In my Bowieverse — if I can claim to have a Bowieverse — there will be no knocking of Tin Machine. One has to be grateful for Tin Machine, because it got Bowie out of pop and back into hard rock, his forte.
I do have an intellectual understanding of why Tin Machine is so reviled. I have to admit to buying the first Tin Machine record, but not the second. I played Crack City several times but generally skipped over the rest of the tracks. But in retrospect, Tin Machine has a pleasing energy to it — the entire project feels like a garage band, formed out of a desire to play music instead of to fill stadiums or — let’s be honest — create great art.
Since I never did purchase the second Tin Machine record, I doubt I’d heard this song before today. And I like it. I like it So Much. Not just the song, but this performance — more than twice as long as the album version, featuring Bowie on sax and lead vocals, and not engaging — in the slightest — with the audience. It feels peaceful to me. It has an air of reality to it.
Tin Machine I — as far as I know — is the only time we’ve seen Bowie bearded, at least as part of his public image. By the time Tin Machine II came around — Betty Wrong was on this record — he was clean-shaven again. (I suppose he did play with this look some times during the Earthling period — but I see that as closer to manscaping than Tin Machine I, which represented a full-on commitment to facial hair).