The Young American
U.S. Tour 4 Concert Reviews (June 4)
Edmonton Journal 29 June 1974 - David Bowie freak rock superstar TORONTO — He's been widely touted as married yet bisexual. He wears shocking skin-tight costumes that are sexually AC-DC. He sports a crazy zig-zag lightening bolt that streaks down from his slicked-back shock of orange hair across his mascara-circled eyes and lilac lipstick to his chin. He poses for posters that show his angelic feminine face attached to a naked, corpse-like dog's body. He's 27-year-old David Bowie and he's currently the hottest freak rock superstar to emerge from the music's underground subculture since Alice Cooper started slicing up toy dolls on stage. This week, after sell-out shows in Montreal and Ottawa, he swished onto the O'Keefe Centre s huge stage here in mauve zoot-suiter's slacks held up by red suspenders, skin-tight blue sweater smothered with stars, and gold-colored hush-puppies — and instantly a flock of screaming fans (of confusing gender) rushed to the stage and started grabbing at him. But, clasping a mike to his mouth, Bowie didn't seem to notice. As they grabbed at his pants he'd dance away, always out of reach. It was as if no one could ever touch him. As if he wasn't quite real. Bowie has this sense of unreality about him. Of mystery. Without a word of advertising, the 7,500 tickets for his two shows here were sold out the day they went on sale a month ago. And the same thing is mysteriously happening in the States—where Bowie's now heading for a tour of nearly 90 U.S. cities before returning home to London. But there's obviously no mystery about his fans. They were out in full strength the other night—but they seemed to be split into two separate camps First were the hippies, hundreds of them; long-haired, denim-clad, pot-smoking (the air in the theatre smelled like a sweet mustard gas attack). All looked alike, except the boys wore beards. But compared to the second group, they appeared as straight as bank accountants. The rest of the crowd was filled with girls wearing huge batwings on their shoulders; dozens of drag queens in pant suits, flowing dresses, purple lipstick and tangerine eyes; a couple of girls (guys? who knows?) wearing short, frilly pink slips and frosted lips; and scores of others, of both sexes, with their hair cut and dyed like Bowie's and then faces painted with his zig-zag trademark. Bowie himself seemed almost normal by comparison. His face (except for mascara) was unpainted, his hair was washed and cut at the collar, and he never once wore a dress. Without a single line of patter, he simply walked on and for a solid 95 minutes sang. Or rather, produced a show.   And what a show. Staged by himself and Tony award-winning designer Jules Fisher, it is undoubtedly the first rock performance to use smashing theatrics as part of the total presentation. At times, in fact, it looked like the $250,000 set and special effects equipment might take over from Bowie and his music. But Bowie knew exactly what to do. From the first he was in total charge making everything work solely for him. The set itself, based on the jacket design for his latest RCA album, Diamond Dogs, was constructed of eerily leaning misshapen skyscrapers looking like something out of Kafka. A huge catwalk, like a New York bridge, stretched high above the stage with blinking lights emphasizing its cityscape bleakness. It was all in keeping with Bowie's vision of the bombed-out future of George Orwell's Well's 1984. For the entire theme of the show was decadence in the space age. And this, as Bowie's musket voice wailed above the piercing electronic music, is where "fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats, and ten thousand peoploids split into small tribes, coveting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers." As the girls — call them girls — writher and stretched their arms at ringside, Bowie floated around the stage in a series of strange walks—everything from Marcel Marceau slow-motion to Gene Kelly jump steps to Charlie Chaplin shuffle to sudden knee-jerking Charleston, then suddenly scrambled up a ladder to the overhanging bridge where he marched back and forth. Then, with his face bathed in green light and his clothes in purple, he climbed into a throne-like seat that rose up behind him. In his hand he held a white telephone which amplified his voice like a can-non-shot over the crowd. And suddenly, still sitting there, the throne began to move — off the bridge and across the stage and out high above the audience. Carried by a massive boom, it dipped low—and the arms reached up for him. But Bowie only sat there singing, his face impassive, his eyeballs white in the light. Then slowly he stretched out his arms as the boom carried him up and back, into blackness Ike Christ ascending. The screams. The pulsing, pounding music. The wafting cloud of pot. The flashing, spinning lights. The crowd exploding Dante would have felt right at home. It was perfect, precision-timed showmanship. Then back came the star. Donning red boxing gloves dancing in a ring. Getting knocked out by an invisible opponent. Swinging a lasso at two dancing - clowning side-kicks. Being bound by rope like a witch at the stake. Climbing into a massive silver chamber which opened up to show him sitting in a lotus position on the palm of a huge Buddha hand. Putting on a jacket and white broad-rimmed fedora, and strutting around like Cagney. Smashing chairs on his side-kicks’ heads. Then, suddenly, at the pitch of a song, Bowie stopped, turned to the audience, grinned,—and fired his fedora far into the crowd. It disappeared like a piece of meat in a school of sharks. The audience rose and cheered. Hundreds of people rushed to the edge of the stage. They screamed for more. But the stage was empty. David Bowie had gone. PAUL KING
Sounds (UK) 29 June 1974 - Broadway`s got nuthin` on this Bowie`s new show features the kind of sensational stage effects that even Broadway could only afford for brief periods in the 30`s and 40`s. Martin Kirkup reports on Bowie`s `new style` debut from Montreal. This may be the last big production type of tour that I do,” Bowie had told me back in April. At that time I`d wondered why, cynically assuming that there`d be a touch of the old “His first farewell tour” promotion behind the remark, since it was apparent that Bowie`s direction was towards greater use of theatricality in his performances. After watching the debut of his new tour at Montreal on June 14, however, it finally seems inevitable that if he`s to continue performing in public he`ll have to do it as a smaller kind of production, because after this tour I simply can`t imagine what he`d do to top it. His new show features the kind of sensational stage effects that even Broadway could only afford for brief periods in the 1930`s and 40`s, when Florenz Ziegfeld had his dancing girls walk through streams onto rising staircases built in the great old theatres. I doubt whether even Ziegfeld linked so many outrageous effects together into one two-hour show, as Bowie now does. By comparison, the timid “rock theatrics” of an Alice Cooper or a “Jesus Christ Superstar” look decidedly like a `Punch & Judy` show, and right now it`s hard to imagine how any other rock star could go further than the new limits Bowie`s established. Bowie aimed for the maximum possible visual effect, and I think that he succeeded entirely in what he was trying to do. “Come on up to Montreal for the first night, it`ll be worth your while,” he suggested earlier in the month, “it`s a show, and I think it`s very exciting.” Retrospectively, I can see that the words “show” and “exciting” weren`t just casually used, they convey the essence of what his new tour is all about. When he arrived in New York on the S.S. France on April 11. Bowie had moved straight into a suite in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue, and begun a routine that persisted for the next two months. Rising after noon, and usually as late as three in the afternoon, he`d start a strenuous series of rehearsals that often ran from five o`clock to well into the next morning, when he`d head to a bar or club to unwind and perhaps check out the new talent. During those ten weeks he could often be seen flitting behind the stage at a concert, by Roxy Music for example – “well, they`re the only English band worth seeing, aren`t they”, at a reception, like Todd Rundgren`s, or in a small club seeing new bands. “Yes, I`ve seen a lot of good new bands this time. A lot of bands with good names, anyway, how d`ya like `Leather Secrets` and `Television`?”