The Denver Post - 20th January 2004

Immortal Bowie still fresh, fantastic

By Ricardo Baca

Lasting 30-plus years in the music industry is nearly impossible. Most who have endured the decades did so by relying on nostalgia and not pushing what got them there in the first place, and the resulting situation is sticky, especially when seeing these acts "Live in Concert."

The musicians play what made them famous in the '70s while occasionally, almost shamed, sneaking in a new track every now and then. Try watching Peter Frampton live. It's saddening. It makes you question his relevance and your taste.

But this is what makes David Bowie so extraordinary.

He owned your world with the art rock of "Space Oddity" in 1969, and 35 years later he's standing on the stage playing brand-new material that is as exciting, if not more, than the music that served as your Bowie 101. It's exhilarating and frightening - yet not all that surprising, given that Bowie has spent his career jacking trends and bucking popular thought.

Bowie was an unparalleled rock star Monday night at the Fillmore Auditorium. From the glitter in his tousled dirty-blonde to the Converse All-Stars hugging his feet; from the ultra-low-rise jeans to the man-scarf that embraced his neck, he was on-point and confident. He was sexy and sassy of course, but even more, he was emotive and empathetic. And part of that poise likely comes from the fact that Bowie knows that his new album is the best he's produced in 10 years.

This review was filed before the concert's end for deadline reasons, but the best moments from the first hour and a half came from Bowie's 4-month-old "Reality."

The title track came early and was an explosion of vibrant rock 'n' roll. "New Killer Star" was subtler but potent. Bowie's street- cred is never a matter of question, and after Monday, his relevance is air-tight as well.

Of course, Bowie's older material hit a note, and it dug deeper than superficial nostalgia. He jump-started the evening with a righteous "Rebel Rebel," which strayed from his post-Ziggy "Diamond Dogs" with a ferocity that couldn't be ignored. After the brand-new 1-2-3 combo of "New Killer Star," "Reality" and "She'll Drive the Big Car" came his haunting take on The Pixies' "Cactus," which he covered on 2002's "Heathen."

Bowie front-loaded the set with new material, and it worked.

After assuring the audience there would be more old-school material to come, he unleashed the new moody, melancholic "The Loneliest Guy." The fans were just getting warmed up, having just sung along to "All the Young Dudes" (which Bowie wrote for Mott the Hoople), jammed out to "China Girl," and indulged in the rarity of "Fantastic Voyage." But they adjusted, and quickly became enraptured by the new "Reality" track.

Bowie's reality doesn't bite. It rocks. And it's not showing any signs of fading away, either.