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Stage (David Bowie album)

Stage
Stage album cover.jpg
Live album by
Released29 September 1978 (1978-09-29)
Recorded28–29 April, 5–6 May 1978
Venue
Various
GenreRock
Length
    • 73:17 (original LP release)
    • 77:17 (1991 CD version)
    • 85:31 (2005 CD reissue)
    • 94:30 (2017 version)
LabelRCA
Producer
David Bowie chronology
David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf
(1978)
Stage
(1978)
Lodger
(1979)
Singles from Stage
  1. "Breaking Glass" b/w "Art Decade" / "Ziggy Stardust"
    Released: November 1978

Stage is the second live album by English musician David Bowie, recorded on the Isolar II Tour, and released through RCA Records in 1978. First UK pressings were on translucent yellow vinyl and some European pressings were also available on blue vinyl. Since its original release, Stage has been reissued numerous times, each with expanded track listings.

Recording

The recording was culled from concerts in Philadelphia, Providence and Boston, US, in late April and early May 1978. It primarily included material from Bowie's most recent studio albums to that date, Station to Station (1976), Low and "Heroes" (both 1977) but also five songs from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). 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, 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 (1979).

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic
Blender
Christgau's Record GuideB+
Encyclopedia of Popular Music
NME8/10
MusicHound3/5
Pitchfork7.9/10
The Rolling Stone Album Guide
Select4/5
Spin Alternative Record Guide4/10
Uncut

Stage was a commercial success. In the UK, it reached No. 5 and was subsequently certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It also reached No. 44 on the US charts.

"Breaking Glass", which originally appeared in shorter form on Low, was released as a 3-track EP and reached number 54 on the UK singles chart. In the US, "Star" was released as a 3-track EP, but failed to chart. In Japan "Soul Love" was released, with "Blackout" on the B-side, but also failed to chart.

Generally considered more relaxed than Bowie's previous live album, David Live, 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. At the same time, because Bowie had rarely tampered with the arrangements – in contrast to his method on David LiveStage added little to what was available on the original albums, and was seen by some commentators as simply a marketing exercise that did not do justice to a memorable series of live concerts. The album 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. Even the cover picture came in for criticism, more so because the rest of the package contained only variations of the same shot.

In a review of the 1991 rerelease, Mat Snow of Q stated that "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."

A 2005 reissue saw many of the criticisms of the original LP addressed. In his review of the reissue, Chris Roberts of Uncut said that the combination of Low/Heroes-period material and songs from Ziggy Stardust resulted in a live album that was an "eerie clattering between two stools". He said that the improvements in sound carried out by Tony Visconti and the addition of "Stay" and "the brilliant 'Be My Wife'" made the new version of Stage "essential for Dave-freaks, anyway".

The album is included in The Quietus' list of its writers' "40 Favourite Live Albums".

Track listings

Original 1978 LP

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLength
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
Total length:16:22
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Station to Station"8:55
2."Fame" (Bowie, Carlos Alomar, John Lennon)4:06
3."TVC 15"4:37
Total length:17:38
Side three
No.TitleLength
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
Total length:19:25
Side four
No.TitleLength
1."'Heroes'" (Bowie, Eno)6:19
2."What in the World"4:24
3."Blackout"4:01
4."Beauty and the Beast"5:08
Total length:19:52 (73:17)

The cassette release places "Speed of Life" between "Fame" and "TVC 15".

Rereleases

Stage has been rereleased on CD four times to date, the first being in 1984 by RCA Records, then in 1991 by Rykodisc (containing a bonus track), later in 2005 by EMI, and most recently in 2017 by Parlophone (also on vinyl). The running order of the 2005 and 2017 editions reflects the actual performance, removing fades between tracks, and including previously unreleased performances as bonus tracks.

The 1984 rerelease on CD (catalogue number PD89002) contains the same running order as the original LP, and comes on two discs (despite the double-LP release being short enough to fit on a single CD unaltered). 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

In 1991, Stage was rereleased on CD, with the same running order as the original LP, with "Alabama Song" included as a bonus track.

