Toronto Sun - 2nd April 2004

Bowie played guitar

By Jane Stevenson

Air Canada Centre, Toronto
Thursday, April 1, 2004

TORONTO - David Bowie became a reality in Toronto last night.

After a bad case of the flu lead to the postponement of Bowie's original A Reality Tour date at the Air Canada Centre last December, The Thin White Duke appeared in all his glory on stage last night.

Needless to say, it was well worth the wait for the sold-out crowd of 13,500.

The 57-year-old Bowie and his razor sharp, six-piece band performed a stunning, sometimes challenging, two-hour-and- 15-minute set with plenty of emphasis on songs from his last two albums - 2003's Reality and 2001's Heathen.

Coming across well in that regard were such new songs as New Killer Star, Never Get Old, and his cover of The Pixies' Cactus.

And while Bowie's continued insistence on reinvention may have tested the patience of some - like one of two loud-mouth females behind me who screamed out "Play your hits baby!" - he also didn't hold back on the chestnuts either.

For instance, he kicked the evening off with Rebel Rebel and such classics as Modern Love, Fame, All The Young Dudes, China Girl, The Man Who Sold The World, Under Pressure, Ashes To Ashes, I'm Afraid Of Americans, Heroes, Suffragette City and Ziggy Stardust followed.

Dressed down in a velvet-adorned black jean jacket with tails, a black T-shirt and black jeans with runners, it was more Bowie the boy last night than Ziggy Stardust or any other of his numerous, more glamourous stage personas from the past.

As for his stage, it too was about as minimalist as Bowie gets.

With a large screen behind him, that alternately showed animation, visuals or the band members, the singer mainly stayed on a tiny catwalk that brought him marginally closer to the audience.

Occasionally, he ventured up on two of three large platforms above the stage.

There was definitely a love affair going on between the still-vital singer and his fans.

"Lovely!" proclaimed Bowie at one point. "Which a nice bunch of people!"

Meanwhile, Bowie's earlier postponement meant his opening act was changed from freaky, funky soul singer Macy Gray to choral/symphonic pop group The Polyphonic Spree.

In the words of Bowie, who previously brought The Spree over to England two years ago: "God bless the Polyphonics."

The Dallas collective, made up of two dozen singers and musicians who dress in white robes with all the colours of the rainbow trimming their hems, proved to be the perfect happy, bouncy musical appetizer to Bowie.

Think The Flaming Lips performing Godspell, and you're on the right track.

Perched on two pulpit-like ramps, animated vocalist Tim Delaughter, formerly of Trippy Daisy, led his bandmates through 40 minutes of rousing, happy music and by the end you were almost hoping for their return to the stage at the end of Bowie's set.

If you didn't get your Bowie fix last night, pop music's original chameleon returns for a May 14 show at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont.