David Bowie's Live Reality Revisited
Now Bowie fans can rejoice over the news that A Reality Tour has finally been remastered as a double-CD. Sweetening the package are three bonus tracks performed on the tour but not included on the original DVD: “China Girl,” “Breaking Glass” and “Fall Dog Bombs The Moon.” The 33-song configuration will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting January 26, 2010 through ISO RECORDS and Columbia/Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
To celebrate the CD release, the accompanying “A Reality Tour” concert film makes its Fuse broadcast premiere on January 26th (check local listings).
With its iconic cover image of denim-clad David Bowie wielding his vintage black-and-white Supro Dual-Tone electric guitar, A REALITY TOUR has emerged as the definitive career overview. The songs that he ultimately chose for release weave through virtually every phase of his life, dating back to the title tune of his 1971 LP, The Man Who Sold The World.
The tour drew thunderous critical acclaim. Writing in the New York Times about his sold-out Madison Square Garden show, Jon Pareles said: “Unlike many other rockers of his generation, Mr. Bowie, 56, made his recent songs sound just as trenchant as the oldies…Mr. Bowie has sung many of these songs countless times, but with a shifted inflection here and a sly gesture there he made clear that he was still thinking through them, bringing them into the here and now” (12/17/03). Of the same show, Jim Farber of the New York Daily News noted: “Bowie was in burly voice and brisk shape Monday, looking and sounding at least 20 years younger than his actual age…His last two albums reunited him with [his former producer] Tony Visconti. Together, they've rekindled Bowie's talent for compelling melodies and hot riffs” (12/17/03). Elsewhere, Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune said: “He arrived in peak voice with a powerhouse band and a set list that soothed nostalgic cravings even as it worked as pointed commentary” (1/14/04).
The 1970s were especially productive years for Bowie, and he pays homage to them with live versions of more than a dozen titles: “Changes” and “Life On Mars?” (from Hunky Dory, 1971); the trilogy sequence of “Five Years,” “Hang On To Yourself” and “Ziggy Stardust” (from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972); “All the Young Dudes” (1972); “Rebel Rebel” (from Diamond Dogs, 1974); “Fame” (co-written with John Lennon, from Young Americans, 1975); “Be My Wife” and “Breaking Glass” (from Low, 1977); “Heroes” (1977); and “Fantastic Voyage” (from Lodger, 1979). There is also a rare live version of “Sister Midnight” that Bowie co-wrote with Iggy Pop from The Idiot, Iggy’s 1977 debut solo LP (post-Stooges), which Bowie produced.
Bowie recalls the ’80s with “Ashes To Ashes” (from Scary Monsters, 1980), “Under Pressure” (the one-off single that he recorded with Queen in 1981), and “Loving The Alien” (from Tonight, 1984). Four songs (three of them co-written with Brian Eno) originated on Bowie’s ’90s albums Outside (“Hallo Spaceboy,” “The Motel,” 1995) and Earthling (“I’m Afraid Of Americans,” “Battle For Britain (The Letter),” 1997).
The lion’s share of songs that Bowie performed on A REALITY TOUR (and chose for release) were drawn from his two most recent albums at the time, 2002’s Heathen (“Cactus” [written by Black Francis of the Pixies], “Sunday,” “Slip Away,” “Afraid,” and “Heathen [The Rays]”), and 2003’s REALITY (“New Killer Star,” “Reality,” “The Loneliest Guy,” “Never Get Old,” “Bring Me the Disco King,”and “Fall Dog Bombs The Moon”).
In addition to Bowie, musicians on A REALITY TOUR include Gerry Leonard (band leader/guitar/vocals), Sterling Campbell (drums/vocals), Earl Slick (guitar), Gail Ann Dorsey (bass guitar/vocals), Catherine Russell (keyboards/vocals/percussion/guitar), and Mike Garson (keyboards).
A REALITY TOUR by DAVID BOWIE (ISO/Columbia/Legacy