David Bowie / A Reality Tour / DVD Review


First there was Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture. In the 80’s, there was Serious Moonlight. Now Columbia Music Video has released the latest and best David Bowie concert on DVD. This complete show, filmed in Dublin in November 2003 is presented in widescreen format with a beautiful 5.1 surround sound mix. 

A Reality Tour chronicles Bowie’s recent world tour and presents us with behind the scenes footage and 30 songs spanning the chameleon’s distinguished 35 year career. Luckily, Bowie didn’t skimp on material from his latest releases, as a full one third of the show is devoted to material from Heathen and Reality. The stand out here is the beautifully haunting 8 minute opus, “Bring Me the Disco King.” Of course, the classics are well represented. “Rebel Rebel,” “Heroes,” and “All the Young Dudes” are all present. The real highlight of this disc is the rarities like “Fantastic Voyage” and “Loving the Alien” that Bowie and his outstanding back up band perform. Pianist Mike Garson gets to direct the show on the Outside track “The Motel” while guitarists Earl Slick and Gerry Leonard both rock the solo on “Hang onto Yourself.” Bassist Gail Ann Dorsey channels the spirit of Freddie Mercury on “Under Pressure” and drummer Sterling Campbell goes into a polyrhythmic spree on “Hallo Spaceboy.”

The only real downfall of this disc is the editing and video effects. At points the shots are cut together so fast that it almost becomes epilepsy inducing. It also seems like they threw in effects just for the thrill of using them. The color shifts, freezing images and wipes get annoying after the first 600 times they’re used. Luckily, the band’s performance is top notch and the song selection can’t be beat.

This disc is the perfect way to relive the show if you happened to attend a performance on Bowie’s mostly sold out 2003-04 world tour. If the band never came to your town, get this disc to see exactly what you missed. If you can get past the frantic editing and over use of video effects, you’ll see a top notch show from one of the year’s best tours. For $12.99, A Reality Tour is a deal that can’t be beat.