David Bowie has been strangely mute since 2003’s Reality, so the release of one of his best (from 1976), complete with a previously-unreleased two-disc ‘76 Nassau Coliseum concert, is more than welcome. (There’s also a “Deluxe” box with the same material stretched out over five discs.)
Bowie was still in production as the lead in director Nicolas Roeg’s cult sci-fi film The Man Who Fell To Earth when he recorded this in Los Angeles with producer Harry Maslin, guitarists Carlos Alamar and Earl Slick, E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, drummer Dennis Davis, bassist George Murray and vocalist Warren Peace.
Between the cocaine and the creepy sense of dislocation he suffered from (as if he was the alien portrayed in the film), he ushered in The Thin White Duke era of his chameleon-like career: a riveting and enigmatic combo of Euro-trash, extra-terrestrial and Rock Star Supreme. Seen for years as a transition album only because it presaged his three less-accessible late ‘70s electronica projects with Brian Eno, Station To Station bristles with over-the-top jamming (the title track exceeds 10 minutes) on four delicious almost late-Miles-Davis-type electronic funk rock workouts and two dramatic ballads, one of which (“Wild Is The Wind”) is a Nina Simone cover.
The concert portion brings such celebrated fare as “Suffragette City,” “Fame,” “Life On Mars,” “Panic In Detroit,” “Changes,” “Diamond Dogs,” “Rebel Rebel” and “The Jean Genie” thrillingly back to life.
In A Word: Trippy