Saturday, February 13, 2010

David Bowie: A Reality Tour

David Bowie (born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947 in Brixton, London, England, United Kingdom) is an iconic English singer, songwriter and musician. David Bowie has hardly been heard or seen in the past five years, popping up only as a kind of sonic shadow, a backing vocalist on a handful of tracks by friends and new favorites, including Arcade Fire, David Gilmour, Alicia Keys, Scarlett Johansson and TV On The Radio.

David Bowie’s greatest hits live!” reads the sticker on the attractive packaging of this newly released, but recorded back in 2003, two-CD set. And nobody’s going to be complaining that the promise isn’t delivered, as Bowie – backed by a solid yet flexible band that hits each peak with precision – runs through elegant renditions of his most-pervasive successes. Under Pressure, Rebel Rebel, Ashes to Ashes, Ziggy Stardust, All the Young Dudes: all present and correct.

Like R.E.M.’s recent Live at the Olympia set, A Reality Tour was recorded in Dublin; the crew must come cheap. That, or fans in the Irish capital are simply unbeatable. The latter argument for the recording location is supported somewhat by the accompanying credits: after listing the various musical contributors, the emotionally charged audiences at the Point Depot” are acknowledged. And there’s no doubt those in attendance make themselves heard, though such is the high-quality mixing work on this release that their vociferous appreciation is kept at a distance until such a time as a roar is absolutely key.

With 33 tracks stretching well over two hours, A Reality Tour isn’t exactly suited to single-sitting listening. It’s also far from a genuine greatest hits collection, though it certainly does feature a number of Bowie’s most-loved songs. But it is a great document of one of the world’s most inspirational recording artists – and performers – proving that age can’t quench the man’s desire to create, communicate and, ultimately, entertain. A maverick talent whose place in the pop annals was assured long ago, Bowie’s continuing hunger sets a fabulous example for the up-and-coming could-be-‘Heroes’ crowd.

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