The Times Leader - May 28, 2004

Bowie gives fans the royal treatment

By Alan K. Stout

SCRANTON - When David Bowie walked onto the stage at the Ford Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Thursday, the crowd reacted as if they were in the presence of rock 'n' roll royalty.

Indeed, they were.

The instant roar for the "Thin White Duke" was tremendous, and Bowie returned the favor by giving the crowd of 6,750 a wonderful performance.

The ageless Bowie, perhaps the Dorian Gray of rock, opened the show with an energetic performance of "Rebel, Rebel," and followed with The Pixies' "Cactus" and a rhythmic rendition of "Sister Midnight."

Bowie did an excellent job of mixing older gems with strong new material. "New Killer Star," from his latest CD "Reality," was an early highlight, as was the classic "All the Young Dudes," which he wrote and produced for Mott the Hoople. "China Girl" later had them dancing in the aisles.

Bowie held a warm rapport with his audience. Displaying English charm, he frequently broke into a broad smile and told the crowd on several occasions how happy he was to be in Scranton. He also prefaced many songs with short stories about their origins.

Bowie's six-piece band was excellent, and he played rhythm guitar during several numbers. Though he said in recent interviews this would be a "jeans and T-shirt" show, it did come with some flash. There was some very effective mood-setting lighting, an elevated platform and a large video screen that offered mood-enhancing images and live concert shots.

Bowie's fan base is loyal. Though some come to hear the classics and the big hits, others are such die-hards that they revel in the more obscure tracks. Thus, even when he dug in deeper into his catalog and dusted off a rare nugget, many in the crowd could be seen singing along.

Other highlights were a passionate performance of "Under Pressure" and the closing number, "Ziggy Stardust."

Though the show was only the second of the Montage concert season, Bowie has already set the tone and standard, and he is going to be pretty hard to top.

"I know when to go out. I know when to stay in. Get things done," said Bowie as he spoke the famous opening line to the hit "Modern Love." Bowie came out swinging on Thursday. Bowie got things done.