. And if you talked to him then he was friendly, witty, and perceptive about anything at all except his own music. A question about how the long rehearsals were going would elicit only “Oh, you don`t even have to ask, I`m so happy with this band”, and that`d be that. Now it`s revealed that those rehearsals had as much to do with practising and perfecting the tricky stage techniques as they had to do with preparing his new band. Bowie had hired Jules Fisher to collaborate with him on the stage presentation and design, and Fisher`s the best designer around at the moment in America. He`s got a list of awards that starts with shows like “Hair”, “Pippin” and “Lenny”, and runs on as long as your leg. I’ve seen Broadway plays like “Ulysses in Nighttown”, where Fisher`s lighting and design were the only good things about the show. The set that he and David have created for the tour is impressive from the moment you walk into the arena and see it. The stage is dominated by a huge scaffolding arch with a cat-walk looking like an imported section of Tower Bridge set thirty feet above the stage. Even higher than this are two gigantic lighting towers, disguised as skyscrapers. The immediate effect is of looking into a surreally distorted city. Off to the right is the area set aside for the band, with two whole keyboards complexes and a large drum-kit, while off to the left stands a six-foot tall red, spurting cock! RCA may have castrated the “Diamond Dogs” cover with their sneaky airbrushes, but Bowie has his revenge here. Bowie had come up to Canada the day before the concert to give everything one last run-through. Since it`s a nine-hour, 600 mile drive from New York City I had decided to do the same thing, a fact worth mentioning only because David`s going to be driving to every gig too. He still refuses absolutely to fly, so most of the concerts have been arranged at convenient hundred mile intervals across the continent. His band and entourage were leaving the Hotel Windsor just as I arrived, informing me that they were off to “a final dress rehearsal” – yup, those were the words used. As the elevator doors opened and I stepped forward to enter, I could see a flash of red hair surrounded by tall and muscular men. Bowie emerged in a wedge of bodyguards, pausing briefly to say “Hello” – I stuck out a hand to shake his, but pulled it back quickly when an ultra-efficient guard flexed himself at me. I mean, there are things I`d rather not go through just to shake someone`s hand. For the whole day before the concert it became impossible to turn on the TV or radio without hearing either a track from “Diamond Dogs”, or – more importantly – an advert for it and the concert. The whole campaign that`s been mounted by “MainMan” and RCA should become a model of its type. “The album of the century” voices proclaimed regularly on all the dozen different radio stations, “century”?. And since Montreal is a bi-lingual city (just imagine one of those cute sexy French accent marks over the “e” of Montreal) all the papers informed one of a “Concert rock avec ce fameux chanteur anglais”, ah mais Oui! et maintenant le pouf celebre, Monsieur Bowie. But oddest of all, on television a short colour film of Bowie in the studio leering at the camera and muttering “Awright then?”. Nevertheless, the next night at the Forum it was apparent from the empty rows of seats that the concert was only about 90% sold-out. The biggest anomaly in American rock shows now is that the British bands who are hugely successful in the States. Foghat, Robin Trower, Peter Frampton and Sharks among them, tend to mean very little back home, while groups like T. Rex, Slade, and Roxy Music have failed to really dent the American charts or consciousness. Bowie falls into this latter group, he just hasn`t the stature in America that he`s won in Britain. He does very well in some areas, and for example he sold two concerts in Toronto and a whole week in Philadelphia very quickly indeed, but in other regions he may not be playing to full houses. In Montreal, though, there`s a hard-core Bowie following, and the usual painted faces, dyed heads, and Bowie lookalikes make an appearance. RCA has even run “lookalike” contests for free tickets. From the moment you enter the arena you`re enveloped by the sounds of moog hisses, tolling bells and howling dogs that emerge from the huge speakers positioned along the hall, and soon the crowd are involved in studying the stage set, and you can feel the tension rising. After all, this is David`s first gig since he announced last July 3 that he was quitting live performances and then disbanded the hugely successful “Spiders from Mars” band. As the houselights finally dim, searchlights begin to sweep the hall, the “1984” theme blasts out, and there`s Bowie in a white suit, flanked by two singer/dancers and with his band almost invisibly positioned well to stage right. Throughout the first three numbers the sound balance is tinny and distorted, but with “Sweet