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The Kit Kat Klub Review by Andy Barding

THERE'S a mustachioed-man in a stripey shirt, somewhere in Turkey, whose desperation for a shag has turned him into one of the most famous people on this planet right now.

Click the right link and you'll find handpicked pictures of him enjoying a game of table tennis (he's the sporty type, evidently), lounging in his sexiest brown suit jacket, or lying saucily on a sunbaked beach.

The animated version of his lonely-dick ad is a work of considerable comic genius. A cheesy porn soundtrack and a couple of carefully targeted arrows along with the slogan "I like sex!" have made our friend the Turk into a walking, talking superstud of the most hilarious order. I would love to believe the stories that he's had millions of hits, that his Internet server is freaking out and that his phone has had to be disconnected for his own good.

We've all seen and heard his pigeon-English attempts to get laid. But just in case we need a reminder... "I kiss you!" "I invitate you!" David Bowie is all but falling off the stage in laughter at his coquette-Turkishness. It's a weird set-up - one of the most famous names in the world paying homage to (by sheer default) one of the most infamous. Whatever your name is, Turkish studman, David Bowie would urge you to take a bow.

Howard J sorts out Andy and Allison As if the idea of Bowie giving a completely free gig for the faithful and true isn't odd enough (no money changed hands for any tickets tonight - a remarkable and generous event by any standard) the night is surely to get odder. Just behind me is a stand-up comedienne you may recognise, Carla Rhodes, with her David Bowie ventriloquist's doll.

"I'll be keeping an eye out for you!" she'd told me in the queue earlier, as the little cloth David's eyes popped out on bits of string. I just knew, from that point, that this little chap would have to take a starring role at some point. But first things first.

'Life On Mars?', with the masterful piano of Mike Garson the only foil to Bowie's stupendous voice, opened the proceedings with a lump that would be hard to quench. This has to be the most awesome show-opener since 'Quicksand' ripped us all apart on the Earthling tour a couple of years ago. It maybe even beats that.

Quickly followed by 'Thursday's Child', and the introduction to this tiny stage of the rest of the band, it is evident that this is to be a special night. The band are altogether more rehearsed than at the handful of European things before this magical night, the songs coming alive at last in their tightness. Things are sounding good, good, good.

Somewhere in the set, 'Something In The Air' creeps in to seriously mash my head. I can only stand agog as David gives what I consider to be his finest vocal performance ever. Probably. With his eyes clammed shut, his throat visibly rippling and a fine steam of spittle flying from his mouth, David sings like his flight home to London depends on it. A remarkable performance.

I'm filled with the urge to share this moment somehow. But no need. The roar from behind and beside me is all-but-deafening. What can I add, except "superb"?

Other highlights are easy to pick. There are no lame ducks in this set. 'Can't Help Thinking About Me' rocked like it always should have done, and a dusted-down 'Ashes To Ashes' (complete with Mark Plati's funky bass parts - he and birthday girl Gail Ann Dorsey had swopped planks) was a genuine and welcome surprise in the set.

David's wit was as wicked and incisive as ever. "I told you it should have been the single," he muttered very obviously to Page 'Helmet' Hamilton after a rousing reception for 'Drive-In Saturday'. Then back to the first few rows - "industry joke". A glance at the champagne, cheese and celery-scoffing Virgin staffers in the gallery upstairs and behind... 'Or maybe not.'

Somewhere in the middle of all this, Ms Rhode's Union-jacketed puppet makes an appearance - flying onto the stage to be caught by David and flung out again just as quickly. Just as well, probably, that there's to be no double act tonight.

'Cracked Actor', complete with Ziggified harmonica parts, rocks like a bastard. But I can't enjoy the song - I'm concentrating too hard on NOT staring at Holly as she sings the words "suck baby suck"!

'Survive' was wonderful, 'The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell' more so. And a final blast of 'I'm Afraid Of Americans' in true rock god, guitar-heavy fashion reminds us that Bowie - as always - means business.

My only regret is I didn't get to hear 'Word On A Wing'. But the emotional charge of this song was more than adequately catered for by a totally stunning version of 'Stay'. Hats off to Mark Plati for nailing that riff.

David Bowie seems to be becoming a master of touring without touring. And while little one-offs like this might keep us on our toes, who would deny that they're much more interesting than a "night two-of-three at the NEC"?

You may need to bust a gut to get a ticket, but if you haven't already seen this finally-fine-tuned set you will be well rewarded for your attendance at London, Milan, Copenhagen... and anywhere else that might crop up along the way.

By ©Andy Barding.

24th November 1999.

David Bowie Wonderworld: Home Top The Kit Kat Club Photos #1
Created: Nov. 1999 © Paul Kinder Last Updated: 1/12/99