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Set List For Los Angeles First Night 2004

Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA, USA on 31 January 2004


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A 27-song set list, including four songs apiece from Heathen, Reality and Ziggy:


Track Listing


01 Rebel Rebel

02 New Killer Star

03 Reality

04 Fame

05 Cactus

06 All The Young Dudes

07 China Girl

08 I've Been Waiting For You

09 Slip Away

10 Days

11 A New Career In A New Town

12 The Loneliest Guy

13 The Man Who Sold The World

14 Hallo Spaceboy

15 Sunday

16 Under Pressure

17 Life On Mars?

18 Be My Wife

19 The Motel

20 Ashes To Ashes

21 White Light, White Heat

22 I'm Afraid Of Americans

23 "Heroes"



24 Hang On To Yourself

25 Five Years

26 Suffragette City

27 Ziggy Stardust


Someone passed some bliss among the crowd...

Last night David played the first of four LA shows that he'll be doing over the next week, the first two at The Shrine Auditorium and the remainder at The Wiltern. There's a palpable buzz in the air, long before David takes to the stage, and this audience is quite different to that of the previous show in Vegas.

Anticipation is high, and the crowd is peppered with some jolly colourful characters... (anyone remember the cowboy and his, erm... lady friend?) More evidence of this will become apparent when I launch my BowieNet picture gallery of this handful of US shows that I'm attending... and I'm taking a helluva lot of pictures too!


Anyway, as you'll gather from the reviews below, it was a great night, proving yet again how an appreciative audience can make a big difference to a performance. As you know kidz, it's a two-way thing... and everybody was giving last night.



So on to those online reviews... The first, from The Orange County Register, is worth posting here in full... The second, from The Los Angeles Times, isn't:


The Orange County Register - Better than ever, Bowie finds balance Now in full flourish, he brilliantly meshes the past with the present. By Ben Wener.

Typically, it works like this: Struggling songwriting lad scores a break, rises to the rank of rock star, manages at least one groundbreaking work to establish him as an Important Artist, then slowly fades into has-been oblivion.

With luck, he'll still pack 'em in on nostalgia tours a decade after his heyday. With a lot of luck, his relatively brief legend will be revered by a sizable cult of loyalists, though he probably won't be around to reap such rewards. And if he's truly a lasting, exceptional pop figure, he'll claw his way out of has-been oblivion and enjoy a celebrated comeback or two.

That describes just about everyone. Then there's David Bowie who, as he has proven again and again over the past 35 years, is far from your typical rock star.

Certainly his ever-mutating but sometimes spotty career has encompassed parts of all of the above. He's been a trendsetter and a bandwagon-hopper, a wildly daring provocateur and a bland pop commercialist seemingly past his prime.


Yet throughout his ups and downs he's remained in a class by himself, frequently coming back into vogue merely because he epitomizes an unattainable cool. It isn't at all surprising, then, that he currently is in the midst of the most prolonged and profound of his many comebacks.

What is jaw-dropping, however, is discovering that Bowie at 57 is vocally stronger and stylistically surer than Bowie adrift at 47 or topping the charts at 37. In a remarkable two-hour-plus performance Saturday night at the Shrine Auditorium, the first of four L.A. dates that conclude his first headlining U.S. tour in seven years, he was nothing short of a marvel.

Singing with astonishingly youthful power but also the sort of nuance and control that only comes with age, and conceiving an eye-grabbing but never distractingly theatrical show that revived most of his previous personas while placing them in fascinating new contexts simply put, he arguably has never been better. Not post-1980, that's for sure.

The reason: He's finally found balance. After a lengthy period of defiant I'm-not-done experimentation, during which he downplayed classics to the point of removing them from his repertoire altogether, Bowie now has reintegrated them in such a way that both feeds his unending hunger to forge ahead creatively and plenty satisfies his fans' desire to reel in the years.