Thing” it all suddenly comes together. For this number Bowie`s walking along the bridge set high over the stage, with a raincoat pulled over his shoulders and looking very much like that old “Strand” cigarettes advert. He stays there, removing his coat and jacket, to do a cooler and clearer version of “Changes” than he`s previously done, then gets down to ground level for a fast “Suffragette City”. The songs themselves have changed much more in this show than they previously did in live performance. The next song, “Alladin Sane”, for example, is now done as a boogie number, with those manic, fragmented melodies turned into solid and chunky chords with organ and sax leads replacing Garson`s mad piano. This segues into “All the Young Dudes”, which is taken at half the pace Mott the Hoople do it, it`s slow and final, and more of a requiem than an anthem. Now here I`m deliberately avoiding describing the stage effects that accompany the songs. This tour may hit England in the autumn, and to describe all the staging in detail is a bit like recommending an Agatha Christie novel and then telling you that the butler did it. But perhaps one example will give you an idea. The stage blacks out for just five seconds at the opening acoustic-guitar chords of “Space Oddity”, and when a spotlight suddenly flashes on simultaneous with the lyric we see Bowie sitting inside a rocket segment high in one of those fake skyscraper lighting towers, quietly singing into his astronaut`s microphone. The spot illuminating him is the only light in the whole arena, everything`s pitch black, and then suddenly the seat and Bowie begin to glide out of the capsule, just like a scene from “2001”. Very slowly Bowie is lowered out into mid-air high over the audience for the rest of the song, until as he slumps and the astronaut dies he is retrieved into the space-ship. It`s all done with a crane, of course, but the first ten seconds before you work that out are very exciting indeed. The whole two-hour show`s like that, each shock surpassing an earlier one. The set never runs out of tricks and surprises. Visually and dramatically I don`t think the show can be faulted, but this kind of staging has played some strange tricks with the music too. The band are so anonymously presented that you`d never recognise any of them again, Bowie never speaks, even to introduce them. However, they`re very good indeed, and they play the new versions of Bowie`s songs very solidly and precisely. “Drive-In Saturday” is now done by David on a twelve string acoustic, with just sax and piano backing, and it`s fine in a rather Jacques Brel way. That one works perfectly, but then you also find “Jean Genie” being performed as a slow Frank Sinatra-ish night club song, with David sitting astride a chair, ciggie in his mouth and hat flopping in his eyes. I thought that song was the best thing on the “Alladin Sane” album, but without its raw blasting edge it`s just a prissy joke. Really, the problem is that Bowie is now doing a one-man star show. There`s no Mick Ronson in the new band to share his lime-light or edge up to a mike with him, just these fine, ultra-competent guys in suits standing in the shadows, and you barely look at them twice. They`re fine musicians of course, they know their trade and have paid their dues. On bass guitar there`s Herbie Flowers and as Bowie says, “He`s got to be the best in the country”. Herbie`s really a session-man, it was him doing that lovely bass line on Lou Reed`s “Walk On The Wild Side”. If you`ve ever seen him on TV then it was probably with Blue Mink a year or two back, and he was the big tall guy grinning. On drums there`s Tony Newman, the original drummer in the Jeff Beck Group, and Beck`s one of Bowie`s early idols from the London club scene days. Newman`s very precise and adaptable, and that`s probably why David picked him. Mick Garson is the only survivor from the last touring band, and his style continues to develop and change. These three were the original nucleus of the `74 Bowie band, and early in April David was planning on using two black guitarists to get “a really funky sound”. However, by the time serious rehearsals had started in May he`d changed his mind. “I dropped the idea of a second-guitarist and decided to have lots of keyboards people”, he says, “so I ended up getting two guys from the old New York Rock & Roll Ensemble. Earl Slick will be lead-guitarist, and Michael Kamen will be second keyboards player. They`re both very talented, Mike`s written a ballet about Rodin which will