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

Disc one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
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
6."Station to Station" 8:55
7."Fame"Bowie, Alomar, Lennon4:06
8."TVC 15" 4:37
Total length:34:00
Disc two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Warszawa"Bowie, Eno6:50
2."Speed of Life" 2:44
3."Art Decade" 3:10
4."Sense of Doubt" 3:13
5."Breaking Glass"Bowie, Davis, Murray3:28
6."'Heroes'"Bowie, Eno6:19
7."What in the World" 4:24
8."Blackout" 4:01
9."Beauty and the Beast" 5:08
10."Alabama Song" (Bonus Track)Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill4:00
Total length:43:17 (77:17)

2005 rerelease

The 2005 CD reissue features a new running order, reflecting the original setlist of the concerts as performed. Two previously unreleased performances were included on the album as bonus tracks.

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

Disc one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Warszawa"Bowie, Eno6:46
2."'Heroes'"Bowie, Eno6:10
3."What in the World" 4:16
4."Be My Wife" (Previously unreleased) 2:35
5."Blackout" 3:52
6."Sense of Doubt" 3:07
7."Speed of Life" 2:39
8."Breaking Glass"Bowie, Davis, Murray3:22
9."Beauty and the Beast" 5:00
10."Fame"Bowie, Lennon, Alomar4:03
Total length:41:50
Disc two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Five Years" 3:58
2."Soul Love" 2:55
3."Star" 2:25
4."Hang On to Yourself" 3:21
5."Ziggy Stardust" 3:37
6."Art Decade" 3:01
7."Alabama Song"Brecht, Weill3:55
8."Station to Station" 8:40
9."Stay" (Previously unreleased) 7:17
10."TVC 15" 4:32
Total length:43:41 (85:31)

2017 rerelease

In 2017, the album was included, in two versions, in the A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) box set released by Parlophone. One version contained the original mix and the same list and ordering of tracks that had appeared on the original vinyl album; the other was a new version of the album, based on the 2005 edition but including two previously unreleased songs from the concerts. The latter was also released separately, in 2-CD and 3-LP formats, in 2018.

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Warszawa"Bowie, Eno6:53
2."'Heroes'"Bowie, Eno6:19
3."What in the World" 4:25
Total length:17:37
Side two
No.TitleLength
4."Be My Wife"2:49
5."The Jean Genie" (Previously unreleased)6:17
6."Blackout"4:00
7."Sense of Doubt"3:07
Total length:16:13
Side three
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
8."Speed of Life" 2:40
9."Breaking Glass"Bowie, Davis, Murray3:22
10."Beauty and the Beast" 5:06
11."Fame"Bowie, Alomar, Lennon4:13
Total length:15:21
Side four
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
12."Five Years" 3:57
13."Soul Love" 2:56
14."Star"Bowie, Eno2:28
15."Hang On to Yourself" 3:22
16."Ziggy Stardust" 3:30
17."Suffragette City" (Previously unreleased) 3:58
Total length:17:43
Side five
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
18."Art Decade" 3:01
19."Alabama Song"Brecht, Weill3:55
20."Station to Station" 8:43
Total length:15:39
Side six
No.TitleLength
21."Stay"7:21
22."TVC 15"4:36
Total length:11:57 (94:30)
Disc one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Warszawa"Bowie, Eno6:53
2."'Heroes'"Bowie, Eno6:19
3."What in the World" 4:25
4."Be My Wife" 2:49
5."The Jean Genie" (Previously unreleased) 6:17
6."Blackout" 4:00
7."Sense of Doubt" 3:07
8."Speed of Life" 2:40
9."Breaking Glass"Bowie, Davis, Murray3:22
10."Beauty and the Beast" 5:06
11."Fame"Bowie, Alomar, Lennon4:13
Total length:49:11
Disc two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Five Years" 3:57
2."Soul Love" 2:56
3."Star" 2:28
4."Hang On to Yourself" 3:22
5."Ziggy Stardust" 3:30
6."Suffragette City" (Previously unreleased) 3:58
7."Art Decade" 3:01
8."Alabama Song"Brecht, Weill3:55
9."Station to Station" 8:43
10."Stay" 7:21
11."TVC 15" 4:36
Total length:47:51 (94:30)

Personnel

According to author Roger Griffin:

Charts

Weekly chart performance for Stage
Year Chart Peak
Position
1978 Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) 2
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) 18
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 29
UK Albums (OCC) 5
US Billboard Top LPs & Tape 44
2005 French Albums (SNEP) 162
2018 Greek Album Chart[failed verification] 68
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ) 33

Certifications and sales

Sales certifications for Stage
Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ) Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI) Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

This page was last updated at 2022-07-16 23:40 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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