Having never seen the David Bowie Reality Tour DVD, this newly released two CD set with bonus tracks has clearly outlined what I’ve been missing. Virtually a greatest hits collection performed live, A Reality Tour clearly shows an artist proud of his history and one that’s having a good time playing a variety of material. It also makes it obvious that it’s time for him to hit the road again.
With A Reality Tour DVD already available, I first questioned what the actual point of a CD set being released six years later would serve. But Bowie is a great performer with equally great material and sometimes the thought of watching a DVD is a little tougher than throwing a CD into any ol’ CD player. Without hesitation, the CD set has already been transferred from car-to-car and now finds a home on my iPod.
At the time of this recording back in 2003-2004, Bowie was 56 years old. But, what you hear is a man who sounds no different than the one singing on his original master recordings. Bowie, after all these years, remains in top form. Over the course of two and half hours, Bowie and his band rip through 33 tracks that include a chilling combination of his biggest hits and most obscure album cuts.
Bowie also takes an interesting stab at Mott The Hoople’s version of All The Young Dudes, which he's only performed in '73, '83 and '95, and a surprising version Sister Midnight, which was written by Bowie but originally recorded by Iggy Pop for his 1977 album The Idiot. As fans, we get to hear what things might have been like if Bowie had kept the song for himself, his reworking on Lodger the exception. It comes off like a fresh track off Scary Monsters and feels like a long lost classic.
We get the majority of the big hits (Heroes, Changes, Fame and Rebel, Rebel), but several of them are missing, including Let’s Dance and Modern Love. Only China Girl make it from the Let’s Dance album and that’s a CD only bonus cut.
A Reality Tour does what it’s supposed to do. It’s a great sample and souvenir from the last tour of one of rock’s greatest voices.