Released: 15 September 2003
David Bowie: vocals, 12-string guitar, synthesizer, saxophone
Earl Slick, David Torn: guitar
Tony Visconti: bass guitar
Sterling Campbell: drums
‘Days’ was a song on Reality, David Bowie’s 23rd studio album.
With a sparse arrangement Bowie’s plaintive vocals, ‘Days’ was one of several moments of calm reflection on the album. There were echoes of Bowie’s past: “All I’ve done, I’ve done for me” was a reversal of “Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for you,” as sung on the Labyrinth song ‘Within You’.
“All you gave, you gave for free/I gave nothing in return, and there’s little left of me,” meanwhile, foreshadowed ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ on his final album Blackstar – the sense of self, struggling to retain ownership when others wanted a piece of him.
‘Days’ was one of several songs on Reality to feature Tony Visconti on bass guitar. Visconti had played on the demos ahead of the album sessions, and several of his parts were retained on the final versions. Bowie’s keyboard parts on ‘Days’ were also kept from the demo.
Before the band came in, I’d played bass on all of the demos, and some of my bass parts eventually made it all the way to the album in preference to Mark Plati’s. This was the case on ‘New Killer Star’ – Mark had a go at it, but there was some kind of personality in my bass playing that David preferred, and the same applied to ‘The Loneliest Guy’, ‘Days’ and ‘Fall Dog Bombs The Moon’. It’s Mark’s bass on all of the other tracks, including the part that I wrote for ‘Looking For Water’.
Sound On Sound, October 2003
It was also one of the b-sides on a 12″ single of ‘Rebel Never Gets Old’, which was released in the UK and Europe in 2004.
A ‘Tour’ edition of Reality was also issued to coincide with A Reality Tour’s visits to various countries. This contained the bonus cover of ‘Waterloo Sunset’, as well as DVD performance of the entire album, recorded at the Riverside Studios in London on 8 September 2003. In Canada the DVD was truncated to just five songs: ‘New Killer Star’, ‘Never Get Old’, ‘Days’, ‘Reality’, and ‘Bring Me The Disco King’.
David Bowie performed ‘Days’ 57 times in public.
The first was on 5 September 2003 at Studios 107 in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, France, for an edition the TV show Trafic.musique broadcast on 18 September.
On 8 September Bowie performed a warm-up show at Riverside Studios in London’s Hammersmith, before an audience of BowieNet members. It was broadcast via satellite to 86 cinemas in 26 countries, and watched by 50,000 fans. Bowie and his band played all the Reality songs, out of sequence, plus a number of others.
‘Days’ was first played in concert on 8 October 2003 at the Globen Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, the second date of A Reality Tour.
His final performance of the song was at the Borgata Events Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on 30 May 2004, one of the final US dates on the tour.
A November 2003 version from Dublin was a digital download bonus track on A Reality Tour, although it was left off the DVD of the same name.