FAN CONCERT REPORTS
USA, VA, Washington, Fairfax
(Sunday 16th May 2004)
Report: Fair David in Fairfax
Good afternoon! As I'm sure you've all seen by the set lists out already, last night marked the return of Loving The Alien and proved to be another night of extended musical-spiritual ecstasy for myself and the sold-out crowd at the Patriot Center. I got these tickets late and when I tell you I was in the last row at the very farthest point from the stage, it is no exaggeration. And although the experience lacked some of the immediacy that I found 12th row at Hershey, I can tell you that there was no shortage of energy in row Z! I know I said this one would be my last for the tour, but after LTA was re-introduced, I just know I won't ever forgive myself if I don't make it to Holmdel. So I'm going there too! Just when you think you're prepared for whatever will come from the stage...
So for the first time in my experience on the tour, there were no 'half songs!' I was beginning to think it was me! DB brought out a music stand 'strictly for show with my eyes' for LTA as it is still a 'rehearsal song' - one, according to him, done less than four times. I'll have to check that with TheLodger's stats...
Anyway, start off with a fantastic crowd! I have to hand it to you all, there was a great vibe going on at this one. DB himself told us we were pleasant - always nice to hear, even if we suspect it's just polite stage-banter But he did an extraordinary amount of talking... post Hang On To Yourself he proceeded to explain that whenever he does Ziggy era stuff he has a particular stance he inadvertently slips into...one foot thrown back behind the other that promotes the "wild man lean in to attack and devour the mike stance." Turns out he 'nicked it' from Gene Vincent who had buggered up his leg before a show that DB saw and thought it was cool. So it morphed its way into the Ziggy persona. Fun story to hear but even better when he ends with a sexy 'bee bop a lula'!! What can't this man get away with singing?!?
Again, Sister Midnight. Wow. Here's how I see it...DB's got three separate stage voices that he employs: the crazy cockney brit (you're face, to face with TMWSTW), the mainstream rock you to your bones (white light gonna make me go insane), and the low, sexy, sultry take my breath away utterances that make me weak in the knees. When he started in on "I had a dream last night" I think he may just have galvanized what up until that moment had been only an overwhelming obsession into a full-blown addiction.
Fun surprise with Fashion. Again, I say I was in row Z and even there his catwalk antics through the song were great. And oh those trrrrrrrrills on 'Turn to the RRRRRRRRight!"
Instead of the regular invitation to sing along with All The Young Dudes, he told us it was a brand new one, that none of us would know it and to not even try to sing along. Ha. Like stopping a freight train of excitement! And we all were swaying our hands over our heads and he was leading us and at the end he decided that he must look like Jack LaLane doing his calisthenics on TV.
And again, the Loneliest Guy was exceptional. I took a break from my dancing frenzy to stare with the binoculars and really enjoyed the persona he created. Later we were told that with particular mime movements he can completely change the feeling of the song - his right hand grasping his left forearm communicates desperation and loneliness whereas the funky hand on tilted hip changes it all! And was that meeme or mime he was doing anyway?
More banter about the Irish (and whether they and the Australians really rule the world) and one particularly excited gal in the front row goes crazy when he introduces Gerry. "Are you Irish, love?" DB asks and she says yes. Gerry's response, quietly, is "one by one!" Whereupon there's animated debate as to whether he should share his three words or whether they'll go over like a lead balloon. DB finally gives up and Gerry approaches the mic and says simply "I-R-A." DB's right...and you can hear it crash and burn amid the chuckles of many at the ridiculousness of it all!
And Supermen was excellent, although it was introduced as sophomoric (or was it solipsistic?)
So I do have to comment on the irony of "I'm Afraid of Americans" being played at a venue called the Patriot Center. An unbelievable assault on the senses between the sounds, the lights and the animation on the screens, it made me start really thinking about the song itself and whether I agree with the stereotype. How powerful is that? - to be able to make people really analyze themselves and their labels, come to conclusions and decided to embrace the inevitable truth? I'm afraid of them too, and I am one!
There was this moment of visual imagery that I actually gasped aloud. At the 'God is an American' moment he puts his arms out into a crucifixion position with five spots behind him - one at his head, one at each hand and one out on either side at floor level that create a triangle and it looked, I mean really looked from where I was standing like the lights were shooting from his head and hands. Talk about religious experience!
It felt like everyone really enjoyed themselves. It was the most applause for the kickin' band that I've seen so far. To be honest, I'm not sure we give them enough credit. It takes a tremendous amount of talent to play alongside a legend in his prime. Earl's blazing solos, Mike's perfectly dissonant keyboard stylings (I learned to play the piano so I could tackle 'Time'), Catherine's multi-instrumentals (and fantastic vocals on Panic In Detroit), Sterling's aggressive attacks on the drumset (and those CUT biceps!) and, of course, Gail Ann's most amazing voice, bass and stage presence. Really, I can't imagine the experience would be the same without them. I raise my glass high to you all!
Finally, I have always thought the music played immediately before and after a concert is very important to both set the scene and to close the event. This one began with the 'jam session' with DB on harmonica done in cartoon that was then changed into a video of the whole band. Awesome way to get into the moment. But the song that really gets me is the one that plays as we walk out of the venue... Sleepwalkers - the dreamy, slide guitar instrumental. I stagger out, each time in a trance and am, if not a sleepwalker, I must be a dreamwalker. Here's looking forward to the next dream at Holmdel!
From: Jason S
It was the best Bowie show I have seen so far. The acoustic Loving the Alien was excellent as was Station to Station.
I was at last night's concert, which happened to have been re-scheduled for my 27th birthday, and I took notes.
Bowie made some interesting comments in-between songs. Before Fame, he said, "I can't take my eyes off American television." Before going into China Girl, he said, "A lot of my audience lives with their mother for some reason." He also added the lyric, 'Oh, baby just you shut the fuck up' during the song.
Interestingly, he said before going into Panic In Detroit, he called it "The first song I ever wrote about terrorism." After Station To Station was finished, he said, "I've been going back to the station thing, I like it." Loving The Alien was re-introduced as "so rehearsal" and after he was finished with the parred-down version , he quipped, "I kind of liked that one." From there on out, Bowie and the band were pretty much on autopilot.
(A Reality World Tour: North American Leg)