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Stage is David Bowie's second live album, released by RCA in 1978. 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 Philadelphiamarker, Providencemarker and Bostonmarker, USAmarker. It primarily included material from Bowie's most recent studio albums to that date, Station to Station, Low 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 Alomar, Dennis Davis and George Murray, band members included ex Frank Zappa sideman Adrian Belew on guitar, Simon House from Hawkwind on electric violin, and Roger Powell, best known for his work with Todd Rundgren in the group Utopia, on keyboards. 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 #5 in the UK album charts but only #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.

Track listing

All tracks written by David Bowie except where noted.

Original LP

Side one

  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

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


Side three

  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 Davis, George Murray) – 3:28

Side four

  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

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

1984 rerelease notes

The 1984 rerelease on CD (catalog number PD89002, Made in Germany or Japan) contains the same running order as the original LP, and comes on two discs. The European edition has a blue rainbow spine while the Japanese edition is red. The US edition is both blue and red and the discs themselves have a blue rim. Some of the European CDs were manufactured in Japan, but cover and assembling were made in Europe (blue spine). Most of the CDs were made in Germany.

1991 rerelease bonus track

  1. "Alabama Song" (Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill) – 4:00


2005 rerelease track listing

Disc one

  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" – 3:44
  8. "Breaking Glass" (Bowie, Davis, Murray) – 3:28
  9. "Beauty and the Beast" – 5:08
  10. "Fame" (Bowie, Lennon, Alomar) – 4:06

Disc two

  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

Additional personnel



Charts

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

Organization Level Date
BPI – UK Gold 1978


References

  • Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record
  • David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story
  • Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie



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