Bowie before the big crash

A live document from the Ziggy Stardust tour

Live Santa Monica '72

DAVID BOWIE

(Virgin/EMI)

Prolonged cocaine use had yet to cripple David Bowie when he embarked on his first U.S. tour in 1972 in support of Ziggy Stardust. Whereas 1974's David Live catches the performer nearing the big crash, this disc finds Bowie during his white-heat rise to superstardom. Culled from a concert broadcast by a local radio station that's been widely bootlegged for years, Live Santa Monica '72 marks the first official release of the best live Bowie album yet to surface. On it, he sensitively belts out soon-to-be-classics ("Changes," "Jean Genie") with ample assistance from a four-piece backing band featuring guitarist Mick Ronson and pianist Mike Garson.

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