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New restoration from Nacho! David Bowie – Life On Mars? & Ashes To Ashes (The Tonight Show, September 1980, 40th Anniversary)

September 5th, 2020 | by admin
New restoration from Nacho! David Bowie – Life On Mars? & Ashes To Ashes (The Tonight Show, September 1980, 40th Anniversary)
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Here’s my new clean-up of the classic David Bowie 1980 performance on The Tonight Show.

The show was recorded at NBC Studios in Burbank, Los Angeles on September 3rd 1980. It was broadcast forty years ago on this day, the 5th of September 1980.

Performing with Bowie on the Tonight Show, was a one-off band. Bowie’s regular musical right-hand man, Carlos Alomar was leading the band of young up and coming musicians, who were playing with Bowie for the first, and as it turned out only time.

The Tonight Show performance is unique in other ways. It was Bowie’s only live appearance of 1980, and the only time any Scary Monsters material was performed live, in it’s day. And the Tonight Show was one of only two live appearances he made (the other was SNL, 1979) in the 5 year period between the ISOLAR II 1978 tour, and the Serious Moonlight tour in 1983.

The Tonight Show performance is great! Bowie is in fine voice and the band are full of spirit. I love Bowie and Alomar’s big smiles, as it becomes clear that the performance is a success.

For me, the Tonight Show performance has always been frustratingly good, because it is our only a tantalizing glimpse of what a Scary Monsters tour could have been like.

In my last upload a couple of days ago, for the Good Morning American interview ( I laid out a selective chronology of Bowie’s 1980 / to early 1981. But before the murder of John Lennon in NYC, there had been plans for a Bowie tour in Spring 1981. The cover story of the 20th of September 1980 edition of Musicians Only magazine, proclaimed a “Bowie ‘Monster’ Tour”, that would happen March / April / May 1981.

One of the subjects of the occasional correspondence I enjoy with fellow Bowie-1980 obsessive Bob Wilson, is that of an imaginary ISOLAR III Scary Monsters Tour. Bob has even written a Bowie alternate reality, whereby Marc Chapman does not murder John Lennon. It’s really good and I have his permission to share it, which I will do in the comments of this video.

So let’s imagine…

I don’t think Bowie would have toured with his New Wave boys. I think he would have utilised his beloved D.A.M. Trio rhythm section, and other luminaries from the Scary Monsters sessions. So here’s what might have been:

Carlos Alomar • Rhythm guitar, musical director
George Murray • Bass guitar
Dennis Davis • Drums
Robert Fripp • Lead Guitar
Roy Bittan • Piano
Andy Clark • Keyboards, synths

And a possible set-list; a combo of Bob’s and my own picks:

Crystal Japan (intro tape)
It’s No Game Pt. 1
Up the Hill Backwards
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
Teenage Wildlife
Space Oddity
Ashes to Ashes
Beauty and the Beast
Joe the Lion
Because You’re Young
Boys Keep Swinging
Red Sails
Look Back in Anger

• Intermission

Station to Station
Golden Years
Breaking Glass
What in the World
The Man Who Sold the World
Life On Mars?
Young Americans
The Secret Life of Arabia

• Encore #1

TVC 15
It’s No Game Pt. 2

• Encore #2

Stay or Jean Genie or Rebel Rebel

This is my second attempt at creating an optimised version of the complete Tonight Show performance. The previous one I made was in 2016. I don’t mind admitting that back then there was still much to learn about video editing (still is actually) and that video leaves a lot to be desired. Plus since then I’ve accumulated some slightly better sources for The Tonight Show. Recently I was thinking about the 40th anniversary coming up, and I just couldn’t bear the idea of the previous version being shared. So here’s Take Two, cobbled together from a multitude of sources of variable quality, as you will no doubt notice.

After the performance, there is a bonus minute of Bowie and the band rehearsing Ashes To Ashes in NYC for the Tonight Show. It was originally part of a 1980 Bowie TV special for the US arts program, The 20-20 Show.

Thanks for watching, hope you dig it!


Video and Audio:
• Life On Mars & Ashes To Ashes • Live on The Tonight Show • 3rd of September 1980 • NBC Studios in Burbank, Los Angeles • Broadcast 5th of September 1980 • NBC-TV
• Ashes To Ashes rehearsal • September 1980 • NYC • The 20-20 Show • Broadcast 13th of November 1980 • ABC-TV

Vocals • David Bowie
Guitar & Keyboards • Carlos Alomar
Guitar • G.E. Smith
Bass • John Kumnick
Drums • Steve Goulding
Keyboards • Gordon Grody

Always more videos to follow, so please keep your electric eye on me babe!

I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money out of this etc. Just a fan making videos for other fans.

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#DavidBowie #ScaryMonsters #AshestoAshes #LifeonMars #TonightShow

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