Stage by David Bowie

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Stage by David Bowie
Stage by David Bowie

Album Released: 1978

Stage ::: Artwork

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1.Hang On To Yourself3:26
2.Ziggy Stardust3:32
3.Five Years3:50
4.Soul Love2:55
5.Star2:31
6.Station To Station8:55
7.Fame4:06
8.TVC 154:37
9.Warszawa6:56
10.Speed Of Life2:46
11.Art Decade3:10
12.Sense Of Doubt3:11
13.Breaking Glass3:28
14.Heroes6:20
15.What In The World4:22
16.Blackout4:02
17.Beauty And The Beast5:08

Reviews

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!

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)


Although slightly better than David Live, Stage is very similar, in that the early material is seemingly rushed, almost as though Bowie is either sick to death of perfoming it, or just plain embarassed by it.

Bowie seems to save his enthusiasm for the later tracks, those from the Low, Heroes, and Station to Station, by putting in a little more effort. I know he wants to promote the (then) newer stuff, but he could've been a bit more subtle and less obvious about it. And it would appear the album was released as an attempt to win back the many fans he'd lost during his 'thin white duke' period. I don't think it worked.

Listening to either David Live or Stage is not an experience, it's an endurance. If you really want live Bowie, go for the far superior Santa Monica Civic '72, for even though its sound quality is inferior, both the material and the performance is warmer and far better than on either of these two forgettable and feeble efforts. Bowie on a bad night again - well, two bad nights actually.

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by Reviewer: Paul Mouse