This is a special bootleg among Bowie collectors. Commonly known as Jukebox Jive Recorded Live, it captures a magnificent audience recording from the Berlin show from the SOUND+VISION tour. Now, as far as audience recordings go, this is indeed one of the best going. The tour itself is fascinating because it was during this period that Bowie retired many of his hits to allow him the breathing space to move on with his career. Of course, in years to come, he would go back on his word by re-introducing many of these songs though he would always mix them up with more recent material, particularly during the Heathen and A Reality tours that took place in the twilight of his live tours.
This bootleg originally surface during the summer of 1990 on the Swingin’ Pig label which was by that point, the be all and end all of bootlegs. More often than not, the bootleggers would have their bootlegs printed with “made in France” or “made in Japan” comments to keep the authorities off the pace. Essentially, many of the vinyl boots were pressed in the United States but those few simple and misleading words would have the authorities sending people off to all corners of the globe to capture the protagonists, often with no luck. Swingin’ Pig bootlegs were pressed in Luxembourg. They released around 140 vinyl bootlegs before moving into the CD market as the 1990’s dawned.
In recent years, I have garnered a second wind for the SOUND+VISION shows. When I first got into Bowie in 1992, they were the shows I enjoyed most. Perhaps it was because they were so recent at the time being his last tour outside of Tin Machine playing live in 1991 and 1992? Either way, I loved the handful of bootlegs I managed to get my dirty mitts on. Then, by some form strange occurrence, I lost my appetite for this tour sometime around the late 90’s and into the early 20’s. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I regained my passion for the 1990 tour and began listening in earnest to many of the new recordings I had acquired. The tour itself began on March 4 in Quebec and wound up on September 29 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There were a total of 108 concerts covering north America, Europe, back to north America, Asia, north America once more, Europe again and south America. It’s worthy to note the Asian shows included just two performances in Tokyo on May 15 and 16 and no Australian or New Zealand shows. It was the first time those two countries had been left of the touring schedule since 1976.
The highlights from this show for me were Queen Bitch, Station To Station and Stay. All three songs are up there for me as songs that always sounded fantastic when he pulled them out for a live airing. Listening to Blue Jean sounds a bit hollow due to the small band that Bowie took out on the road. There were sections of this tour where guitarist, Adrian Belew just didn’t fit in with the swing of things. But hey, maybe that’s just my opinion? Overall, it’s a fantastic audience recording that captures what the tour was all about. It’s only sad that we never got to hear The Laughing Gnome played live as the NME in England had petitioned its readers to “Just say Gnome” when it came time for fans to phone in their most treasured Bowie hits to be played live. Part of me thinks that perhaps Bowie already had the set list planned out before the phone in polls concluded. But hey, any Bowie concert is normally a decent night out regardless of the set list right?
Ode To Joy/Space Oddity/Changes/TVC 15/Rebel Rebel/Be My Wife/Ashes To Ashes/Queen Bitch/Fashion/Life On Mars?/Blue Jean/Let’s Dance/Stay/China Girl/Sound & Vision/Ziggy Stardust/Station To Station/Young Americans/Suffragette City/Fame/”Heroes”/Pretty Pink Rose/The Jean Genie/Rock’n’Roll Suicide