For many years, it was common knowledge that David Bowie’s concert in Florida during the back end of 1972 was the debut of “Drive-In Saturday” which would appear the following year as a track and second single release from Aladdin Sane. Most collectors assumed this to be the case because Bowie himself announced the song during the show as the first time he would be playing it live. However, it has since come to light that the song was, in fact, performed on November 4 in Phoenix. I’ve not heard the performance of that concert so I am not sure if Bowie gave the song as epic an intro as he did in Florida but chances are he probably did. He talks candidly about the song for 90 seconds before breaking into the opening chords.
So what of the concert itself?
As far as sound quality goes, it’s a real gem for its time. The taper and his friend can be heard throughout the concert but their general conversation give the recording a small drop of charm. It’s not overbearing but just enough to draw you in which is strange in some respects as I normally get put off by people talking through recordings. I’d love to know where the taper and his friend are these days?
The overall set list is strong for this era of Bowie’s live output. Like most of the American performances, he tends to explain both himself and his songs to audience members throughout the show. Many of these shows were far from sell outs so provided a more sedated crowd which comes over as being nice and personal between the artist and his audience. A lovely touch.
Another bonus of this recording was the inclusion of Ode To Joy in full to kick the show off. On many concert tapes from this tour, Ode To Joy is often cut off at the start. This also leads me to believe that the taper may have been to other shows before hand and appreciates the finer aspects of recording concerts for prosperity. Security was extremely tight on the night as well so I do wonder how the equipment was smuggled in?
Outside the venue on the night, there were instances where concert goers were rigorously searches for drugs before entering. However, the Police, both male and female officers refused to search the transvestites who were going in so many of the punters with drugs gave their stash over to the transvestites and collected them once inside the venue.
Also of note was a sharp object which somehow got into Bowie’s boot and affected his performance throughout the night. Apparently, his foot was quite chopped up at the end of the night. One can only imagine how much pain he must have been through? This might explain the long gap between the end of the show (Suffragette City) and the encore track (Rock’n’Roll Suicide)? There are a couple of cuts through the start of Moonage Daydream yet the rest of the show comes over rather well. All in all, this has been a personal favorite recording of mine for many years and I doubt you will find many better recordings from 1972.
SET LIST: Ode To Joy/Hang Onto Yourself/Ziggy Stardust/Changes/The Supermen/Life On Mars?/Five Year/Space Oddity/Andy Warhol/Drive-In Saturday (intro)/Drive-In Saturday/The Width Of A Circle/John, I’m Only Dancing/Queen Bitch/Moonage Daydream/Waiting For The Man/The Jean Genie/Suffragette City/Rock’n’Roll Suicide