” which was omitted due to a tape flaw. On official releases, two songs, “Word On A Wing” and “Stay”, were included on the 1991 reissue of Station To Station on EMI. The Return Of The Thin White Duke on Vintage Masters Premium Series is another release from the Wolfgang Vault website. The sound quality on this release is amazingly clear and powerful, sounding better than many official release.
The correct running order of the broadcast is “Station To Station”, “Suffragette City”, “Fame”, “Word On A Wing”, “Stay”, “Panic In Detroit”, “Changes”, “TVC15”, “Diamond Dogs”, “Rebel Rebel”, and “The Jean Genie”. Vintage Masters is missing two songs, “Stay” and “Panic In Detroit” making this tape approximately twenty minutes shorter than other versions and the only negative to discuss about this release. Regardless of the flaws this is an excellent sounding tape of a hot show aided by what some have called Bowie’s greatest touring band including Stacy Heydon and Carlos Alomar on guitars and joined by Tony Kaye bringing his Hammond organ to the party.
His contribution is especially noticeable at the beginning of “Station To Station”. The version on this tape of “Word On A Wing” is spectacular and is obvious why it was released officially. Bowie’s vocals on this flirtation with orthodox Christianity makes the hair stand on the back of the neck. “Changes” begins with a burst of laughter and “TVC 15” is introduced as “a love story between a girl and her television set.” This release could have been definitive if the two missing tracks were edited from another source, but as it is this is a fabulous release by this new label.