Look At The Moon! (Live Phoenix Festival 97) cover artworkWritten by: Laurie Anderson
Recorded: 20 July 1997

Released: 12 February 2020

Available on:
Look At The Moon! (Live Phoenix Festival 97)

Personnel

Gail Ann Dorsey: vocals, keyboards
David Bowie: vocals, baritone saxophone
Reeves Gabrels: guitar
Mike Garson: keyboards, synthesisers
Zachary Alford: drums

A version of Laurie Anderson’s 1981 song ‘O Superman (For Massenet)’ was performed during David Bowie’s Earthling Tour in 1997, with Gail Ann Dorsey on lead vocals.

Anderson’s eight-minute recording was championed by BBC Radio 1’s John Peel. It became an unlikely hit in the UK, reaching number two on the singles chart.

The song draws from the aria “O souverain, O juge, O père!”, from Jules Massenet’s opera Le Cid. Anderson’s opening lines, “”O Superman, O judge, O Mom and Dad”, echo Massenet’s words.

‘O Superman’ was performed during the Earthling Tour in 1997. Gail Ann Dorsey was joined by Bowie on vocals, and he also played saxophone towards the song’s finale.

The performance from the 1997 Phoenix Festival was released in February 2020 on Look At The Moon! (Live Phoenix Festival 97), part of the Brilliant Live Adventures (1995-1999) series of live albums.

In June 1997, during the Earthling Tour, Bowie and his band entered Sono Studios near Prague in the Czech Republic. They recorded several unreleased pieces of music, reportedly including a new rendition of ‘Outside’ and a studio version of ‘O Superman’.

Laurie Anderson appeared on Never Let Me Down 2018, the reimagining of Bowie’s 1987 album included in the 2018 box set Loving The Alien (1983-1988).

She performed the rap on ‘Shining Star (Makin’ My Love)’, a part originally by actor Mickey Rourke.

The programming is a mess [on the original] and the rap comes out of nowhere. I was just trying to find the right elements to fit the song. Luckily I know David and Laurie Anderson were good friends and she said yes to this and it was really great of her.
Mario J McNulty
Rolling Stone, 24 July 2018