be performed at the Harkness soon”. The keyboard sounds are effective and wide-ranging, and have a lot to do with Bowie`s new sound. Earl Slick gets few chances to really extend himself, but when he takes a solo, as in “Moonage Daydream”, he reveals that he excels at strong power chords in the tradition of Pete Townshend. I`d like to have seen him really work out on “Jean Genie” if David had stuck to his original arrangement of it. Considering that along with the rest of the audience I was so entirely surprised and mesmerised by the visual show, I felt strangely disappointed the next day, and a little cheated in some vague way. I could clearly recall only five or six songs out of the whole show, and the emotional content seemed far less than I`d felt seeing Bowie a year ago. Over the past three years “decadence” has become a catch-all word used to describe anything in glitter and make-up, but there`s a real and useful meaning behind the word. Apart from its dictionary definition of “deteriorating, declining, decaying” I think it also implies an artform where style has become more important than content. If so, then David Bowie at present is surely a decadent artist. As a composer and arranger he`s creating some of the best songs of his period. As a performing artist he`s obscuring the form and content of those songs with a style which is flashy, sensational, superficial, and perhaps trivialising. He said recently that “just writing a song is not good enough”, and whether it`s his own inclination or because of the demands of his audience, he can`t simply stand up and play his songs. He has to deliver them within a “jack in the box” stage setting which must constantly thrill and titillate the audience. On record his music has often thrilled and provoked me, but in concert I simply sit back to be entertained by the spectacle. I`m glad to have seen just how far he could take visual spectacle, but having seen it I`m looking forward to seeing him do a straightforward set, in a small club, because that`s the highest art of all. MARTIN KIRKUP
New Musical Express (UK) 29 June 1974 – Cracked Actor zaps Canuck Thespians AS YOU guessed folks, David Bowie has returned to the stage with perhaps the most elaborate rock and roll show ever. Yet last year, when he announced his "retirement", he privately admitted wanting to get away from traditional rock concerts and become more involved with theatre. In August of 1973, New York director Anthony J. Ingrassia (whose direction of the Andy Warhol play "Pork" David had much admired several years earlier) went to London to discuss with Bowie the possibility of staging "1984". It was Bowie's concept, based on the Orwellian theme that Ingrassia would direct. "1984" never happened as such, but many ideas that were born out of those discussions have found their way onto the stage of Bowie's current "Diamond Dogs" tour. This is Bowie's biggest US tour. He is literally doing one-nighters in many places, spending a great deal of time in the chauffeured limousine that takes him from city to city. "Dogs" has just zoomed up to Number 19 on the charts; it seems as though this will be his most successful LP here ("Ziggy" just went gold in the States, but "Aladdin Sane" and "Pin-Ups" didn't fare very well). Bowie's certainly in a good position: his promise to make rock more theatrical has caused many people to become intrigued, and they want to come and see him perform this time around. THE AUDIENCE was ready for him in Toronto. All day long on the "swinging" Yonge Street downtown, "1984" blasted out from the record shops. O'Keefe Center that night was a sea of outlandishly dressed glittergirls and boys who did the usual parading around in front of each other, some of them hanging by the backstage entrance. That wait was in vain, for NO-ONE gets backstage at a Bowie concert — no-one, that is, except for Tony DeFries (and his lady, Melanie MacDonald), Angela Bowie — on hand for the first few shows with son Zowie and pal Dana Gillespie — MainMan employees Zee, Linda and Dory, tour manager Pat Gibbons, David's personal assistant Corinne Schwab (as in the drugstore), David's dresser (and former Reno Sweeney's bartender) Jac Colenda, choreographer Tony Basil, bodyguard Stuart George, set designer Jules Fisher, friends Mr. and Mrs. Bob Ezrin and of course the musicians and the stage-hands. Before David does a show, he sits in his dressing room with just Jac and Corinne for company, sips cool white wine and listens while Corinne reads him the list of people who want to see