OCTOBER 19th-20th 1996
David Bowie: Vocals, Guitar
Reeves Gabrels: Guitar
Gail Ann Dorsey: Bass, Vocals
Aladdin Sane | The Jean Genie | I'm A Hog For You Baby | I Can't Read | The Man Who Sold The World | "Heroes" | You And I And George | Let's Dance | China Girl | White Light/White Heat
Since 1986 Neil Young had organised an annual charity event in aid of the Bridge School for the disabled in Hillsborough, California. In 1996 Bowie joined the bill at Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheater, alongside Billy Idol, Patti Smith, Pearl Jam, Pete Townshend and Young himself.
Traditionally the Bridge School benefit was a semi-acoustic affair, and Bowie accordingly played acoustic guitar while his two backing musicians, Reeves Gabrels and Gail Ann Dorsey, were plugged in. On the first evening David made humorous reference to Pete Townshend's earlier set by launching into a brief snatch of The Who's "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere", and in a similarly playful mood he attempted to teach Gabrels the Coasters' chestnut "I'm A Hog For You Baby", replacing the line "love you all night long" with something rather ruder. On the second night he busked the sentimental ditty "You And I And George", which he had formerly played at a couple of Sound + Vision gigs.
The Bridge School concerts saw Bowie's first revival since 1990 of "The Jean Genie" and the reappearance of "I Can't Read", which had just been re-recorded during the Earthling sessions, but the real surprises were the jokey acoustic revivals of "Let's Dance" and "China Girl". A recording of "Heroes" from the second night later appeared on the US compilation The Bridge School Concerts Vol. 1, and The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition DVD.
Four days later, Bowie was back with his full Earthling band to perform "Little Wonder" and "Fashion" (another new revival) at the VH1 Fashion Awards at Madison Square Garden.
by Nicholas Pegg
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