Scranton Times - 28th May 2004

Concert Reviews
Often-eccentric Bowie proves he's in a class all by himself

By Josh McAuliffe

Over the course of his 35-year career, David Bowie has adopted numerous personas.

Ziggy Stardust. The Thin White Duke.

He's had a thirst for experimentation like nobody else, jumping from genres as disparate as folk, glam, punk, industrial and electronica.

Thursday night, he was simply David Bowie, musical genius.

In front of 6,750 fans at Ford Pavilion at Montage Mountain, the rock chameleon put together a stellar couple hours worth of new stuff, old stuff, obscure stuff and other people's stuff.

After a satisfying opening set by Welsh rockers Stereophonics, the man VH1 called the seventh greatest rocker of all-time took the stage, looking remarkably fit for a 57-year-old.

The set began with the familiar opening chords of the rock radio staple, "Rebel Rebel." The crowd roared its appreciation.

"Yeah, thank you, that's great," said a smiling Mr. Bowie. "Gee, it's nice to see you."

A few years back, Mr. Bowie swore he would never perform any of his old classics in public again. Thankfully, he came to his senses and changed his mind. After all, why would he want to deprive his fans of so many terrific songs?

Songs that on this night included the soaring "Heroes" and the melancholy "Man Who Sold The World," both delivered flawlessly by the artist and his crack band. Mr. Bowie also made sure to include material from his self-proclaimed mid-1980s "sellout" period, like the fan favorite "Little China Girl."

"Oh baby, there's a mosquito in my mouth," he riffed halfway through. He wasn't kidding. There really was one.

What's so great about Bowie is that he's continued to explore new musical frontiers as his career has progressed. While most other artists his age have traded in recording for full-time touring status (after all, that's where all the money is), he continues to put out challenging new material every couple years.

From his critically-acclaimed 2003 release, "Reality," he performed the hard-driving title cut and the somber, piano-driven "The Loneliest Guy." Other more recent fare included the furious "I'm Afraid of Americans."

Fortunately, there was nothing from Tin Machine, Mr. Bowie's ill-fated late 80s hard rock side project. There were, however, thrilling covers of the Pixies' "Cactus" and Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso."

Despite Mr. Bowie's good-natured warning not to, the crowd giddily sang along to a note-perfect "All the Young Dudes," the Mott the Hoople hit written by Mr. Bowie. There was also a goose bump-inducing "Under Pressure," with dynamo bassist Gail Ann Dorsey taking over the late Freddie Mercury's parts on the old Bowie-Queen collaboration.

By the end of the encore, which included the great "Ziggy Stardust," this much was clear - David Bowie is a class act, in a class all by himself.

İScranton Times Tribune 2004.