him. Then he Receives People for a few minutes, usually only Angela, DeFries, the musicians — and, in this instance, Zowie (who, as he went to his seat said, "I'm going to see Daddy earn dinner," a phrase no doubt picked up from Mom). From all reports Life On The Road with Bowie is dull. Everything is very carefully planned and arranged, and this tour specially is being handled in a most businesslike manner. As CM4 has booked him into so many cities in such a short time, there isn't room for the kind of parties that went on during his first U.S. tour. In Toronto, David stayed in a ultra-modern and very orange Hyatt guests the same night were Tom Jones — whose television didn't work — and Prime Minister Elliott Trudeau, who had the entire top floor cordoned off with security guards. No-one could be sure if either of these two gentlemen were aware of Bowie's presence in the hotel. Several blocks away, in the quiet and lovely Windsor Arms Hotel, were DeFries, Jules Fisher, the Main Man staff Dana Gillespie, and Angela. The musicians stayed in the older King Edward Hotel. The Windsor Arms — with its oriental carpeting, polished mahogany wood-panelled walls and four poster beds covered by lacey white spreads, -won — hansdown. The second show of the evening started one half hour late at 10.30, with the announcement that even though David had laryngitis, he insisted that the show go on. What a trouper. The stage was set — futuristic buildings made from aluminium and paper, varying shades of grey all at angles to each other: huge drops of red blood coming down buildings into giant cocks; a bridge that resembled a catwalk joined by two edifices — the speakers and the lights mercifully hidden by these structures. No one would confirm what this set cost, although some quick mental addition and a knowledge of the theatre places the estimate somewhere around $75,000. And that's not including the charge for the services of set, sound and lighting designer. Tony award-winner, Jules Fisher, nor the fee for choreographer Tony Basil. And of course, it's all being handled the way a "bus and truck" show usually is: the cast goes by bus and the sets by truck when a show is taken out of town. The technical end of this show is being worked like a Broadway operation. So much so that Jules Fisher went along for the first few gigs to make sure everything went okay. It's an expensive and elaborate show and, whereas, Bowie's financial situation in this country has always been wide open to speculation and mystery (for no one will ever admit just exactly how far RCA Records have gone in backing Bowie; he's just starting to make money here, despite the word we get about how he earns 4 per cent of the money made from recorded product in England) this tour, with these sets, will only give rise to more questions. THE SHOW is great. David comes out after loud, taped sounds, the beginning of the "Diamond Dogs" LP. The band is off to one side, suspiciously similar to the way Ingrassia staged Wayne County's show at the Trucks. But look, it's a moot point and everyone has been saying for years how Bowie steals from everyone —and indeed, he dances out on that stage exactly like Iggy Stooge-legs spread completely apart. At this point I don't care much if there is a lot of Iggy, or Wayne, or Ingrassia, or Bryan Ferry, or even Jagger assimilated in David's performance. Who knows how much of it is intentional? Whatever the case, it works. He's good at what he does, and I really didn't want to take my eyes off him for a minute. Unfortunately, I had to. And that brings me to a rather unattractive part of his show. Having the band off to one side is great — I've always believed that if the band isn't an integral part of the visuals, they should be off to the side. And Michael Kamen, Earl Slick,, Mike Garson, Tony Newman, Herbie Flowers, Richie Dharma and a few horn players sound great, but they are not (let's face it) part of the visuals. And neither should the two backup singers/dancers be. Bowie's got two of them, one named Warren Peace (geddit?), the other Gui Andrisano, and I'm sorry — they should also be offstage. In an attempt to be theatrical, they dance and "act out" little vignettes as Bowie sings. Particularly embarrassing is "Drive-In Saturday" when they sit, one wearing a hat and "watch" a movie and eat popcorn. Yecccccck. They look like waiters in a gay bar. Or roadies. I couldn't decide which, and they often detract very much from what Bowie is doing onstage: There is no need for such distraction, they could