by David Chiu
It is no wonder that David Bowie’s performance at Glastonbury in 2000 has since been touted as legendary. At age 53, the Thin White Duke was in the midst of a career renaissance spurred on by the trilogy of mid to late ’90s albums Outside, Earthling and Hours. For this particular headlining show that was partially broadcasted by the BBC, Bowie pulled out all the stops this career-spanning set, which is now finally available in its entirety as a 2-CD/1-DVD set. The singer was primed and ready for his first appearance at the festival in 30 years—he and his band (Sterling Campbell on drums, Mark Plati and Earl Slick on guitars, Mike Garson on keyboards, Gail Anne Dorsey on bass, and Emm Grynner and Holly Palmer on backing vocals) delivered really top-notch renditions of Bowie’s best: “Ziggy Stardust,” “Changes,” “Fame,” “Ashes to Ashes,” ““Heroes,”” “Let’s Dance,” “China Girl,” “Golden Years,” and “Rebel Rebel.” He also went deep into the catalog unveiling gems such as the epic “Station to Station,” “The Man Who Sold the World,” and the devastatingly beautiful ballad “Absolute Beginners.” The more-recent songs in the setlist at the time, “Hallo Spaceboy,” “I’m Afraid of Americans,” and the driving, jungle-influenced “Little Wonder” showed that Bowie was still embracing the experimental/electronic side that he had earlier tapped into during the Berlin trilogy era. As evident on the video, Bowie’s enthusiasm, presence and charisma all conspired to make this show quite unique—he totally rocked Glastonbury. And as we approach the third anniversary of his death, this magnificent performance is now all the more poignant.