Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby

  1. If There Is Something [3.55]

  2. Amazing [4.06]

  3. I Can't Read [6.25]

  4. Stateside [8.11]

  5. Under The God [4.05]

  6. Goodbye Mr. Ed [3.31]

  7. Heaven's In Here [12.05]

  8. You Belong In Rock N'Roll [6.59]

Released:

  • London 828 3281 - July 1992 (LP)

  • London 8283282 - July 1992 (CD)

Personnel:

  • David Bowie: Vocals, Guitar, Saxophone

  • Reeves Gabrels: Guitar, Vocals

  • Tony Sales: Bass, Vocals

  • Hunt Sales: Drums, Vocals

  • Eric Schermerhorn: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Recorded:

  • Orpheum Theatre, Boston/Academy, New York/Riviera, Chicago/NHK Hall, Tokyo/Kouseinenkin Kaikan, Sapporo

Producers:

  • Max Bisgrove/Tom Dubé/Reeves Gabrels/Dave Bianco/David Bowie

Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby

Released on a wave of indifference in the summer of 1992, Tin Machine's final assault on the market has the ignominious distinction of being the only new Bowie album since 1967 not to have entered even the lowest reaches of the UK chart. A live Tin Machine album was hardly likely to tempt the casual buyer, but even the most devoted fan might have hoped for a more imaginative track-listing. During the It's My Life tour the band had performed covers of "Debaser", "I've Been Waiting For You" and "Go Now" which, had they been included here, might at least have loosened the wallet of the completist. Instead, the album was dominated by a sprawling eight-minute rendition of the dreaded "Stateside" and a twelve-minute "Heaven's In Here", ensuring that even the most patient loyalists thought twice before buying it.

 

The album's ill fortune was compounded by ugly, indistinct packaging and an unspeakably misconceived title ("Hunt Sales's title, I might add," revealed Bowie in 1997, "the whole Soupy Sales link"). Reeves Gabrels later explained that the title was "a play on the fact that there are no original ideas," but taking a pot-shot at U2's universally acclaimed Achtung Baby was entirely unworthy of Bowie, and even if it was meant in jest it backfired disastrously. The reviews, where they appeared at all, were the most vitriolic he had ever had (Melody Maker declared that Bowie hereby "ceases to exist as an artist of any worth whatsoever") and the album sank like a stone. Plans to release a second instalment called Use Your Wallet (presumably a hilarious reference to Use Your Illusion, the two-album set released in 1991 by Guns N'Roses) were forgotten.

 

Oy Vey, Baby was recorded at five different venues: first to be taped was "I Can't Read" in Boston on November 20th 1991, with "Stateside" and "Heaven's In Here" following in New York later the same month. "Amazing" and "You Belong In Rock N'Roll" were recorded in Chicago on December 7th, while the remaining three tracks were taped on the Japanese leg in February 1992: "If There Is Something" and "Goodbye Mr. Ed" in Tokyo, and finally "Under The God" in Sapporo. Bowie is said to have described the mix, overseen by Reeves Gabrels and the tour's engineer Max Bisgrove, as "deconstructionist R&B." Frankly, that makes it sound more interesting than it really is. It's not actually a bad album - say what you like about them, Tin Machine could play live - but Gabrels is in a minority of one when he reveals that this is his favourite Tin Machine record.

 

Still, there's one reason to be grateful for Oy Vey, Baby. From the earliest Tin Machine interviews, Bowie had repeatedly asserted that the band intended to produce at least three albums. The third turned out not to be another time-consuming and self-subverting studio effort, but a live set apparently turfed out so that David could resume his solo career without delay. And so he did; within a month of Oy Vey, Baby's appearance Bowie had released "Real Cool World", his first new solo single since 1987, and the more substantial pleasures of Black Tie White Noise were already in the works.