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David Bowie – Warszawa (1978)

January 7th, 2017 | by nick

A Nacho remaster.

Warszawa was originally a track from David Bowie’s album, “Low”, released in 1977, the first of the so-called “Berlin Trilogy”.

The audio of this live version from the ’78 tour, is from the 2005 remaster of David Bowie’s 1978 album, “Stage”.

Also included is a couple of short sections of Art Decade, also from the 2005 Stage remaster.

“Stage” was recorded live at the Philadelphia, Boston and Providence shows, in Spring ’78.

The video footage used here, is mostly from the final night of the 1978 tour, in Tokyo on the 12th of December.

This is not the original version of Warszawa, from “Low’, so we need not go on about the brilliance of the track. And anyway, as is usually the case, Chris O’Leary has written the last word on it, on his excellent blog, Pushing Ahead of the Dame:

https://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/warszawa/

But at least I should state that Warszawa was the show opener on the ’78 tour. Bowie chose to commence the show and divide it up with three of his Low / Heroes ambient tracks, interspersing the rockier numbers. Obviously opening with Warszawa was about as far away from a standard 70’s rock show opener as it was possible to get. Then as the set began to heat up, after tearing the roof of with the stomping and abrasive Blackout, he brought things back down again with the funereal Sense of Doubt. Later in the set, after the crowd pleasing Ziggy section, he again slowed the pace right down with the gorgeous Art Decade. One wonders what some of the audience thought about this unusual pacing. Someone who did attend, commented on my Sense of Doubt video that during the opening Warsaw, you could have heard a pin drop.

Anyway, here the band make a miraculous recreation of Eno’s multi-layered synth masterpiece. Bowie wisely doesn’t attempt a rendition of the latter parts of the original vocal, passing over that duty to violinist Simon House to make his interpretation instead.
Thankfully this section of the Tokyo footage was mostly very well shot and edited. Tho’ it’s a pity they missed the beginning of Bowie’s singing. I tried various ways to recreate that moment, but I could not come up with anything that looked authentic enough to me.

Apologies to Simon House, who played his violin solo in a very different ways on the Stage audio and the Tokyo footage – I did the best I could, but creating a perfect match was simply not possible.
There are a few other continuity issues on this video, due to unresolvable differences between the two sources, but I wont mention them here, for fear of spoiling your viewing and listening pleasure, dear fellow Bowie fan!

Including a bit of Art Decade is for a few reasons. Firstly, it is to make use of the only bit of verified footage that I am aware of, of Art Decade being performed on the tour. It would be good to make a video of the entire track, but there is simply no footage, other than this tiny fragment. And I thought, Well, Art Decade is the next track on Low, after Warsaw.

Another reason was just to find any excuse to use the extraordinarily beautiful zoom of Bowie from the short “Reporting Scotland” interview from ’78. I slowed it right down to make the most of it, and a beautiful little soundtrack was needed.

But mostly, the main reason is that even though the work of the synching and editing was mostly finished last week, I could not decide on the right beginning or ending. I vacillated between many variations. For the ending, I thought I had settled on using part of the Janet Street Porter interview from ’78. It’s just before he goes on stage, and she asks him, “When you go onstage, you start with a very slow number, what impression are you trying to make on people?” And he answers, ‘I’ve been eating Stilton, do I smell like it?” It’s hilarious and a perfect intro in a certain way. But then considering how deep Warsaw is, and the mood of this weekend, it just doesn’t feel right. So I scrapped it, and the Art Decade ending felt sorta suitable.

Anyway, it seemed important to me to get this very appropriate video out there for this very important Bowie weekend.

Hope you dig it!

Do me an’ yerself a favor – watch it in the Highest Def available with the sound UP LOUD!

If anyone has any other footage, or ideas for another video project, of material from Bowie’s classic period, do please get in touch: nachomarcho@gmail.com

Putting this video together was another huge labour of love, made with love and with respect for the source.

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.

Nacho, January 7th, 2017.

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