Madison Square Gardens 1997
So many former bootlegs have been officially released, this is probably the most infamous one to remain unreleased. This show is the stuff of legends… it was a special celebration for Bowie’s 50th birthday, with a truly insane roster of special guests, including Frank Black from the Pixies, the Foo Fighters, Sonic Youth, Lou Reed, and Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins. With so many big names ripping through a blistering set of classic Bowie numbers, an official release would be massive.
In the 90s, Bowie was extremely resistant to being a legacy act, rejecting his classic catalog and the big audiences it would’ve attracted. But this was a special celebration, with classic hits brought out of retirement and matched to each guest. Frank Black gets to join in on the spiky atonal “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps),” while Bowie teases him about his dress sense; and Billy Corgan joins in on “All The Young Dudes,” a tale that begins with a young bohemian named Billy.
The reason for the old hits is obvious. The guests are all psyched about sharing the stage with Bowie for the songs they love, while Bowie feeds off their energy. That makes Lou Reed’s appearance stand out, as Bowie enjoys the birthday gift of sharing the stage with his idol, as they play Bowie's Lou Reed tribute "Queen Bitch," as well as covering two Lou Reed songs, The Velvet Underground’s "White Light/White Heat," and the then-recent "Dirty Blvd."