When David Bowie released Diamond Dogs in 1974, he did what all proper rock stars did when releasing a new album: he toured behind it. If you attended a show on the first leg of the tour, however, and then compared your experience with someone who attended the second leg of the tour, you’d both be convinced that you’d seen a completely different tour...and that’s because, for all practical purposes, you did.
The first leg of the Diamond Dogs tour kicked off on June 14, continued onward through July 20, and featured elaborate set pieces co-designed and constructed by Chris Langhart. They were not cheap - their estimated cost was in the neighborhood of $250,000 - and nor should they have been, given that their design was included by such films as Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, by Robert Weine.
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The second half of the tour, however, was called "the Soul Tour" due to the inclusion of a bunch of the then-unreleased material Bowie had begun recording for Young Americans. This stage of the jaunt lasted from Sept. 2 and ran through Dec. 1, but because of the shift in the musical sensibilities of the new songs in the set, not to mention Bowie reportedly having grown weary of the design of the first leg of the tour, the new shows dropped the aforementioned elaborate set pieces.
In addition, the tour's lineup was also revamped to feature musicians who had recorded for Young Americans - including saxophonist David Sanborn and a then-unknown background vocalist named Luther Vandross, among others - and with the inclusion of songs from the forthcoming album, songs which had featured in the sets of the previous leg were dropped.
Bowie's estate has since released two live albums from this leg of the tour: 2017's Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74) and 2020's I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) (the latter now available digitally as well) providing Bowie fans with their first-ever opportunity to hear officially-released recordings of the Soul Tour in action.
Was it worth the wait? You be the judge...
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