David Bowie – Cracked Actor (Live, Universal Amphitheatre, 5th September 1974)

September 11th, 2022 | by Nick

A Nacho video.

David Bowie | Cracked Actor | Live at the Universal Amphitheatre | 5 September 1974

Remake of a video I originally created a few years ago, of Bowie performing live on the second leg of the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour. The source of the footage is the superb Universal Amphitheatre performance, from “Cracked Actor”, Alan Yentob’s 1975 BBC documentary. The footage is cut to the 2017 “Cracked Actor” album version of live recordings from that show.

Cracked Actor was originally a song from David Bowie’s 1973 album, Aladdin Sane. When it was subsequently performed on the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour, like most of the older material, Cracked Actor was rearranged to suit Bowie’s new direction. Some of the rearrangements fared better than others, in my opinion. In the case of Cracked Actor, I love what they did with it, especially when the performance aspect is seen.

“For the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour Bowie removed “Cracked Actor” from its back-room origins and staged it entirely within an actor’s fevered mind: he wore a cape and sunglasses and sang to a skull in his hand, a la Hamlet, then French-kissed the skull… A curse on Los Angeles, “Cracked Actor” would rebound on Bowie: it became the title of a 1974 documentary chronicling Bowie living in LA at his lowest state, reduced to a jittery husk of a human being.” – Chris O’Leary, from his superb blog, Pushing Ahead of the Dame https://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/?s=Cracked+actor

Since making the original version of this video, back in 2016, better sources and technologies have emerged. For this upgrade I utilized the superb 2017 “Cracked Actor” album, mixed by Tony Visconti. Whereas my original video was soundtracked from a bootleg, which was all that was available at the time. I did feel compelled to add one element to Visconti’s mix – the very pleasing crack of the clapperboard just before Bowie starts singing is absent from the 2017 mix, so I edited it back in from the bootleg source.

As I originally wrote in 2016:

The concert material contained in the 1975 Alan Yentob BBC documentary, Cracked Actor, is really well filmed, as one would expect from the BBC. Unfortunately, however the film contains no complete song.

Therefore some imagination and technology is required. Here, I am more or less re-treading what others have tried before, but perhaps not at this quality.

I do hope, the powers that be at the BBC will look kindly on this video, and my humble efforts with their fine material, and allow this video to remain published here on my YouTube channel.

Hope they, and you dig it!


Video Source:
Universal Amphitheatre | 5th of September 1974 | Cracked Actor | 1975 BBC documentary | Produced & Directed by Alan Yentob

Music Source:
David Bowie | All the Young Dudes [excerpt] | Cracked Actor | Live at the Universal Amphitheatre | 5th September 1974 | From the album Cracked Actor | Produced by David Bowie | Mixed by Tony Visconti | Released 2017


David Bowie | Vocals
Michael Kamen | Electric piano, Moog synthesizer, oboe, music director
Earl Slick | Lead Guitar
Carlos Alomar | Rhythm Guitar
Mike Garson | Piano, Keyboards
David Sanborn | Alto Sax, Flute
Richard Grando | Baritone Sax, Flute
Doug Rauch | Bass
Greg Errico | Drums
Pablo Rosario | Percussion
Gui Andrisano | Backing Vocals
Warren Peace | Backing Vocals
Ava Cherry | Backing Vocals
Robin Clark | Backing Vocals
Anthony Hinton | Backing Vocals
Diane Sumler | Backing Vocals
Luther Vandross | Backing Vocals

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.


I edit, therefore I am

#DavidBowie #CrackedActor #AladdinSane #DiamondDogs

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