The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus*
- A truly KILLER pressing with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on ALL FOUR SIDES!
- To say that it's difficult to find top quality sound and audiophile playing surfaces on this album is quite the understatement - this is the best pressing we heard, but it has the kinds of problems even well-cared for copies often do
- Incredibly big, bold and dynamic with huge amounts of energy, this copy will be all but impossible to beat
- 1984, Rebel Rebel, Sweet Thing and Rock & Roll With Me come alive in performance
- A-List players of the day deliver sonic treats, including multiple horn players, multiple percussionists, all-male chorus background vocals, the searing fuzzed-out guitar leads of Earl Slick, piano and Mellotron by Mike Garson, and the amazing Herbie Flowers on bass
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- On side one, a mark makes 8 moderate to light pops at the beginning of Track 1, 1984.
- On side three, a mark makes about 20 light to very light ticks on the last three quarters of Track 1, Rock & Roll With Me.
- On side four, a light mark makes 15 light to very light ticks at the beginning of Track 3, Jean Genie.
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing David Bowie music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
When you listen to an incredible copy of this Bowie classic, you will have no trouble picturing yourself in the audience with a front row center seat. And the great thing about a record like this is that you can be in the front row of this very concert whenever you want!
The other top live album is, of course, Waiting For Columbus, and the two have much in common. Most importantly, the songs played live on both albums are consistently better than their studio versions. (This is especially true on the Little Feat album. Little Feat was not a studio band and their live arrangements -- with the Tower of Power horns -- just murder the studio ones.)
For us audiophiles, the other reason to own a Hot Copy of David Live or Waiting For Columbus is that the sound is much improved over most of the studio albums in which the material was originally found. Have you ever heard a good sounding Diamond Dogs?
But David Live is full of great sounding material from the album. 1984 is much better here than on the original album. Rebel Rebel, Sweet Thing and Rock & Roll With Me also come alive in performance. They rock!
What the best sides of Bowie's Best Live Album have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1974
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
The best copies have Live Rock and Roll Energy like you will not believe. The band is ON FIRE. These are the A-List players of the day and they gel like a band that's been together for years. The sonic treats include multiple horn players (David Sanborn KILLS on almost every track, and the baritone sax and oboe are rendered beautifully) and multiple percussionists, all-male chorus background vocals, the searing fuzzed-out guitar leads of Earl Slick, piano and Mellotron by Mike Garson, the amazing Herbie Flowers on bass -- the list goes on. Why the critics don't give this album the respect it so obviously deserves is completely beyond me.
What We're Listening For on David Live
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy
- Rebel Rebel
- Moonage Daydream
- Sweet Thing
- We learned from our shootout that if the first chorus of Changes sounds gritty and grainy, the rest of the song is simply not going to work, and probably the whole side will be a mess. On the copies that are cut super-clean, the chorus sounds smooth and natural. Few copies are going to give you that sound.
- Suffragette City
- Aladdin Sane
- All the Young Dudes
- Cracked Actor
- Rock & Roll With Me
- Watch That Man
- Knock On Wood
- Diamond Dogs
- Big Brother
- Width of a Circle
- Jean Genie
- Rock & Roll Suicide
The supporting tour for Diamond Dogs was supposed to be a theatrical extravaganza, yet as he headed out on the road, David Bowie became infatuated with Philly soul and changed his entire approach to reflect his new interest, as well as his backing band in the process.
As a result, the double-album David Live captures Bowie in transition, as he moves from glam rock to plastic soul. The set list draws heavily from Ziggy Stardust-era songs, yet there are a few surprises, like a stilted cover of "Knock On Wood" and an inspired version of "All the Young Dudes," a song Bowie gave Mott the Hoople. ... David Live is primarily of interest as a historical document, yet there's enough good material to make it worthwhile for fanatics.