The third file on the Sound+Vision Tour of 1990 this week looks at another beautiful FM broadcast from South America. To be more precise, Santiago in Chile. Yet again, we experience a happy and jovial Bowie as he peddles through his back catalogue of hits (perhaps knowing deep within, he was a step closer to never playing them again) with broad gusto. Historically speaking, this was Bowie’s second last show (107th) of the tour which had consisted of more than 100 shows in 27 countries, his largest tour to date.
He opens with Space Oddity as was the norm for the tour, following, he launches into an apology for being so late on stage and promises the waiting fans a very long show. By his later standards where he would often play well over 30 songs, the 21 offered on this night were a reasonable amount. As with other soundboard and FM shows from this tour, you really do get a gist for just how good the musical arrangement were for particular songs. During this particular recording, “Ashes To Ashes” stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the opening part of the show. It’s followed by an impressive “Stay” but then falls away slightly with “Pretty Pink Rose”, a song that either comes off well or sounds just plain average which it sadly did during most shows of this tour. I do wonder though why Bowie didn’t opt for a few obscure songs to be thrown in with “Panic In Detroit”, “Rock’n’Roll Suicide” and all the major hits. One would love to know which songs he had contemplated adding in but chose to leave out.
As the show moves along, it picks up a few more notches before closing down with no less than 5 songs in the encore. Listening back over this broadcast will definitely make you reconsider the negative feedback the Sound+Vision tour received in the years after its completion. It’s by no means Bowie’s best tour. Not by a long way but it deserves a little more respect than it garnered back in the 1990’s. All you have to do is listen to “China Girl” from this tour to get an understanding of just how good the arrangements were. I’ve spoken about these elements of the tour during previous articles but I just cannot help but go back for more. Even with his voice sounding a touch scratchy, it’s still far better than most other artists on a good day.
For the next couple of Sound+Vision tour shows, I’m going to move into the murky waters of audience recordings from the tour. Namely shows from the first American leg followed by Europe after which, I’ll move onto the beautiful FM recording of Japan from the master tapes which will be a wonderful treat. As mentioned in previous posts, you can always drop me a line and I can point you in the direction of where to download these shows from if you don’t already know. There are a lot of amazing Bowie fans who have managed to haul together some real treasures over the past decade and we should always be grateful for the hard work they constantly put into bringing such amazing shows to the public domain.
SETLIST: Space Oddity/Life On Mars?/Rebel Rebel/Ashes To Ashes/Stay/Pretty Pink Rose/Blue Jean/Let’s Dance/Sound And Vision/Ziggy Stardust/China Girl/Panic In Detroit/Young Americans/Suffragette City/Fame/”Heroes”/Changes/White Light, White Heat/The Jean Genie/Fashion/Modern Love