Norwich Bulletin - 17th December 2003

Bowie brings rock to Mohegan Sun

Legendary rocker appears in Uncasville for splendid performance

By Andrew Horton

Instead they found legendary artist David Bowie, which really was the only face that mattered to many on Tuesday.

The man of many faces and musical genres rolled into Uncasville for his 2003 Reality Tour.

In the past, Bowie's music has been called everything from avante garde to heroin chic, from glam rock to progressive rock, from New Wave to the dreaded rock-killing moniker of Adult Contemporary.

On Tuesday Bowie was what he does best, himself. And for a 56-year old veteran of rock music, Bowie did not disappoint fans awaiting his return after a five-year hiatus from Connecticut.

From this thunderous introduction of "Rebel Rebel", a throwback from the classic "Changes" LP, to a more modern rendition of "Fame", fans were riveted by most of Bowie's two-hour long musical marathon.

However, there were periods during Tuesday's concert when Bowie played songs from his new album, "Reality", and crowds didn't know what to expect. With songs like "The Loneliest Guy", to "New Killer Star", Bowie received only a luke-warm reaction. By looking around at some of the blank stares in the seats, it was clear that some fans weren't on the same wavelength as the British export when newer material echoed throughout the arena.

To make up for his newcomings, Bowie and the six talented musicians interjected near-perfect renditions of "Suffragette City", "Heroes", "Under Pressure", and a Pixies cover for those in the audience still longing for 1990s Indie Rock.

Like any major artist, Bowie's stage set up was almost as impressive as the music itself. Looming behind Bowie and his six-piece band was a giant widescreen monitor. To keep in touch with his avante garde roots, Bowie also had maple trees spray painted white and hung upside-down all around the stage. For those who missed Bowie at makeshift shows inside Lower East Side Manhattan art studios during the 1960s and 1970s, it was the next best thing.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was when Bowie and the six-piece band surrounding him on stage played a textbook version of "Ziggy Stardust". The parting shot by Bowie and his merry band turned out to be the creme-de-la-creme of the entire set. Bowie, sans the make-up and glamorous outfits, brought some fans back to a 1972 filled with endless days of phonographic records, muscle cars, and headphones.

Joining Bowie in Uncasville was sultry, yet soulful artist Macy Gray.

Gray, who with her nine-piece band, belted out a Joplin-esque performance, only without the drug-induced hallucinations on stage.

Gray's set was almost as satisfying as a Smoke House Cheeseburger and American Fries at nearby Johnny Rocket's.


Gray and her band tended to infuse songs from artists like Bob Marley and the Whalers to theme songs from old sitcoms produced by Norman Lear into her songs. While this can be exciting to watch, it becomes rather dull and ordinary after a while and actually diminishes from Gray's performance, making her efforts seem more like a live jam session than anything else. Not that a live jam session is anything to look down upon, but then again Macy Gray is no Bob Dylan at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, either.