The Sydney Morning Herald - Feb 21, 2004

Bowie goes full throttle

By Bernard Zuel

Entertainment Centre, February 20

The return of the lean, tanned duke was not elaborate - no characters or cracked actor, just a man and band. It was not quiet - twin guitars and a full throttle start of Rebel Rebel saw to that.

It was not just backward looking, either.

Following 1974's Rebel Rebel with a double from last year New Killer Star and Reality made that very clear.

Fit, happy, jovial even, David Bowie has found a way to avoid the frozen-in-history trap that has caught many of his contemporaries. The solution is as simple as the stage set on this tour: new songs that are as capable of exciting us now as he did a generation ago.

Hey, we're not going to complain about getting his own version of All The Young Dudes or gems from the great but too-little-known albums such as Low. (Although some of us don't really need to hear China Girl again.)

And to finally, after 33 years, hear him sing The Man Who Sold the World could make the night worthwhile on its own.

But that a haunting new song like The Loneliest Guy or a jagged I'm Afraid of Americans still kick stones means no one need feel guilty about the nostalgia.

Not that he will be feeling guilty. His voice is in great shape, he looks an act half his age and seems to be having one great time. And who wouldn't with this powerful band (bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and guitarist Earl Slick the standouts) behind him?

The old was revitalised and contextualised and the new was worthy of standing alongside. We got gags and energy. We got Life on Mars and Heroes.

Yeah, it's a return worth celebrating.