Bowie drags his fans back to the golden years

First Night David Bowie Astoria London

DAVID BOWIE couldn't receive any more adoring coverage if he passed away in a tragic pile up on the information superhighway. But with a new album, Hours, touted as a return to old glories, it seems the old chameleon has at last settled into a respectable dotage, rather than trying to keep up with the young folks.

Not that he needs to worry. His Internet obsession is well documented, yet more revolutionary has been his success in floating himself as a corporate entity. Yes, you too can own a piece of David Bowie. This may yet prove to be the second most influential action of his long and successful career, after his popularisation of that short at the sides, long on top hair style beloved by guests on The Jerry Springer Show.

Tonight's show, in this relatively small venue, sees this fifty-something apparently comfortable with himself and his back catalogue. He might be dressed like a chat show presenter in a fetching pink V-neck jumper and a pair of tight black flares, but the voice and the charm are intact. An opening "Life On Mars" to piano accompaniment provided by Seventies collaborator Mike Garson, is greeted with excited yelps. The band appear and the set flips between eras, mercifully leaving out most of the Eighties and the Tin Machine period. He even performs his first ever single as David Bowie - 1966's "Can't Help Thinking About Me". It's not great but it's fun to hear where he sprang from.

His backing musicians are a clean-cut bunch yet they prove capable of handling classics such as "China Girl" and the mechanical funk of "Stay", possibly one of the most coked-up tracks ever recorded. And although Hours may not be the new Hunky Dory "Seven" is lovely enough to deserve the comparison. The killer combination of "Changes" and glam rock's greatest moment "Rebel Rebel" conclude the set, the latter proving it costs a lot of cash to make a snare drum sound that cheap.

Bowie might be past his best work, but this enjoyable rifling through his less frequently presented back pages was surprisingly good fun.

Steve Jelbert

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable