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(Credit: Alamy)


Watch rare rehearsal footage of David Bowie preparing for his 'Outside' tour


David Bowie was as iconoclastic as he had ever been in 1995. Having seen a personal artistic rejuvenation thanks to his work with Tin Machine in the late 1980s and early ’90s, plus getting a commercial boost thanks to Nirvana’s cover of ‘The Man Who Sold the World’, Bowie was ready to take his newer, harsher sound to the crowds who adored him.

The only thing was that the audiences, quite understandably, figured that Bowie would mix in some of his hits along with deep cuts and newer material from the album Outside. However, Bowie had announced that he was retiring most of his biggest hits during the 1990’s Sound + Vision tour, and anyone who hadn’t taken him at his word was bound to be disappointed by the material Bowie picked for the tour.

That said, for any diehard Bowie fanatic, this wasn’t a problem. Tracks like ‘Joe the Lion’, ‘Look Back in Anger’, and ‘Breaking Glass’ were given prominent spots in the setlist. But for anyone hoping to hear ‘Modern Love’, ‘Heroes’, or ‘Rebel Rebel’, the performances were bound to be confusing and a bit of a downer.

Even stranger was the US leg of the tour that found Bowie performing with Nine Inch Nails near the peak of their popularity. NIN would open the show, and the Bowie would join on the last few songs of their set before taking over, creating a seamless transition. What became clear early on was that scores of NIN fans would stay for the first set and leave the second that Trent Reznor exited the stage. Bowie found himself playing no hits to half-empty venues at a time when his profile had gained a major boost. It probably wasn’t the smartest financial decision, but Bowie was determined to regain his creative freedom at the expense of his most famous past work.

Rehearsals for the tour were filmed and show Bowie completely locked in with his band as they run through tracks like ‘Hallo Spaceboy’ and ‘Nite Flights’. Otherwise, Bowie seems downright jovial, puffing on cigarettes and smiling as guitarists Carlos Alomar and Reeves Gabrels attempted to translate the material to the rest of the musicians. At one point, Alomar gives Bowie a back massage, underscoring the loose atmosphere that Bowie and the band felt now that they were emancipated from playing ‘Let’s Dance’ every night.

Check out the rehearsal footage down below.