David Bowie – Worldwide Moonlight (Godfather Records GR 784/785)

Worldwide Moonlight (Godfather Records GR 784/785)

Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA – August 11th, 1983

Disc 1 (58:22):  Intro, Star, “Heroes”, What In The World?, Golden Years, Fashion, Let’s Dance, Red Sails, Breaking Glass, Life On Mars?, Sorrow, Cat People (Putting Out Fire), China Girl, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), Rebel Rebel, White Light/White Heat

Disc 2 (59:06):  Station To Station, Cracked Actor, Ashes To Ashes, Space Oddity, Band Intro, Young Americans, Fame, TVC15, Stay, The Jean Genie, Audience, Modern Love.  Bonus track:  I Can’t Explain (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI – July 30th, 1983)

Although David Bowie attained a high level of superstardom and artistic influence in the seventies, he was never a “mainstream” rock act.  That changed after the release of Let’s Dance in April 1983.  Bowie was successful in polishing his brand of avant garde creep for a mass audience.  Not only did the album reach number one in the US, UK, and many other countries, the songs, videos and style all seeped into the pop culture lexicon of the early eighties.  

Serious Moonlight played in Tacoma, Washington, a month into the tour.  Bowie was the first major act to play in the newly opened Tacoma Dome (the first artist to play there were The Tubes, who opened for Bowie that night).  Worldwide Moonlight is the first silver pressing of this excellent sounding audience recording.

The recorder was close to the stage and was able to keep audience intrusion to a minimum.  The microphone starts to have issues “TVC15” affecting the sound quality to the end of the tape. 

Bowie, who took five years off after the Stage tour in 1978, returned to a much different time with a different mindset.  Instead of the Thin White Duke and visions of the Weimar Republic, Bowie flirts with the fluorescence and the eighties and its flirtation with a modified jazz-age agenda of joie de vivre.  This change is reflected in the different tours opening numbers.

Instead of the somber “Warszawa” an upbeat jazz tune opens the show leading into “Star,” the most buoyant tune from Ziggy.  “What In The World” is played in its live arrangement, lengthened from the two minute and twenty-three second studio cut to twice the length by playing the song first at a slower dance tempo and then repeating it at the same tempo as the studio cut. The former features a nasty Adrian Belew solo, the first of many standout performances.

“Try not to push too much in the front.  We don’t want anybody hurt” he says after the initial onslaught.  “Let’s Dance” is the first new song and is strangely muted compared to the older songs.  Bowie’s vocals lack commitment and sound rote and mechanical.  The saxophone and Earl Slick’s guitar take turns with the solo, trying to compensate for Stevie Ray Vaughan’s scorching solo on the studio recording.  

“China Girl” is another new song and fares much better than “Let’s Dance.”  Bowie is much more into the song’s narrative.  His old cover of the Velvet Underground’s “White Light / White Heat” is given a new sleazy nightclub vibe via the horn section.  

“Station To Station” is played in full exactly as it was on previous tours.  The Major Tom saga is played in reverse. “Ashes To Ashes” follows “Cracked Actor” as is followed by “Space Oddity.”  Bowie made the decision to replace the Mellotrons with the horn section to interesting effect.  

After the long band introduction he introduces “Young Americans” as “a folk tune from the middle seventies.”  A nice version of “TVC15” suffers from the microphone malfunctioning but is still an effective way to end the show.  The encores are comprised of three songs:  “Stay,” “The Dream Jeanie” and the latest single “Modern Love.” 

Worldwide Moonlight is packaged in a tri-fold gatefold sleeve with extensive liner notes by the ever-fascinating Ian Iachimoe and various photographs taken from the correct time period.  Godfather have been producing really good Bowie titles all year and this is another one worth having.  

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