http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/fc44815de727500065cad00b0cafcf2e71b4421c.jpg David Live

David Bowie

David Live

EMI Music Distribution
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
January 18, 1983

Rather than serving as a welcome introduction to or summation of David Bowie's oeuvre, this two-record live album lumps together the several facets of his music into a thin, samey oneness. Any power these 16 originals had ("Knock on Wood" is the 17th cut) can only be guessed at from hearing these cursory versions. The backing is one dimensional, mixed into a flat canvas to highlight Bowie's presence, and despite extended solos the band does not establish an engaging identity. Bowie is centerstage all the way, and the thinness and flaccidity of this outing are in large part due to his often perfunctory, slurred and hurried vocals. Instead of providing for a more intimate performance, the live setting has only brought out Bowie's more unfortunate theatrical mannerisms; any magic these may have worked in person is, on platter, only so much heavy breathing. Bowie also indulges the greater weakness of taking himself too seriously. His rebel anthems aren't strong enough to carry the weight of Social Consciousness he'd sometimes like them to, and when "Changes" is framed like a Watergate prophecy, you figure you're hearing Bowie on the wrong night.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »