David Bowie 2004-01-14 Chicago ,Rosemont Theatre – SQ 8+
101 Rebel Rebel.flac
102 New Killer Star.flac
104 Hang On To Yourself.flac
108 China Girl.flac
109 Fantastic Voyage.flac
110 She’ll Drive The Big Car.flac
112 The Man Who Sold The World.flac
113 Hallo Spaceboy.flac
114 Heathen (The Rays).flac
115 Under Pressure.flac
201 Panic In Detroit.flac
202 Ashes To Ashes.flac
203 Never Get Old.flac
204 White Light White Heat.flac
205 I’m Afraid Of Americans.flac
207 Let’s Dance.flac
208 Always Crashing In The Same Car.flac
209 Suffragette City.flac
210 Ziggy Stardust.flac
Excellent Audience Recording
REVIEW BY MICHAEL LAWRENCE
David Bowie concert review Jan. 14, 2004 in Rosemont, Illinois (Near Chicago) — Part of the REALITY TOUR (And, If David Bowie Would Take the “I” Out of Reality, He Might Sell Your House For Loads of Cash.)
Overall Concert Score: Quite Excellent
In what’s probably going to be known to me in the future as what’s the strangest journey of my life, I traveled from Wichita, Kansas yon to Chicago, Illinois to see a David Bowie concert in all of (his) splendor. Unlike what you could be thinking about me at the moment, time and money do not grow on trees, and embarking on this journey (which took, overall, 26 hours of traveling, while only spending about that much time in my place-of-destination) was certainly something that I don’t do everyday. (And that’s not only considering that it would be impossible based on our generally accepted understanding of space and time).
But I am bombarding you with my confusing sentence structures and ill-placed parentheses, and if you didn’t give up reading this report, then I applaud you with my most vigilant respects.
Excuse me. I’m going to have to remember that in this review, I’m just going to have to talk about the actual concert and not just dilly-dally in the introduction about irrelevant stuff like how tired I was right before the concert started, and how there was this one guy sitting directly behind me who looked like Jerry Stiller who wouldn’t let me stand up and there was this guy in front of me who wouldn’t sit down unless David was singing something from his new album. I’m just not going to do that!
Okay, I’m going to start the review … NOW!
As a rock fan, I had only been to three rock concerts in my life … and each one of them were Christian rock groups that I don’t really give a rats snot’s flip about. In fact, the only one of these groups that I have heard of before seeing them was Jars of Clay! And, I wasn’t really too enthusiastic to see them. For one, I didn’t know any of their songs! No … the only performer that I would most gladly want to see performing live (and is still capable of performing live, i.e. not The Beatles) was David Bowie. Also, I just about well have many of David Bowie’s songs memorized. So, if I want to go to a real rock concert, then it had better be David Bowie.
In a flit of probably what was extremely irresponsible, I bought one ticket to see David Bowie in September for this January concert about 800 miles away from where I live. “Why bloody not?” I asked myself. “It’s during my winter break and it is in the general vicinity of the Mid West!” Anyway, in purchasing this ticket, I had no idea that the online ticket agency (Ticket Master) was going to charge me 11 bucks for the “privilege” of using their nasty service and an extra 3 bucks for the “privilege” of having the ticket e-mailed to me (even though they knew perfectly well that it is cheaper for them to e-mail it to me than them physically mailing the ticket to me)! And so, being completely in the spirit of seeing David Bowie performing live, I gladly O-D’ed at the bank and had to pay them a $50 fee.
Oh crap, I’m rambling in irrelevancies! Never mind about them! I’m just going to skip all the details (like how it was like staying in most expensive Motel 6 on the planet and how it took me two hours to get to the Natural History museum and being too tired to want to look at anything). I’m going to stop doing that. In fact, I’m just going to forget about everything and start talking about the actual concert. Now!
It was MACY GRAY! Um … Yeah. The concert started at 7:30, but I had to watch Macy Gray for the first 45 minutes of it. I was a bit put-out by it, actually! I mean … David performed with the DANDY WARHOLS on the European leg of this tour! And we Americans, I guess, aren’t good enough for the Dandy Warhols … we’re a MACY GRAY audience!
