Hollywood Reporter - 17th December 2003

David Bowie: MSG Review

By Frank Scheck

David Bowie
Madison Square Garden, New York
Monday, Dec. 15

Revealing few traces of the bout with the flu that necessitated the postponement of the first several dates of the U.S. segment of his world tour, David Bowie delivered the sort of killer show at the Garden that well demonstrated why he's become one of the most venerated figures in rock. Delivering a nearly two-hour, career-spanning set that included numbers dating back three decades as well as songs from his new "Reality" album, Bowie and his amazing seven-piece band gave a transcendent performance.

The set list was cannily chosen, featuring the classic hits ("Fame," "Ashes to Ashes," "Changes"), vintage favorites ("The Man Who Sold the World," "Life on Mars"), relative obscurities ("Cactus," from last year's "Heathen" CD, and the powerful "Motel," from "Outside") and a handful of songs from "Reality." The latter, including the hard-rocking "New Killer Star," for which Bowie just received a Grammy nomination, and the moving "The Loneliest Guy," were strong numbers comparing well to his glory days and fit seamlessly into the set.

Highlights included a mesmerizing duet with bassist Gail Ann Dorsey on the Bowie-Queen collaboration "Under Pressure" and a particularly powerful one-two punch of the menacing and now all too resonant "I'm Afraid of Americans" followed by "Heroes," the latter of which the singer graciously introduced as "the other side of the story." The dynamite encore was an intense triple blast of "Jean Genie," "Suffragette City" and the seminal "Ziggy Stardust."

Opening act Macy Gray had a little trouble making an impact in the massive arena with her 45-minute set of retro-style soul, but eventually her infectious, slinky grooves - which included entertainingly funky revampings of television theme songs ranging from "All in the Family" to "The Sopranos" - won the crowd over.