This actually sounds like a competent live album, which means it's the biggest step-up imaginable from that curious debacle Live
, released four years earlier.
At the same time, David Bowie was predominantly a studio musician who pretty much planned his concerts down to the last note, so he doesn't jam out or anything. So there's nothing more to get from here that you couldn't get better from his meticulously-produced studio albums, but pretty much everyone realizes that, so if you're a big David Bowie fan, and you want to hear stripped-down (and perhaps even more accessible) versions of his work, then you'd be pretty well-advised to take a look at Stage
It made sense to start the album with the instrumental “Warszawa”, because it was pretty much stripped-down to begin with, and it gave Bowie the opportunity to make a huge dramatic entrance. I don't get nearly the same feeling of desperate isolation from this version (mostly because I hear an audience cheering), but at least it's well-written and has a memorable theme.
After that, Bowie launches into his song of the hour “Heroes”. Right away, it's evident he wasn't even trying to give it the same sort of drama and passion as he did in the studio. Sure, he gives a nice vocal performance, but it comes off as lightweight and casual. The instrumentation is very stripped down, almost seeming trashy at times. On the other hand, it's great that Bowie didn't take himself too seriously, especially as many other artists at the time came off as pretentious in a live setting (*cou- BillyJoel -gh*), but Bowie seems only to want to give his audience music they can dance to. And as this was smack dab in the middle of the disco era, he was pandering well!
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews