With the new album, out in 2003, Bowie began what no one could have guessed was his last tour in the Fall of 2003, with a swing through Europe and England, before lighting on North America beginning in December. The tour came as close to me as Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheater on May 8, 2004, but as I was barely employed at the time, attendance was unquestionably impossible. I was sanguine about it since the last Bowie concert had been such a powerful, intimate experience, this was an outdoor shed where three years earlier I had seen Roxy Music. That venue was very much a blanket, picnic baskets and vino-on-the-grass sort of thing. I’m fine even now with having skipped it.
After the US leg, the tour went back to Europe by June, with the Oslo date being the site of an unnerving event that barely presaged what was to come. Some person in the audience threw a lollipop onstage and it smacked Bowie in the face; rattling him soundly. Three dates later, in Germany, Bowie was said to suffer a pinched nerve that was re-diagnosed as a blocked coronary artery. The remaining tour dates were cancelled and never re-scheduled. David Bowie the performer was going on ice for a time being.
Later that Fall, a year after the album had dropped, there was a DVD of the concert that had happened a year earlier in Dublin, and had famously been the second longest show that Bowie had ever given. Thirty songs were delivered on the over two and a half hour show and the breadth of material was admirable. Ten songs from the last two albums were given play with the rest being a well curated selection of deep cuts and classic canon that managed to avoid the 80s hits that still haunted Bowie [and rightly so]. The crack band here had the core members that I had seen five years earlier [Gail Ann Dorsey, Mike Garson, Sterling Campbell] with the dependable Earl Slick having replaced Reeves Gabrels for most of this period. I remember seeing this retail for less than the price of a CD in the wrong sort of store and was impressed. Moreso, when my wife bought it for me as a gift! It was a great show to have on DVD. Watching this would get across the hows and whys of David Bowie far more successfully than the other two concerts that I had earlier on laserdisc [“Ziggy Stardust – Hammersmith Odeon” and “Serious Moonlight”]. Which was a good thing, since this DVD might be the only glimpse of Bowie in concert that anyone might see for a while. Little did we know at the time.
Next: …Bowie Drought Begins In Earnest