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Monday, 29 April 2013

Live in Bremen ’78 – David Bowie (1980)

With 2013 being the year of Bowie I thought I’d unearth this fantastic bootleg from 1980. This is a recording of a German TV special made on a show called Musikladen Extra. In terms of Bowie bootlegs it’s one of the best out there due to both the quality of the recording and the excellent musicianship by Bowie and his band. The version of “Heroes” is the best live rendition I’ve ever heard and if you don’t believe me check it out here. It’s full of power and verve, capturing the melodramatic essence of the song totally.

The rear cover lists the opening track as Intro but it is actually the bleak beauty of Sense of Doubt. TVC 15 is listed as Transmission/TVL – 15, which does make you wonder about the familiarity of the bootleggers with Bowie’s music. They also subtitle the album on the rear cover as The Man Who Sold the World TV – Special, which is just bollocks. No doubt they just saw Bowie as a bankable name that could get them some black market dollars. Still I don’t care – I totally love vinyl bootlegs, even the ones with dodgy sound quality.

At least they got the names of one of Bowie's greatest ever bands right

I bought Live in Bremen in Sydney in 1987 when I was there checking out the much maligned Glass Spider Tour. It was my second Bowie live experience after my sister took 13 year old me to see Bowie in Perth in 1983. That was when my Bowie fandom really began. Little did I know that four years later I’d meet him the very next day after buying this bootleg, but that’s another story.

In 1989 I stupidly left this record on the train whilst on the way to work. I was intending to tape it for a friend after work at my parent’s house. It was one of those terrible moments of realization as I watched he train pull away from the station. Unbelievably I was reunited with the record three days later at the lost property office at the Perth train station. I can’t imagine who might have found the record, but obviously he or she wasn’t a Bowie fan, otherwise they surely would have kept it for themselves (as much as I’d hate to admit it, I would have).

Chamaleon records were minimalists

Every few years I play this bootleg and connect with both the superb music and the memory of the relief of getting it back after the train took it away from me. There are other copies out there of course; including copies pressed onto marbled brown and clear vinyl, but mine is plain old black. The TV show has a date of 30/05/1978 and the record was released on the ‘world renowned’ Chamaleon (sic) Records – thanks guys.

The broadcast itself is available on Youtube and is totally brilliant. If you are a Bowie fan then check I out, if not then at least watch “Heroes” and then for a lesson on the correct procedure for melodramatic crooning watch the sublime Alabama Song

Bowie having a rest after singing Alabama song

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