back him up vocally from the wings — David has command enough of a stage to occupy it alone. There are a few other bits that seem a bit naive in their attempts to be "theatrical". One, in particular, is when the bodyguard comes onstage and fixes David up as if he's a boxer in a ring. He sings "Panic In Detroit", wearing big red boxing gloves. Another is when he sings "Cracked Actor" wearing sunglasses, holding a skull, and sitting under lights and cameras with the two dancers making like they're photogs. Unnecessary. But that's about a third of the show, and one hears tell that several of Bowie's intimates have given him some suggestions that he didn't have time to take heed to. There is nothing spontaneous about this show; it was all worked out to the minute. So he's taking it on the road and seeing how it works. It will be interesting to see if — and how — it changes by the time it gets to Madison Square Garden. The other two-thirds are splendid. David looks great, he seems to have lost even more weight but looks gorgeous, wearing just a bit of pancake make-up, model shade (his cheekbones are high Katherine Hepburn) and some blue eye-shadow. David strutted out in tiny little red maryjane ballet slippers. I hate to think what this is going to do to the platform shoe industry — you could see all the crestfallen faces of the boys in the audience who had been trying to out-platform each other. But these shoes just may have something to do with the fact that Bowie moves around better than I've ever noticed before. He does backbends, drops to his knees, and does splits like a dancer. I can live without the mime, — I know it's his favourite thing — but he does have a few gestures that are incredibly graceful. And with the exception of a few high notes that he didn't quite reach; his voice sounded fine to me. The music was stunning. Angela Bowie sat in the front row with Dana and she had a look of sheer ecstasy on her face while watching the show. There can be no greater David Bowie fan than Angie. She screams, cheers, applauds and waves her arms about in the air — and was rewarded with a special glance during "Space Oddity" when Bowie sang, "Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows" ... The mechanical devices that David employs onstage are probably the most complex ever used by a rock performer. Certainly the hydraulic boom that carries him over the front of the audience and up in the air makes Alice Cooper's guillotine look like a toy. David, who is terrified of heights, won't stay above the sixth floor in a hotel, and is famous for not flying, sits in this thing during "Space Oddity" and friends say he's supposedly scared to death. Yet he was the picture of studied nonchalance as he casually picked at his nails, in the most detached manner. The "bridge that he stood on during "Sweet Thing" (wearing a very "39 Steps" trenchcoat) came down onto the stage at the very moment in "Changes" when the tempo changed (it failed to work in Montreal, and so was used as a stationary object). The audience burst into applause. Despite the fact that Bowie's a great performer, he is a bit detached. And the show is very slick — not once does he talk to the audience, Bowie is a distant rock and roll star. (Could you imagine him trying to get the audience to "clap along"? The thought alone is hysterically funny.) But he works hard, and was visibly sweating during the show. What I think may be his greatest dilemma is that he wants so very much to create "theatre", and his real talent lies in rock and roll. His mime work doesn't reach an audience nearly as much as his great rock and roll songs — "Suffragette City", "Jean Genie", "Rebel Rebel" — do. But one hears all the time that his hero is Lindsey Kemp and how he'd much rather do mime. "DIAMOND DOGS" is a great show. It would be better if some of the unnecessary theatrical bits were eliminated. Bowie alone is theatre enough sometimes, as good rock and roll always can be. Staging can sometimes run the risk of looking foolish. But the fact remains that he is trying to bring a new dimension to the rock stage, and that's to his credit. He is attempting, something different and, for the most part, it works (even some of the tackiness works occasionally in its humour). The sets are fine, the sound and the lights are superb, the band — under the musical supervision of Michael Kamen — is first-rate. With the exception of those bits that make one cringe, the "Diamond Dogs" just may be one of the most interesting we'll see this year. LISA ROBINSON