When last we left David Bowie, he had played six straight future classics from Hunky Dory to an audience that must have been fairly flabbergasted. Next up is a song that, to the best of my knowledge, he never made an official studio recording of: “Looking for a Friend” was played live and in radio sessions, but the only extant studio version is credited to Arnold Corns and sung by David’s short-lived protege Freddi Buretti.

I think Bowie suspected that “Looking for a Friend,” while not charmless, is a lesser composition that’s not really worth the effort. The idea, I guess, was to write a song that’s outwardly a laddish rocker and secretly a gay cruising song. The rousing chorus is designed to get you singing along before you know what you’re singing along to. But something about it never clicks; it’s simultaneously too clever and not clever enough. “Looking for a Friend” would soon be cut from the setlist and forgotten until people started poking around for Bowie rarities many years later. Some rarities are rare for a reason.

A similar fate awaited “Round and Round,” a Chuck Berry cover that David was much enamored of during this time. At one point it was projected as the title track for the follow-up to Hunky Dory, but as Bowie wrote more songs, it would slip down the list and eventually be deleted (quite wisely) in favor of “Suffragette City.” David introduces it here as “our last number,” but there would be one more.

David did “I’m Waiting for the Man” many times in many different ways over the years, and I don’t know that any given version can be said to be definitive. Certainly not this one; the band bashes away at the song for too long and to very little effect.

And that’s that. “We really haven’t got any more numbers,” pleads Dave, starting to sound a bit petulant. “I killed myself singing,” he whines, shortly before telling the crowd to shut up. It’s not the best way to end a concert: three lukewarm tunes and some passive aggression. But soon enough this version of the man would be a thing of the past, replaced by a guy with a sharp haircut and a much more polished stage act. The rest is history.

When I pick up the Bowie thread again — probably after the next basketball game — we will, confusingly, be back in 1999 for the next song on hours…. I know my writing is all over the place lately, but I feel like this is one of those times you just have to push through; I, too, hope to be replaced with a better version of myself in the near future.