Bowie Rehearsal Recordings… Fake? Real? How Would We Ever Know?

Tonight I finally got around to posting the link for the (terrifically) lengthy Love Is Lost remix. (For the sake of completeness and for the precisely three people who I know depend on this blog for up-to-date Bowie information.)

While looking for the video, I came across this gem:

It appears to be a fake, as the same YouTube poster also put up a video of a Bowie impersonator lip-syncing along with the identical recording with a different video on the same date.

But here’s the thing. How would you ever know? The first time I heard the recording, I cried. I thought for sure it was Bowie; acting, maybe, putting on the cabaret singer role. But is that so unusual for Bowie? Couldn’t you see him doing something like that? This is certainly not arena rock, but a few slow songs and dinner theatre? Why not?

Posted a couple of months later, there was another recording, purportedly of Bowie singing Life on Mars? in the same set of rehearsals. Again, the patter has an air of fakeness; a cell phone goes off at the end and the participants giggle just a little too hard. But what makes fake? Bowie could have done it himself for the sake of it. (You know, if he was really, really, really bored and had absolutely nothing better to do). I don’t think he did, but…

How would we know?

It reminds me of reading an article, months ago, in the Daily Mail about Iman. It showed up in my Bowie Google Alerts (that have appeared like clockwork in my inbox every day since January 2013). The article said that her husband, David Bowie, was currently performing a series of dates in London. Completely wrong, I thought. Because if Bowie was actually performing somewhere — or was due to perform — I follow enough media that I would have known.

But, what did Bowie say all those decades ago… in various forms… we believe what we’ve been taught? And what we know is only what we think we know — it’s what we are told?

Anyway. A series of deep thoughts. “Russell Bishop,” if you are real, and if you recorded this version of Where Are We Now?, it’s freaking gorgeous. Life on Mars? is a little grating, but I never liked that song anyway. And if you don’t exist, thanks for being an idea that, tonight, shifted my perception a little bit.