The Business Times - 5th March 2004

Bowie wows

David Bowie rocked the Indoor Stadium last night at the Singapore stop of his current world tour. KANNAN CHANDRAN caught the action earlier in Australia

Time may change me
But I can't trace time

- Changes, Hunky Dory

SEEMINGLY unaffected by the passage of time, David Bowie was the Thin White Duke onstage on Monday at the Supreme Court Gardens, on the Perth leg of A Reality Tour.

Fit and energetic, the 57-year-old chameleon of rock dipped at will into a reservoir of 26 albums, and accompanied by a stellar (if somewhat static) six-piece band, fired up the 10,000 crowd to leap to their feet, sing along and pump their clenched fists to the beat. Bowie's own confident swagger was perhaps a more relaxed interpretation of his stance during the 1983 Serious Moonlight tour that beamed down to Singapore. Then, as now, Let's Dance was his major hit vehicle, with China Girl drawing instant recognition and loud howls of appreciation.

Since then, the albums have failed to sparkle as Bowie searched for relevance in a changing world. Fortunately, his back catalogue kept the interest level high as he continued to coast on the adventures of alter egos Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke and Major Tom. Even so, Bowie kept his eye on the nascent media scene, working to incorporate technology into his craft. This has manifested itself rather grandly onstage of A Reality Tour; a sound and light show that is brilliantly choreographed by Bowie.

Animation, spy cameras and possibly one of the best sound engineers around contrived to deliver a show of great cohesion and character. With such technical brilliance at his beck and call it was left to Bowie's own choice of tracks to engage the audience.

A sprinkling of new and old kept the pace up, as Pablo Picasso sat comfortably with Starman and the Velvet Underground number White Light, White Heat set a blistering pace ahead of Ashes To Ashes, delivered complete with discordant piano solo to unnerve the otherwise mellow, spacey mood of Major Tom.

Staying cool throughout, tresses tumbling in the breeze, Bowie applied some theatrical timing to link tracks. I'm Afraid Of Americans, a pointed reference to the world today, segued into an optimistic Heroes, perhaps the highlight and the climax of the two-hour concert with its intense, raw-edged rendition and Bowie's impassioned vocals. Even the encore of tunes from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars couldn't quite match up to that, though Bowie's operatic flourish at the end of Ziggy Stardust did bring the proceedings to end on a high.