David Bowie: A Reality Tour

David Bowie
A Reality Tour
(Columbia/Legacy)

This is a great album … or is it? I wasn’t sure what I was reviewing at first. All I knew was that it was a 2-CD live album from David Bowie. When I popped in the first CD, I heard something familiar. Besides the opening riff of “Rebel, Rebel,” I knew I had heard this new arrangement somewhere before. After the first few tracks it all became clear … this album contains the audio tracks from the spectacular DVD Bowie put out in 2004 to chronicle the “Reality” tour. Aha!

If you’re a Bowie fan and not familiar with the DVD release, you should be – the DVD is definitely worth the investment. It was filmed at Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, in 2003 during the Reality Tour. The set list spans his 30-plus years in the music buisness – including wonderful versions of “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Heroes.”

Five years later, Columbia/Legacy has decided to remaster and issue the audio tracks from the show. Bowie’s kicking it with a killer band, which includes longtime guitarist and Rick Neilsen nemesis Earl Slick (John Lennon, Ian Hunter), amazing bassist Gail Ann Dorsey (The The, Indigo Girls, Seal) and sought after drummer Sterling Campbell (Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, Soul Asylum). Three bonus tracks (“Fall Dogs Bombs The Moon,” “Breaking Glass” and “China Girl”) have been added to the CD release to sweeten the deal. To be honest, they are a little flat and could/should have been left off.

Long story short – the attraction of this release is familiarity. Without the visual cues of the DVD, it doesn’t hold the listener’s attention. My recommendation is to pick up the DVD first. If you like it, splurge on the CD set.