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David Bowie - A Reality Tour

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Just now available on CD, this is the companion piece to the A Reality Tour DVD that came out in 2004. Bowie's current albums at the time were Heathen (2002) and Reality (2003) and after suitably winding the crowd up with an appropriate oldie choice of "Rebel, Rebel" Bowie launches into Reality's "New Killer Star" and "Reality" without any new album promotion. That's a bit odd considering that his between-song patter calls off the year and album title for many of the oldies, a seemingly never-ending roster of hit after hit. But the variety here is excellent; among chestnuts like "Fame," "All the Young Dudes," "Life on Mars" and "Under Pressure" are goodies like the rarely performed (these days) "The Man Who Sold the World," a woozy guitar-filled cover of Black Francis' "Cactus" that spotlights longtime Bowie cohort Earl Slick and somewhat overlooked Bowie/Eno compositions from the '90s like "Hallo Spaceboy" and "I'm Afraid of Americans." Another song performed here that's rarely heard is "Sister Midnight;" Bowie co-wrote the song with Carlos Alomar and Iggy Pop for Iggy's first solo album The Idiot and the ominous tone of the number presents a chilling representation of how both artists were embroiled in battles with substance abuse at the time. Bowie's voice is a little husky when he speaks between songs and he even jokes with the crowd that he may need help singing since he "gave his voice quite a belting last night." To the contrary though he's in excellent voice throughout and his tenacity is especially on display on quiet numbers like "The Loneliest Guy." This thirty-three song set on two CDs will please Bowie fans from all eras and collectors will welcome the 3 tunes included here that were previously unavailable; versions of "China Girl," "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon" and "Breaking Glass."

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