Fortunately, unlike my pre-notions of what Macy Gray would be like, she actually wasn’t all that bad. She has a strange voice, actually … No wonder David Bowie wanted her to be his opening act! They both have the strangest voices! Macy Gray, however, has something that David Bowie never had: boobs. She also had a very, very bushy afro-puff, and she was always doing something weird with her lips as if she were thinking about kissing her microphone, but couldn’t rally up the guts to do it. I also thought it particularly amusing that she completely failed to excite the audience. In fact 33 percent of the audience wasn’t even there! They either showed up during Macy Gray’s performance or when they were taking down her set. At one point of her performance, she was trying to get the audience to clap … and they just wouldn’t do it! Later on, her band’s drummer, who is a very large black man, tried to get us to clap along with the grooves. Considering that the audience was comprised mostly of middle-class white people, about 15 percent of those present complied, mostly out of fear.
All in all, though, her performance wasn’t really bad. I didn’t at all like her band’s really LAME rendition of “Those Were the Days” from All in the Family … That was something so stupid that it might even have been out of Weird Al Yankovic’s tastes! But everything else was pretty cool … it was loud. That’s all that really mattered.
At this point, I wasn’t sure about this audience, thinking that they were all reserved tight-wads, but once Macy Gray was done and they completely changed the set (including rolling down a new floor on the stage … oh the extravagances…) these people were screaming so passionately for David Bowie that it badly injured their windpipes! Also by that time, practically every seat in the auditorium was full! (It was also a very small auditorium … it was half the size of that “big” auditorium in Wichita, Kansas.) I was sitting in the balcony … apart from the guy in front of me standing up, swaying back-and-forth half the time and the Jerry Stiller-looking-guy in back of me screaming his head off when I tried standing up … I could see Bowie quite well! But, I was just *that* far away that I couldn’t properly distinguish his facial features. They had some giant screens above the stage with his face on it. Judging that the face on the screen matched what that guy was doing on the stage, I knew that it had to be him.
I thought that he was a good performer at the concert. Frankly, I wasn’t too optimistic about that bit! I knew that he isn’t really a good singer, and he probably goes through enough takes and a lot of production to make his voice sound well on his albums … I wasn’t too sure if he could really “cut it” on live performances. I’ve seen two of his live taped performances, the Ziggy Stardust movie and the famed Serious Moonlight performance, and I wasn’t terribly impressed with either of those. Also, I have a clip of him performing “Young Americans” that sounds like he had larengitis or something! Nevertheless, probably being a combination of physically being at the concert, the volume’s booming in my ears, and the fact that I spent somewhere around $300 to be there (and, essentially, even if the concert was awful, I would enjoy it anyway, just so that I wouldn’t think that I’ve wasted $300), I truly enjoyed the concert!
One other reason that I simply *had* to go see David Bowie this year is that his new album is so danged good … it has his best concentration of songs ever since Scary Monsters! He performed four songs from this album. “New Killer Star” (the best song from the new album), “Days,” “Never Get Old” (the second best from the new album), and “She’ll Drive the Big Car.” All of these tracks are simply fantastic, and he performed them all beautifully! I wouldn’t have protested at all if he would have also performed “Pablo Picasso,” “Fall Dogs Bomb the Moon,” “Try Some, Buy Some,” and “Reality” from his new album, as they all are as good as the best songs from his old glory days.
His album previous to this, Heathen was also a good album, (but I don’t think it has such a great combo of songs compared to Reality). He didn’t perform my favorite from that album “Slow Burn,” but he did perform his Pixies’ cover “Cactus” as well as “Afraid,” which are songs that I enjoy.
There were also two other recent songs that he sung. There was the always-wonderful, and about the only thing good that came out of his collaboration with the Nine Inch Nails, “I’m Afraid of Americans.” He also performed “Hallo Spaceboy” from his 1995 Outside album, which unfortunately is a song that I can never get into. Of the 26 songs he performed that night, “Hallo Spaceboy” was one of the two songs that I never liked. And, consequently, I didn’t particularly enjoy watching him sing it!
