David Bowie, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London, 08-09-03

The security was tighter than Jonathan Ross’ CBGBs T shirt. Nerves seemed high everywhere: from us lot trying to get a good position in the studio and, I would imagine, from those trying to get a satellite to connect to cinemas across Europe and Asia.

So back to the aforementioned Mr Ross, who did a fabulous job all night might I add. He told us that David would come out and do a warm up to check the sound, which I wasn’t expecting really, so when he walked out wearing similar clothes to Poughkeepsie with an Earthling tour type jacket a flash of excitement shot through the lucky attendees. We got A New Career In A New Town and bits of Blur’s Song 2 and even Link Wray's Rumble, which he insisted none of us would know!

There was much checking of times in earpieces and satellites and then we were off! As I expected NKS was the first tune up and, it was received loudly and warmly. Even though I knew he was doing the whole of Reality I wasn’t sure if it would be in order a la the Heathen/Low shows last year. Well when Pablo Picasso was announced I knew it would be! I must say the album sounds wonderful in entirety and even though he thought we wouldn’t know it because ‘you haven’t had your bootlegs long enough yet’ every song was sung with great passion and recognition especially Never Get Old which I’m sure will turn into a firm live favourite.

Set-wise the simple lights and wooden floors with catwalk added a great deal to the ambience of the studio and db made full use of the extended stage when he walked out to do The Loneliest Guy, a beautiful and clearly emotional song for him and many of the audience. It seemed like the rest of the album whizzed by, Disco King, the only song I hadn’t heard yet, almost knocked us all out; this must be the best song on the album.
I’d forgotten about the Q&A completely but it turned out to be such a good laugh. A combination of well-handled technical difficulties and great answers (on haircuts, dogs and James Bond); a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest without the shit tunes.

So then on to the request section, which started with my favourite song of the night, Hallo Spaceboy. The band was so good last night; they’ve all really developed a rapport and connection that is better than any Bowie band I’ve ever seen. Oblivious to the cameras we jumped and sang our hearts out hoping the world was wishing they were in our place. Fantastic Voyage is always welcome (my second hearing in 3 weeks), NKS was performed again and the air was punched even more emphatically the second time. And then it was over. He swaggered offstage looking understandably pleased with himself. We attended the biggest interactive music event of all time and I can’t think of anyone who could do it better.

Many post-gig drinks later I got home at 4am and now I’m sitting at work with a giant smile on my face remembering flashes of last night. Talking of flashes there was a couple of T-shirt moments that raised the temperature a little from the man on stage. I got almost to the end without mentioning how good he looked too ;-)

(Warm up)

A new Career in a new town
A bit of Song 2
A bit of Rumble

(Whole of Reality album)
New Killer Star Pablo Picasso Never Get Old The Loneliest Guy Looking for Water She'll Drive the Big Car Days Fall Dog Bombs The Moon Try Some, Buy Some Reality Bring Me The Disco King

Q n A with Jonathan Ross

Hallo Spaceboy
Fantastic Voyage
Hang On To Yourself
Modern Love
New Killer Star