The Bowie Concert Tape Files: Palaise des Sports, Lyon, France – May 24 1983

It would have been deflating following David Bowie on tour in 1983.  Almost every night captured the same selection of songs as the previous and the next.  You knew what you were getting because he was cashing in with a rather stifled serious of shows around the world to showcase his skills as a songwriter.  For a great many artists, this would have been the case however, if you are David Bowie, then there is something special about everything he does, even when touring.  It’s why the Serious Moonlight Tour of 1983 was so extraordinary.  This show in Lyon was the sixth of the tour and the first of two nights in the French town.  Listening back to this concert recording today reminded me once more why the raw sound of a concert bootleg is often more enjoyable than the overproduced official live albums that record companies tend to release.

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There is just so much zip in this concert.  Bowie says very little throughout and just gets on with things utilizing a dangerous cocktail of energy, passion and sheer ability to entertain.  If there is one thing that I have discovered over the past twelve months of revisiting these recordings, it is that I’m forever grateful I started collecting bootlegs of my favorite musicians some twenty years ago.  Naturally, some shows are far more enjoyable to listen to than other but that is the charm of collecting bootlegs.  You never know what you are going to get.  This particular show came to light in 2013 when a small band of fans decided it was time to share hundreds of previously unreleased material that, more often than not, had been left in lofts and cupboards of serious collectors around the world.  And may I say, it has been a beautiful pleasure to hear many of these recordings for the very first time since 2012 when many of them began to surface.

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The classic Fuji FX-1.  A crisp tape to record concerts on.

Lyon is around 500 km’s south of Paris and well, there isn’t really much about the place to write home about.  I saw Bowie there myself in November 2003, some twenty years after this Serious Moonlight show was captured on a Fuji FX-1 cassette tape.  It was released as part of the Hunky Geordie collection in March 2013.  Actually, I have a cracking story about a French cab driver, well two of the fuckers to be exact which led me to missing my flight and ended up costing me some 400 Euro’s on a train to London that same afternoon.  But that’s for another blog.

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I can’t really single out any particular song from this show as a leading light.  Well, The Jean Genie is sublime and driven so beautifully by Earl Slick’s guitar solo yet all the other songs from the concert are bursting at the seams.  It’s a show well worth getting your hands on.  The only mistake throughout the entire show is a false start to Modern Love during the encore.  Otherwise, it stands alone as one of the more perfect live recordings from a massive tour that covered all corners of the globe in 1983.

SETLIST:

Announcement/The Jean Genie Intro/Star/”Heroes”/What In The World/Golden Years/Fashion/Let’s Dance/Breaking Glass/Life On Mars?/Sorrow/Cat People/China Girl/Scary Monseters/Rebel Rebel/White Light, White Heat/Station To Station/Cracked Actor/Ashes To Ashes/Space Oddity/Band Introductions/Young Americans/Hang Onto Yourself/Fame/TVC 15/The Jean Genie/Modern Love

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