He also performed a sizable chunk of songs from his 80s pop-glory days (Fortunately!) He performed “Fashion” and “Ashes to Ashes” from Scary Monsters, “China Girl” and “Let’s Dance” from Let’s Dance, and “Under Pressure” which he collaborated with Freddie Mercury. I was thrilled that he sung “China Girl” (one of my favorite Bowie songs). “Let’s Dance,” he performed in the encore, and the beginning of it was completely different! It was played like a light, Spanish song or something! Strange … I didn’t even recognize it except for the lyrics! But then it soon picked up into that dance song we’ve all come to know and love, but it had a more modern sound. I wished he’d have done it more like it was in the old days, but I was happy to have heard it! “Under Pressure,” I wasn’t head-over-heels glad I heard him performing this one (…what about “Loving the Alien,” “Blue Jean,” or “Modern Love?”…), but I oughtn’t complain!
Of course, Bowie’s glory days was in the 70s, and nearly everybody in the audience was utterly thrilled to have heard him play all of these old favorites. He sung a whopping four songs from Ziggy Stardust to my merriment! “Hang Onto Yourself,” “Starman” (yay!), “Suffragette City” (and, of course, the “Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am” bit everyone screamed out), and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to close the entire show than with a rousing rendition of “Ziggy Stardust.” Also, from his Ziggy period, he performed “Rebel, Rebel” (which opened the show), and my least favorite song from Aladdin Sane, “Panic in Detroit.”
He was rather scant with selecting songs from his much-hailed Berlin Trilogy. “Heroes” was *most* essential, and this was one of the greatest performances he gave that night! … Although, I couldn’t really see it, because my view was obstructed… I saw it on the television screen, and most of the lights were turned off on the stage except for a spotlight shining from behind him, just like that music video! He also performed “Fantastic Voyage” from Lodger and “Always Crashing in the Same Car” from Low.
He performed absolutely nothing from his Great White Duke period from 1975-76. “Fame” might have been nice to hear, but it was no great tragedy.
His pre-Ziggy material was also very scant, only performing “Life on Mars?” and “The Man Who Sold the World.” This means that he didn’t perform my absolutely favorite song of his, “The Space Oddity.” Nevertheless, he did a good job checking off MANY of the songs that I would put in my top 20! “China Girl,” “Heroes,” “Starman,” and “Ziggy Stardust” comprise the rest of my top 5 … so that completely makes up for the absence of “The Space Oddity” with flying colors!
The only other song that he performed, which never had a home in an album, is a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “White Light, White Heat.” He’s been covering this song for years.
Now that I talked about the songs he performed (and what I thought about them), I’ll lastly address Bowie’s stature. He wore this really strange belt that had a dangly bit in a very suspicious area … and his clothes were really tight (which is a bit strange for a 57-year-old man) … but he looked comfortable and, when he was not singing, he conducted himself very cooly and casually. His sense of humor was not really riotous, but he received a few chuckles. Maybe the funniest piece of humor from the show was when he removed a harmonica from a box and said something like: “Here are my new dentures.”
I’m hoping that maybe on his *next* tour that he would come someplace closer … I mean Wichita, Kansas ain’t exactly in the middle of nowhere, you know. (Well, maybe it is, but there are many other cities that are a shorter drive to than Chicago.) There’s Dallas, Texas for starters. St. Louis, Missouri … heck! Kansas City, Missouri is only three hours away! He could go *there*! Oklahoma City, the home of the Flaming Lips, is close as well. I could have gone to the Denver, Colorado performance, but I would have had to miss my first day of classes … I wouldn’t particularly mind missing classes to see David Bowie, but I definitely cannot miss the first day of ’em. I guess that he’s staying away from the American Bible Belt because this is where all of the rednecks live who like listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Willie Nelson when Bowie caters more to an art audience. Er, whatever. I got to see David Bowie and that’s all I care about! If I get another chance in the future, I reckon that I’ll go again! I’ll sit closer next time … and stay away from men who look like Jerry Stiller …