The Scotsman - 29th November 2003

David Bowie: SECC, Glasgow

By Fiona Shepherd

David Bowie *****

NOW is a good time to be David Bowie, and a good time to be a fan of David Bowie. The Thin White Duke looked more dazzling than ever, his voice is in supple shape and, thanks to his wonderful intuitive band, everything else sounds great too. After years of trying too hard to remain contemporary, he appears truly at ease with himself, happy again to sound like Bowie.

A few months ago he released Reality, his best album in 20 years, which confidently recalls classic Bowie, from Aladdin Sane to Scary Monsters. He has also relaxed his unwritten rule about limiting the amount of old material he plays live. At long last, he is comfortable with the notion that his audience might just get a kick out of hearing lots of those incredible songs they grew up with.

So he opened with Rebel Rebel, and its gloriously familiar rock'n'roll riff was snapped up like a generous gift. He stormed through the dynamic comeback single New Killer Star and the garagey title track from Reality before landing right in the clipped swagger of Fame and the raw quirky funk of Fashion.

Already, it was clear how lithe and evergreen the old songs were sounding, and the favourites just continued to tumble out. A celebratory sing-a-long version of All The Young Dudes, an assuredly feline The Man Who Sold The World and a down-and-dirty Gene Genie [sic] pushed all the right buttons.

There was so much more in reserve. Duetting with his magnificent bass player Gail Ann Dorsey, Bowie stopped traffic with a thundering Under Pressure. While we were still absorbing the impact, he launched into a towering Life On Mars. Then Let's Dance and a majestic Heroes were fluently reinvented.

By this point it had totally ceased to matter that I was too young to witness Bowie when he ruled the Seventies. In 2003, this ultra-cool 50-something has wired back into the spirit, the strut and the stance that makes him peerless still. And, by his own announcement, he's going to do it all again at next year's T in the Park.