Bowie, David : Stage
Reissue Of The Week – The Thin White Duke at his live peak
Who today would have the balls to make an album like ‘Stage’? Who would be as willing to reimagine some of their biggest hits in the way Bowie does? Massive, crowd pleasers like ‘Fame’, ‘Five Years’ and ‘Stay’ are either pitched down so hard you can hear the bones of the song creaking, or seen anew through the prism of a burgeoning avant-garde bent. At no point does Bowie simply kneel before the audience’s open fly with his songbook-sized mouth open and make it easy for them. So ‘Star’ is followed by ‘Hang On To Yourself’, which is followed by ‘Ziggy Stardust’ – featuring, naturally, a string ensemble where Mick Ronson’s brutalist guitar used to be – well, you know how much those ’70s US rock crowds loved a cello! Just as the audience is about to reach giddy satisfaction, Bowie hits them with the double whammy of ‘Art Decade’, an instrumental more suited to promoting good working conditions in a Korean lift factory and an unlistenably atonal ‘Alabama Song’. Brilliant. Modern pop types, that noise you can hear is a 27-year-old gauntlet hitting the floor.
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