The Blond Ambition Tour…sponsored by US Air Force
Ever wondered why everyone seemed to have the bootleg of the Dallas date of the Blond Ambition Tour in edited, but absolutely lovely audio quality? Well, that’s because it was specially recorded for a radio broadcast, to be sent around the US Radio Networks for broadcast.
The broadcast was simultaneously aired on the weekend of August 27th 1990, three weeks after the tour had ended as a reminder of what an amazing summer it had been in Ciccone-land.
In technological terms 1990 was almost a whole lifetime ago, the broadcast industry was a little more basic than it is today, so all the radio stations which were taking part in the simulcast were sent a triple LP set of the tour split over six sides of vinyl which they were to play to their listeners on their trusty turntables, praying that the records wouldn’t skip. As the networks were commercially funded it meant that the tour was split into little bite-size chunks of mostly two-song sections and then the companies which had paid for advertising during the show had their 30 second or 60 second advertisements played.
The sponsors for the tour were the most unlikely bunch! Doritos, the US Air Force, Greyhound Buses and CBS Television all aired their promo spots during the broadcast repeatedly! Makes you wonder whether the Air Force had seen the Like A Virgin performance when they agreed to that!
Westwood One was the company that put together the live recording and to say they are legends of radio live music broadcasting is putting it mildly. However, even they aren’t infallible – the classic mis-naming of ‘Sooner Or Later‘ featured on every cue-sheet accompanying the triple LP set as did the annoyingly common mis-spelling of ‘Blonde‘ (although they got it right on the actual discs).
Still, despite their mistakes and the heavy editing out of all the swearing and most of the between-song banter, they did have the guts to air the entire setlist of songs from the concert live.
The set was pressed up on lightweight vinyl which meant the records are quite fragile – below is a rather unscientific attempt at showing you this – i.e. one of the discs being held up to a lamp to show they are actually translucent…and there are clear instructions that all copies were meant to be destroyed immediately following the broadcast. Obviously, as with anything potentially valuable, this didn’t happen and a handful of the sets escaped the radio station recycling bins and made it out to the collectors. Those lucky enough to have secured a full set, complete with the original cue sheets now find themselves with a lovely set worth approximately enough to buy eight Blond Ambition concert tickets back then!