Oh we can't dance, we don't talk much*, we just ball and play...
David Bowie's A Reality Tour reached the Corel Center in Ottawa in Canada on Friday, and by all accounts it was a cracking show. Here are some interesting observations kindly supplied by BowieNetter Mark Rabinowitz, aka Withnail:
I'm not sure I can put into words what David did in Ottawa. It was simply the best show of the tour that I have seen. Granted I have only seen seven shows to date, but since one of them was Dublin night 2 (generally considered the first or second best on the tour) I feel like I can speak up. Simply put, the crowd was inspired.
From the get go, Sailor seemed to recognize that and in return, he gave the funniest, chattiest show I have ever seen, smiling during songs and keeping the audience in stitches in between. He seemed honestly blown away by the response he received for "The Motel," a song that he estimated only 25 people in the audience would actually know.
Continuing on from there he aped Brando during "China Girl" and did his now familiar "I'm on the radio" story for TMWSTW. "When I heard myself on the radio I went absolutely apeshit. If it ever it happens again, I'll do the same?.That's a little Clear Channel joke!"
Between "Heathen" and "Under Pressure," he not only intro'd the band, but went on a free-form riff about a blues song ("Don't Start Me Talking," challenging the audience to name the performer, as he couldn't remember. It was Sonny Boy Williamson, Sailor!), did a little beat box and said that before Gerry joined the band, he was a professor of micro palaeontology at Trinity College Dublin.
When the audience clapped for this he said: "You don't believe that, do you? It's complete and utter bollocks!" He then went on to riff, in an Irish accent, about "a wee piece of bone, that used to have flesh on it" to which Gerry responded that he should be careful because it can get "stuck in your 'troat'."
After "Days" David went off on a playful rant about how the trees from the set design have gone from a forest to a few pathetic branches and the Polyphonic Spree passing around some Koo-Ail to drink (Jim Jones and Jonestown ref.)
(Blam Note: I can't find any reference to the Jonestown cyanide-laced drink being something called "Koo-Ail", and I wonder if David actually said "Kool Aid", a reference to Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters as recorded in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe? I could be wrong.)
He then picked up the Stylophone and did "Slip Away" (after a mention about how the Uncle Floyd Show was on "two levels. A kids' level and a stoned level.")
After "Slip Away" he gave us a little lesson about the history of the Stylophone complete with a tease of "Space Oddity," actually playing the opening bars and singing the first line. The crowd went nuts, actually thinking he was going to play it. He then grinned mischievously (does he ever grin any other way?) and softly sang: "Golden Years, go-old, wop wop wop."
All in all, David was more playful than I have ever seen, with countless extended chatty bits, most of which were laugh out loud funny. Many of them won't translate to the written word, so you'll have to imagine it!
Brilliant, thanx so much for that, Withnail. Sounds like I missed a truly great show.
Many thanx also to BowieNetter Marik for permission to use her wonderfully atmospheric shots... and, as ever, to HNB for the officially confirmed 32-song set list. The Ottawa set list is a perfect example of why I wait for the official set list, the running order is quite different to versions posted elsewhere:
Ottawa April 2nd 2004
01 Rebel Rebel
02 Modern Love
03 New Killer Star
06 All The Young Dudes
07 The Motel
08 China Girl
09 Never Get Old
10 The Loneliest Guy
11 The Man Who Sold The World
12 Hallo Spaceboy
14 Heathen (The Rays)
15 Under Pressure
17 Slip Away
18 Looking For Water
19 I've Been Waiting For You
20 A New Career In A New Town
21 Be My Wife
22 Ashes To Ashes
23 Hang On To Yourself
25 I'm Afraid Of Americans
27 Blue Jean
30 Five Years
31 Suffragette City
32 Ziggy Stardust
A Reality Tour continues in Canada tonight with a show at the City Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City.
*Well, actually that's not completely accurate. In this particular case he did talk much!