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Live Reviews DAVID BOWIE Rose Garden Arena SHow
Rose Garden Arena, Portland, OR
Reviewed by Kenny Boyett

Is David Bowie cooler than Mick Jagger?

This question just popped in my head as Bowie proved to Portland last night why he’s had such a long lasting career. From the opening riff of “Rebel Rebel” to the rolling thunder encore, his powerhouse band put a fresh spin on the old ones and made the new ones sound like instant classics. Not only is his voice still incredible but a sleeveless shirt revealed surprisingly muscular arms, and that movie star smile of his just never stops.

Face it. This guy was born for the stage. But it’s the hunky dory attitude that made the night so memorable. He’s having a blast and you can’t watch him do his weird moves and wild role-playing without having fun too. He told great stories between songs and considering how hard his band was laughing, he must tell different ones every night. He acts like you’re best friends when saying “Did I ever tell you about my first trip to America? No? I went to see Elvis at Madison Square Garden and I was in full Ziggy attire, six-inch heels, red spiked hair, and could not have looked more out of place at that show. But I was determined to be Ziggy, even if it meant embarrassing myself in front of the King and all his fans”.

He confesses this quietly so that his point is made: Whatever it took, he was going to be a star. He switches back to entertainer mode “Elvis ended every single song like this (he does a funny Elvis karate pose) and for months, back in England, I imitated Elvis for my friends, but Ziggy doing Elvis just doesn’t work people.” His band and the crowd really laugh at this and he adds “But that same trip to America was the first time I heard one of my songs on the radio. I was in a cab and I rolled down the window and screamed ‘That’s my song on the radio!’ The sad thing is. I still do that. Everyday. Driving across America I’m screaming out of the bus ‘That’s my song on the radio!’”

Even though he’s joking, I couldn’t help but think that he has had a LOT of hits, all of them worthy of screaming about. A well-studied actor, for over 2 hours, the Thin White Duke took on various personas for each song; ego tripping in “Fame”, rock starring in “Ziggy”, and even became a “China Girl” purring “Oh baby, just you shut your mouth”. In the encore, as they tore through Suffragette City, the Mick versus David debate ended. David is a better entertainer than Mick. In fact, he’s bigger, badder, and oh hell, I’ll just say it: he’s cooler.

Set List:
Rebel Rebel, New Killer Star, Reality, Hang On To Yourself, Fame, Cactus, All The Young Dudes, China Girl, Young Americans, The Loneliest Guy, The Man Who Sold The World, Sunday, Under Pressure
Life On Mars?, Golden Years, Ashes To Ashes, Changes, Let’s Dance, Modern Love, White Light, White Heat, I'm Afraid Of Americans, Heroes

Pablo Picasso, Five Years, Suffragette City, Ziggy Stardust



Todd Smith