The Bowie Concert Tape Files: Sound+Vision Tour Interview, May 20 1990

I’ve decided to spend this week looking back over the highlights of the 1990 Sound+Vision Tour and tonight, I’m starting off with one of the interviews from May 20 where Bowie spoke in depth about his back catalogue, playing his hits for the last time and a few more odds and sods about the tour, Tin Machine and records he was getting into at the time. The interview was aired on the Westwood One Radio Network as part of Timothy White’s Rockstar Series.

We begin with Bowie talking about the books he was reading during his early teenage years and how it helped him piece together what one can do with rock’n’roll moving forward. He also opens up about the band he’s taking on tour, the fragmentation of music as it moves out of the 80’s before touching on how he and John Lennon wrote Fame together. You get the sense that this interview is giving Bowie the salesman’s image as he talks up his old songs and why they fit into the tour. Before the tour commencement, it was decided fans could phone in and pick their favourite songs to be played. The first hiccup came when the tour kicked off in Canada before the phone poll had actually ended.

Through the interview, Bowie enthusiastically looks back on his Hunky Dory and Ziggy albums whilst the listening audience are granted a world premiere of “Sweet Head” which came as a bonus track with The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. It does make you wonder why the fantastic bonus tracks from the Rykodisc period have practically been ignored ever since baring a few exceptions.

A huge downfall of this interview is simply that a lot of the topics are kept short and sweet. Whilst discussing the Philadelphia and Berlin periods, we are only given short glimpses when perhaps the listener deserved a little more detail. One wonders how much of the original interview was cut due to time constraints by the radio station as the whole speaking segment which is included in this recording comes in at just over 30 minutes. Admittedly, Bowie did do a lot of press to promote the Sound+Vision Tour so beggars can’t be choosers with countless interviews available.

To do the interview justice, it could have been spread out over three 1 hour blocks to allow more time spent on individual topics. Something I have noticed in Bowie around this period of his life is that he began to look back on his early years with rose tinted glasses which allowed for a more thoughtful and insightful artist to open up and drop the pretences in the moments when he wasn’t selling a tour of back catalogue. The real shame is that we didn’t get more of it.

Also of keen interest is his enthusiasm for the recently completed second Tin Machine LP where Bowie cites “Goodbye Mr Ed” as his most adored track from the sessions. Whilst talking about the plethora of songs recorded during the sessions, you kind of wonder if they had too many to chose from when looking at the final selection? You also find out his thoughts on the latest Sonic Youth album, his passion for The Pixies and other recent album purchases that floated his boat like Dinosaur Junior. He was championing these acts well before everyone else caught on.

If you would like a copy of this interview, drop me a line and we can arrange a copy via drop box. Next up, I’ll be exploring the Milton Keynes show from August 5th 1990 which was recorded for BBC Radio 1 FM before going on the be one of the most prized recordings from the tour. There are other fine FM recordings from the tour that I will also take a closer look at as the week moves forward.

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Born and raised in Sydney. Well travelled. I have a deep love for live theatre, music and the arts. Ohh, I may also have a deep love for Liverpool Football Club!

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