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Beauty and the Beast (Live 1978)
by David Bowie
The latest NachoVideo Bowie video.

The full original notes from him/her

David Bowie • Beauty and the Beast from “Welcome to the Blackout” • Recorded June 30th, 1978 • Produced by David Bowie • Mixed by David Bowie and David Richards, January 17th - 22nd, 1979 • Original recording made by Tony Visconti

Concert footage • December 12th, 1978 • NHK Hall, Tokyo • Final night of the Isolar II 1978 tour
Interview • December 1st, 1978 • News Conference • Christchurch, New Zealand

David Bowie • Vocals
Dennis Davis • Drums
Carlos Alomar • Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
George Murray • Bass
Adrian Belew • Lead guitar
Simon House • Violin
Sean Mayes • Piano, string ensemble, backing vocals
Roger Powell • Synthesizer, keyboards, backing vocals

David Bowie’s Isolar II 1978 World Tour, also known as The Low / “Heroes” World Tour or The Stage Tour, opened on the 29th of March, 1978 at the San Diego Sports Arena. The tour continued through North America, Europe and Australia and New Zealand before reaching a conclusion at the NHK Hall in Tokyo, on the 12th of December, 1978. Eighty dates were played, with a total attendance of almost 1.2 million people.

Beauty and the Beast

The show was roughly divided in half, with an intermission in the middle. It was mostly new material in the first half, and mostly older material in the second half. The first half of the show would invariably end with either Fame, or with Beauty and the Beast. The latter was the angular, abrasive opening track of the “Heroes” album. It was the follow-up single to “Heroes”, but had failed to make the charts, probably due to what NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray described as it’s "jarring, threatening edge”. The menacing mood of Beauty and the Beast was entirely appropriate for the lyrical content, which was in all likelihood about Bowie’s schizophrenia and severe mood swings, during his cocaine-addicted L.A. days.

My my…

In my fantasy retooling of the “Heroes” era, not only are the tracks on the album reordered, but in addition the follow-up single to the title track would be Secret Life of Arabia b/w Beauty and the Beast. The 12” release would contain an extended disco edit of Secret Life of Arabia. I’d also have Bowie and Stanley Dorfman, who was directing the Bowie videos at the time, shipped off to Wadi Rum in Jordan to shoot a Lawrence of Arabia-themed promo video, with Bowie camping it up as Lawrence, resplendent in his white Arabian Prince finery.

Smile at least…

The live version of Beauty and the Beast jacked up the funk element considerably, and on the evidence of this dynamite performance, it’s easy to why it was chosen to end the set.

Bowie, The D.A.M. Trio (Davis/Alomar/Murray), Belew and the whole team absolutely excel on this blazing version of Beauty and the Beast. To these ears it’s not only the best version of it that I’ve heard from the tour, it’s also one of the best performances of any song from those shows.

As Bowie continually said in the interviews from the era, he had no characters to play on that tour. The emphasis was on the spectacular music. And the visual element was the light show, and to some extent Bowie's curious tour wardrobe.

You can’t say no…

After the ‘78 tour, Bowie never played Beauty and the Beast again. It’s a pity in some ways, as it’s just such a great song. But then again, perhaps that beautiful monster groove was best left exclusively in the hands of the Berlin Bowie and his mighty D.A.M. Trio, who sadly would never reunite for another tour.


I’ve chosen to produce this video now, to help promote the latest The HD Projects video:

Tracing My Dad • Vol. 10 • Tony Visconti discusses Dennis Davis and David Bowie • Part 3 [ 77/78 ]

The video is part of an interview series with producer Tony Visconti. This volume focuses on the “Heroes” and ’78 tour era, and it features an excerpt of this Beauty and the Beast • Live 1978 video.

If you haven’t checked out young Hikaru Davis and his The HD Projects, please take a look.
Posted: 18th May 2019
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