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Stage is David Bowie's second live album, recorded on the Isolar II world tour, and released by RCA Records in 1978. First UK pressings were on translucent yellow vinyl and some European pressings were also available on blue vinyl. Though it was rumoured at the time that this would be his final outing with the label, following dissatisfaction over the promotion of Low and "Heroes", Bowie would in fact remain with RCA until 1982.

The recording was culled from concerts in PhiladelphiaProvidence and Boston, USA. It primarily included material from Bowie's most recent studio albums to that date, Station to StationLow and "Heroes" but, in a surprise show of nostalgia, also featured five songs from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Aside from Bowie's core team of Carlos AlomarDennis Davis and George Murray, band members included ex-Frank Zappa sidemanAdrian Belew on guitar, Simon House from Hawkwind on electric violin, Roger Powell, best known for his work with Todd Rundgren in the group Utopia, on keyboards and Sean Mayes on piano, string ensemble and backup vocals. All would reunite the following year on Bowie's next studio LP, Lodger.

Generally considered more relaxed than Bowie's previous live album, David Live (1974), Stage was praised on its initial vinyl release for the fidelity with which the band was able to emulate in concert the electronic and effects-filled numbers from Low and "Heroes", as well as for the singer's vocal performance. However, it was criticised for lacking a 'live' atmosphere, thanks to the recording being largely taken from direct instrument and microphone feeds which increased sound quality but minimised crowd noise. The original concert running order was also changed, with fades between tracks similar to a studio album.

As Bowie rarely tampered with the arrangements – in contrast to his method on David Live – Stage added little to what was available on the original albums, and hence was seen by some commentators as simply a marketing exercise that did not do justice to a memorable series of live concerts. Even the cover picture came in for criticism, more so because the rest of the package contained only variations of the same shot.

Stage reached No. 5 in the UK album charts but only No. 44 in the US. "Breaking Glass", which originally appeared in shorter form on Low, was released as a single.

A 2005 reissue saw most of the criticisms of the original LP addressed, and the new version garnered some favourable reviews.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Track listing

Track listing[edit]Edit

All tracks written by David Bowie except where noted.

Original LP[edit]Edit

Side one[edit]Edit

  1. "Hang on to Yourself" – 3:26
  2. "Ziggy Stardust" – 3:32
  3. "Five Years" – 3:58
  4. "Soul Love" – 2:55
  5. "Star" – 2:31

Side two[edit]Edit

  1. "Station to Station" – 8:55
  2. "Fame" (Bowie, Carlos AlomarJohn Lennon) – 4:06
  3. "TVC 15" – 4:37

Side three[edit]Edit

  1. "Warszawa" (Bowie, Brian Eno) – 6:50
  2. "Speed of Life" – 2:44
  3. "Art Decade" – 3:10
  4. "Sense of Doubt" – 3:13
  5. "Breaking Glass" (Bowie, Dennis DavisGeorge Murray) – 3:28

Side four[edit]Edit

  1. ""Heroes"" (Bowie, Eno) – 6:19
  2. "What in the World" – 4:24
  3. "Blackout" – 4:01
  4. "Beauty and the Beast" – 5:08

Rereleases[edit]Edit

Stage has been rereleased on CD three times to date, the first being in 1984 by RCA Records, then in 1991 by Rykodisc (containing a bonus track) and most recently in 2005 by EMI. The running order of the latter edition reflects the actual performance, removed fades between tracks, and included two more bonus tracks: in addition to "Alabama Song," already added in 1991, the double CD also includes "Be My Wife" and "Stay".

The 1991 edition was awarded three stars out of five in Q: "Performances are faster than the studio originals and suffer for it; what they gain in live jauntiness - not exactly a quality they were crying out for - they lose in power and intensity."[7]

The 2005 EMI release of this album has been copy protected with CDS 200 in the EU.

1984 rerelease notes[edit]Edit

The 1984 rerelease on CD (catalogue number PD89002, Made in Germany - there was no Japanese or North America release of this album) contains the same running order as the original LP, and comes on two discs. (Some of the European-distributed CDs were manufactured in Japan, but cover and assembling were made in Europe. Most of the CDs were made in Germany.)

1991 rerelease bonus track[edit]Edit

  1. "Alabama Song" (Bertolt BrechtKurt Weill) – 4:00 (10th track on CD 2)

2005 rerelease track listing[edit]Edit

Disc one[edit]Edit

  1. "Warszawa" (Bowie, Eno) – 6:50
  2. ""Heroes"" (Bowie, Eno) – 6:19
  3. "What in the World" – 4:24
  4. "Be My Wife" (bonus track) – 2:35
  5. "Blackout" – 4:01
  6. "Sense of Doubt" – 3:13
  7. "Speed of Life" – 2:44
  8. "Breaking Glass" (Bowie, Davis, Murray) – 3:28
  9. "Beauty and the Beast" – 5:08
  10. "Fame" (Bowie, Lennon, Alomar) – 4:06

Disc two[edit]Edit

  1. "Five Years" – 3:58
  2. "Soul Love" – 2:55
  3. "Star" – 2:31
  4. "Hang on to Yourself" – 3:26
  5. "Ziggy Stardust" – 3:32
  6. "Art Decade" (Bowie, Eno) – 3:10
  7. "Alabama Song" (Brecht, Weill) – 4:00
  8. "Station to Station" – 8:55
  9. "Stay" (bonus track) – 7:17
  10. "TVC 15" – 4:37

Personnel[edit]Edit

  • David Bowie – vocals, keyboards
  • Carlos Alomar – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • George Murray – bass, backing vocals
  • Dennis Davis – drums, percussion ("Davis really lets his hair down throughout," marvelled Q,[8] "barrelling around his kit, testing every cymbal in the shop and embellishing favourites such as a snail's-pace 'Ziggy Stardust' and 'Station to Station' with some thrillingly flamboyant but fluid showmanship.")
  • Adrian Belew – lead guitar, backing vocals

Additional personnel[edit]Edit

Charts[edit]Edit

Album

Year Chart Position
1978 UK Albums Chart 5
1978 Billboard Pop Albums 44
1978 Norway 18

Single

Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Breaking Glass" UK Singles Chart 54

Certifications[edit]Edit

Organization Level Date
BPI – UK Gold 1978

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