The Herald - 1st December 2003

David Bowie, SECC, Glasgow

David Bowie could sing the phone book and make it sound interesting. Likewise, I could just tell you Friday night's set list and you'd be saying: "wow".

From the opening Rebel Rebel, we heard a man who, given his past, shouldn't really be walking this earth, put on a performance that proved he is hitting yet another career peak.

For the last show of the European leg of his Reality tour, Glasgow got to hear a career-spanning repertoire. Gone were the overblown pretensions of previous years, replaced instead by a minimal stage set and a friendly Bowie, laughing and joking. From The Man Who Sold The World to a sprinkling of songs from the new album, it was two-and-a-half hours of straight-up rock 'n' roll.

A joyous All The Young Dudes reminded us that this is the anthem of the glam-rock generation, the show-stopping Life On Mars, accompanied by Mike Garson on piano, brought a tear to the eye, while the grunge metal of Hallo Spaceboy proved Bowie can still rock with the young crew.

Always one with a good ear for other's songs, The Pixies' Cactus and Neil Young's Afraid, played back-to-back, were blinding.

Of the band, guitarist Earl Slick did a great Mick Ronson, while Gerry Leonard's ambient guitar stylings created chilling backdrops, most effective on Sunday and The Loneliest Guy. The latter proving that quitting the fags has only improved Bowie's voice.

During the Ziggy-era encore, he took us back to the farewell show of 1973, saying : "Not only is this the last show of the tour, but it's the last show we'll ever do... until T In The Park, next summer." I've looked out my tent already.

By Dave Prater
Copyright 2003 Newsquest (Herald & Times) Limited.