The Age - February 16th 2004

Bowie in Australia

By Jonathon Moran

Glam rocker David Bowie has reinvented himself countless times over the years and now, at 57, he says he's happy being himself.

The singer fronted Australian media in Sydney today, visiting the city for the first time in 14 years as part of his latest world tour.

"I am very happy as a performer doing what I am doing at the moment," Bowie said.

"It is just a very simple performance. I am up there with my really great, strong band and we are just interpreting my songs that I have done over the last 35 years."

His Reality tour starts in Brisbane tomorrow and will play in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth over the coming weeks.

Bowie last toured Australia for the Glass Spider tour in November 1987.

The show promises a mixture of Bowie's back catalogue as well as songs from his latest album, Reality.

Bowie and his two-woman, four-man band are expected to perform a mixture of new and old. He will revisit such classics as Rebel Rebel, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Heroes and several selections from his 1972 hit album, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

"Reality was really about the band that I am with," he said.

Bowie and his band have rehearsed more than 50 songs from every era of his career and will alter set lists from night to night, keeping each concert distinct.

Bowie joked with media during the 30-minute press conference, with one journalist telling him he "seemed very comfortable being himself".

To that, Bowie replied, "How do you know, you haven't seen this tour".

"I might look really awful."

In recent years Bowie has tended to play more intimate, one-off special live events.

The Reality tour is scheduled to play to over one million people in 17 countries over a seven-month period.

"Last year's shows were such a tremendous high and the audiences so responsive," he said.

"My band is playing at the top of its form right now and it would be foolish not to play a tour this year while we're in such good spirits about the live-show aspects of our work."

As well as a successful music career, Bowie has made cameo appearances in numerous films, including Zoolander, Basquiat, The Last Temptation of Christ and Labyrinth.

He said being a full-time movie star would be too much hard work.

"I would love to be a movie star and have my name on posters and photograph 14-foot high and all that but you have gotta work so hard at it - the acting and all that you have to do.

"It really takes up time and I don't think I have a commitment to it really."