That was evident right from the start here: Relaxed, friendly and smiling, the Englishman who now calls New York home came storming out with a rollicking "Rebel Rebel," letting the audience belt out its hooks for him, only to follow that hit with the "Scary Monsters"-ish throwback "New Killer Star." That's one of several incisive songs from his superb "Reality" album that, like the more somber "Heathen" before it, stems inadvertently from post-Sept. 11 paranoia and hopefulness.

From there on out, Bowie's set deftly teetered between songs even casual fans might know and newer pieces to please himself and genuine devotees (of which many were in attendance). More so than on his 1997 "Earthling" outing or his appearance on Moby's Area:2 festival, a great gig that now seems like an appetizer for this feast, Bowie dipped into his deep well for choice material.

Among the gems he pulled up: terrific renditions of "All the Young Dudes" (inducing much arm-waving) and "The Man Who Sold the World"; a funkier "Fame"; an amazing performance of "Life on Mars?" that sounded as though it were sung by a man half his age; a spot-on revival of "Under Pressure," with Gail Ann Dorsey more than capably covering Freddie Mercury's vocal gymnastics while also plucking out the tune's famous bass riff; and an all-"Ziggy Stardust" encore, including the title cut, a magnificent "Five Years" and roaring takes on "Hang on to Yourself" and "Suffragette City."

Set against this were bits from "Reality" and "Heathen," whose austere but edgy feel colored much of the old stuff. (Much credit for that should go to Bowie's first-rate backing band, including two longtime collaborators, pianist Mike Garson and guitarist Earl Slick, whose sustained freight-train-a-comin' solos mesmerized more than once.)


What was most impressive, though, was how Bowie wove the old and new together, grouping songs thematically without being obvious about it. "Dudes," for instance, fell in the midst of a quartet of covers, including the Pixies' "Cactus," "China Girl" (originally Iggy Pop's) and a torrid take on Neil Young's "I've Been Waiting for You." "The Man Who Sold the World," on the other hand, fell between two pieces about isolation and alienation, the stark drama of "The Loneliest Guy" and the fury of "Hallo Spaceboy."

By the end of the set, Bowie began to connect these dots for the audience. First came "Ashes to Ashes," in which Major Tom of "Space Oddity" has become a junkie, spilling into the Velvet Underground's drug rush "White Light/White Heat." Then came the night's best pairing, when he countered the thunderous intensity of the self-explanatory "I'm Afraid of Americans" with "the other side to that story," "Heroes." ("By now, this is your song, I think," he said.)

That was the near-conclusion of a masterful, thought-provoking and often poignant performance that is easily the best Bowie show I've seen, though admittedly my experiences go back only as far as his "Let's Dance" days. Note to fence-sitters: Shell out the dough for one of the three remaining dates (tonight at the Shrine and Tuesday and Saturday at the Wiltern Theatre). You will not be disappointed.

And a note to Bowie: About time for another live album, yeah? Sure hope you're taping these things. Clearly this is the one to commemorate.



Los Angeles Times - The stardust still sparkles around David Bowie in an engaging show that surveys his diverse career. By Natalie Nichols

"Is there life on Mars?" A lot of folks are wondering about that again, so it made sense for David Bowie to ask that musical question (from his 1971 tune "Life on Mars") as he brought the American leg of his first world tour in a decade to the Shrine Auditorium on Saturday. After all, the veteran British pop star has always played with concepts that manage to tap the zeitgeist. And his career has lasted so long, often remaining visionary in conception even when failing in execution, it's inevitable that his old ideas would slip neatly into modern streams of thought.

Certainly the title of his current (and 26th) album, "Reality," reflects his knack for capturing the times. For reality is now arguably the biggest concept being manipulated in many ways, from politics to pop culture. A track from that collection, "New Killer Star," reflected his concern for the broader picture, but the 2 hours and 15 minutes he was onstage mostly reminded us of his own restless creative journey.

But in a world where only a handful of artists of Bowie's stature remain active — and few new ones can sustain interest in their second album, let alone their 26th — it was impressive that he not only still had something to say but could also make us want to hear it.