Oh! You Pretty Things...
David Bowie returned to Europe in style last night, with the first of 22 shows of the Summer 2004 European leg of his A Reality Tour Though this show (the 105th of the tour) at the ArenA in Amsterdam was dogged by bad sound, David wasn't going to let the fact spoil the evening. In fact, he almost turned it into a virtue by making many comic references to the dreadful echo, claiming we would be getting around 62 songs with the bounce back effect echoing around the vast football stadium.
He also proved that he still has remarkably good eyesight by pointing out somebody right at the very back of the 25,000 crowd: "Hi there, yes you all the way at the back in the green jumper with the little red logo on the chest... no not you, him next to you." There was much jollity all evening, one particular comment echoed (pun intended) in today's lyric quote... which I wouldn't have mentioned, but our guest reviewer has no such qualms, as you will notice shortly.
Personal highlights were my first-time-hearing on this tour of Station To Station, Quicksand and Diamond Dogs... All wonderful, but Station has the slight edge for transporting me right back to my very first Bowie show at Wembley in May 1976, when David opened the show with the very same song... one magical moment indeed.
Sister Midnight, Heathen and The Loneliest Guy were all wonderfully poignant moments, as ever, while Panic, Spaceboy, Hang On and Suffragette had everybody leaping around like possessed things. One of the lovely bonuses about witnessing the show from the photo pit is watching the audience during Dudes (50,000 arms swaying like some great field of corn in the summer breeze) ...not to mention getting the middle finger from DB. And I didn't manage to capture it, again! Must get a faster camera. Anyway, you can view thirty odd pictures that I did get in the VT section now. Click on any of the images here to get there.
Before I spoil her report completely by giving too much away, BowieNetter LizSK2 was there and she kindly supplied the following impressions:
So he?s been in America for 7 months. I watched in envy as the tour rolled across the country, flattening all in its path. New setlist additions, new scarves, same old shoes. I couldn?t wait to get to the first gig back on European soil.
It turns out I?m severely out of gig practice because, 2 days later, I?m still aching from the sheer exuberance of the performance at the Amsterdam ArenA. He?s as fresh as a daisy, but I?m getting too old for this. Arriving late I somehow got a great place about 5 rows from the front, no mean feat in a stadium filled with 30,000 fans. The setting was unusual, the stadium roof was on but it was still daylight. As soon as the cartoon kicked in a wave of happiness and contentment descended over me, like I was being transported back to all the gigs I did last year.
I never tire of Rebel Rebel, it really is the perfect gig opener. But then? Panic in Detroit! I?d never heard that live before, such a treat. He complained at us for singing Dudes, and said as our punishment we had to endure a song from the 80s! He took the piss out of the vast arena acoustics "You?ll be hearing these songs twice tonight, maybe more!"
He was in great form, tons of jokes and filled with enjoyment at being back in Europe. After over 100 gigs I don?t know where he finds the energy from. There was a cheeky dig at the Yanks he?d just left behind. "It?s so lovely to see a crowd filled with such pretty people. Everyone?s so pretty. And I should know, I just got back from America! I feel like a man finally finding water in the desert!"
It was such a wonderfully familiar feeling: seeing him grinning at us, seeing the belt, seeing Sus and Nemmy bouncing at the front, Cat?s infectious grin, Gails? soaring voice, Slicky?s playing even more killer than it was last year?I can?t think of anywhere I?d rather be and am now gutted my next gig isn?t until Monaco.
Watching the American reports with excitement at the new setlist additions I tried to avoid thinking about any new songs I might be getting, even refusing to say the names of the songs I wanted to hear the most. I can say it now because he played it: Station to Station. I have never wanted to hear a song more and my god the band nailed it. I had heard it once before; my first ever DB gig at Maine Road in 1990. I don?t remember that performance of it but I?ll never forget this one. This might sound flighty and over-exaggerated but I think I may have had some kind of religious experience during that song! I looked up (way up, the stage was much higher than usual) at him, the returning Thin White Duke throwing darts in lovers eyes and I wanted that moment never to end. A complete and perfect moment.
Diamond Dogs wasn?t half bad either. Quicksand completed the trilogy of songs I?d never heard before. All in all, a perfect return to Europe for him and a memorable night for me. Next stop Monte Carlo!
No it's not a scene from Macbeth, its the lovely triumvirate (albeit a very female one) of Susans,
Regina and Nemesis. That's our guest reviewer, LizSK2, peeping over Nemmy's shoulder!
Thanx a lot Liz... and what a hoot we had at Angel and Ram's party after, eh?
Here's the officially-confirmed 24-song setlist courtesy of HNB:
Amsterdam June 11th 2004
01 Rebel Rebel
03 Sister Midnight
04 New Killer Star
05 Panic In Detroit
08 All The Young Dudes
09 China Girl
10 The Loneliest Guy
11 The Man Who Sold The World
12 Heathen (The Rays)
13 Hallo Spaceboy
14 Under Pressure
15 Ashes To Ashes
17 Hang On To Yourself
18 Station To Station
19 I'm Afraid Of Americans20 "Heroes"
21 White Light, White Heat (Truncated version... DB wanted to get on to the next song!)
22 Diamond Dogs
23 Suffragette City
24 Ziggy Stardust
A Reality Tour continues at the IOW festival in the UK on Sunday June 13th.