Bowie and Cher, “The Young Americans Medley,” December 1975.
It’s worth watching this if you never have—-the most wonderfully bizarre television appearance from DB’s purgatory in American television. Observations:
1) Bowie is making Station to Station at exactly the same time that he filmed this.
2) The shift from “Young Americans” to “Song Sung Blue” hits like a swell of intestinal pain.
3) Bowie sings his fragments of “One” and “Maybe” passionately, remorsefully. It’s a broken man winking into a piece of Seventies variety show schlock for a few moments.
5) The real slough of despond moment for Bowie is the sequence of “Day Tripper” and “Blue Moon,” where his soul seems to depart from his body, reducing him to a set of motor functions. Cher steers him through it.
6) “Ain’t No Sunshine” is a frigate-sinking of a performance, but DB by this point has given up any hope of dignity and just crests along.
7) High camp DB moments: the sorta-tango steps on “Young Blood,” the self-clasping bullfighter sway on “Temptation.”
8) “Ain’t there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?” On this performance, there’s a nearly a baker’s dozen. (Cher rightfully gets the diva moment, and sings the line low, the way Bowie did on the first takes of the song.)
How had I never seen this clip? It’s horrifyingly mesmerizing.