A Reality Tour

A Reality Tour
Tour by David Bowie
David Bowie A Reality Tour.jpg
The A Reality Tour promotional poster
Associated album Reality
Start date 7 October 2003
End date 25 June 2004
Legs 5
No. of shows 70 in Europe
29 in North America
8 in Oceania
5 in Asia
112 in Total
Box office US$46 million
David Bowie concert chronology

A Reality Tour was a worldwide concert tour by David Bowie in support of the Reality album.[1] The tour commenced on 7 October 2003 at the Forum Copenhagen, Denmark, continuing through Europe, North America, Asia, including a return to New Zealand and Australia for the first time since the 1987 Glass Spider Tour. At over 110 shows, the tour was the longest tour of Bowie's career.[2] A heart attack in late June 2004 forced the cancellation of some dates near the end of the tour.[3] Bowie retired from performing live in 2006, making this tour his last.[4]

The tour grossed US$46 million, making it the ninth-highest-grossing tour of 2004.[5]


Bowie announced the tour in June 2003, intending to play to over a million people across 17 countries, and was billed as his first major tour since the Outside Tour of 1995.[6] Rehearsals for the tour begin in July, with the band from his previous Heathen Tour mostly unchanged; Mark Plati had other work booked, so guitarist Gerry Leonard was made the new bandleader.[7] The band played a warm-up gig on 19 August in New York to a small audience of about 500 people at The Chance theater.[8] Starting in September, Bowie started appearing on national radio and TV shows in Germany and France before doing a "live and interactive music event" staged in London on 8 September, one of the first live streams of a rock concert, and the first to be broadcast in 5.1 sound.[8] This show was beamed live to audiences around the world, although some countries (such as the Japan and Australia) didn't broadcast the show until the following day, and some countries (like the US) did not broadcast the show until a week later.[8] Some theaters report not receiving the center channel of audio of the show, meaning that some audiences didn't hear Bowie's singing as part of the broadcast (strictly an issue at the theaters' end, according to Tony Visconti, who was responsible for the mix).[9] Shortly thereafter, Bowie continued to do publicity for the album and tour, playing songs on shows such as Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on BBC One, The Today Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, and The Late Show with David Letterman.[10] Tracks performed during these shows included "New Killer Star", "Modern Love", "Never Get Old", and "Hang On to Yourself".[10] Finally, in late September, Bowie and the band played songs for AOL Online, performing "New Killer Star", "I'm Afraid of Americans", "Rebel Rebel", "Days" and "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon",[10] all of which were streamed to AOL customers over the next few months.[10] By the end of September, Bowie and band were in Brussels for final rehearsals.[10]

Tour design

The tour itself was described by Bowie biographer Nicholas Pegg as "in some respects [...] even more theatrical" than the "Sound+Vision Tour", one of Bowie's more theatrical undertakings.[10] The stage included a giant LED screen with a raised catwalk, multiple platforms pushing out into the audience, staircases and "huge, bleached white tree branches" that dangled "gracefully from either side of the stage".[10] Bowie himself helped design the stage alongside designer Therese Depreze Lighting Designer Tom kenny and visual director Laura Frank.[10]


The set list included tracks spanning Bowie's 30 plus years in the music business, from The Man Who Sold the World (1970) all the way to Reality (2003), along with collaborations such as "Sister Midnight" (originally from The Idiot (1977) by Iggy Pop) and "Under Pressure" (released as a single (1981) by Bowie and Queen later found on Hot Space released the following year), and snippets and teasers of Bowie classics such as "Space Oddity" and "Golden Years".[11] The band had rehearsed around 60 songs for the tour,[2] and the large repertoire of available songs allowed them to change the setlist from night to night, sometimes making up the setlist on the fly, a departure from some of Bowie's previous and heavily choreographed tours like the Serious Moonlight Tour of 1983, the Glass Spider Tour of 1987, and the Sound+Vision Tour of 1990.[11] Bowie and his band played over two hours every night of the tour, playing more than 30 songs at some venues.[12] One song that was rehearsed but not performed is "Win" from his 1974 album Young Americans; it never made it further than the occasional soundcheck for the tour.[13]

Contemporary reviews

The 24 January 2004 show in Vancouver BC was reviewed positively, with the reviewer saying that "with Bowie's near-flawless vocals, brilliant band, and smartly executed show, you wind up with one of the finest old-school rock gigs the Canucks’ home rink has ever hosted."[14] The review of the next show in Seattle on 25 January 2004 was similarly positive, saying Bowie, "still every inch a superstar ... still oozes charm and sex appeal" and called the setlist a "celebration of his whole body of work."[15]

Tour incidents

The 6 May 2004, a performance at the James L. Knight Center, Miami, Florida was cancelled after lighting technician Walter "Wally Gator" Thomas fell to his death prior to Bowie going onstage.[16] At the show in Oslo on 18 June 2004, Bowie was struck in the left eye with a lollipop thrown by an audience member.[17]

Heart attack

On 23 June, while on stage in Prague for the tour, Bowie had a heart attack (misdiagnosed at the time as a pinched nerve), which required him to leave the stage (and finally end the show early) to receive medical attention.[3] The tour was officially curtailed after the Hurricane Festival performance in ScheeĂźel, Germany on 25 June 2004, as a result of continued discomfort.[3] On 30 June, the tour was officially cancelled after Bowie was diagnosed with an acutely blocked artery that required an angioplasty procedure (performed on 26 June).[3][18]

Live recordings

A DVD video of the Point Theatre, Dublin performances of 2003 was released as A Reality Tour in 2004. A CD of the same performances was released as A Reality Tour in 2010.

Tour band

Tour dates

Date City Country Venue Tickets sold / available Revenue Opening act
7 October 2003 Copenhagen Denmark Forum Copenhagen N/A N/A "The Dandy Warhols"
8 October 2003 Stockholm Sweden Globen Arena N/A N/A
10 October 2003 Helsinki Finland Hartwall Areena N/A N/A
12 October 2003 Oslo Norway Oslo Spektrum N/A N/A
15 October 2003 Rotterdam Netherlands Rotterdam Ahoy N/A N/A
16 October 2003 Hamburg Germany Color Line Arena N/A N/A
18 October 2003 Frankfurt Festhalle Frankfurt N/A N/A
20 October 2003 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy N/A N/A
21 October 2003 N/A N/A
23 October 2003 Milan Italy Forum di Assago N/A N/A
24 October 2003 ZĂĽrich Switzerland Hallenstadion N/A N/A
26 October 2003 Stuttgart Germany Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle N/A N/A
27 October 2003 Munich Olympiahalle N/A N/A
29 October 2003 Vienna Austria Wiener Stadthalle N/A N/A
31 October 2003 Cologne Germany Kölnarena N/A N/A
1 November 2003 Hanover Preussag Arena 10,587 / 10,587 $499,926
3 November 2003 Berlin Max-Schmeling-Halle 10,693 / 10,693 $512,787
5 November 2003 Antwerp Belgium Sportpaleis 16,113 / 16,113 $690,217
7 November 2003 Lille France ZĂ©nith de Lille 6,986 / 6,986 $349,420
8 November 2003 Amnéville Galaxie Amnéville 10,960 / 11,200 $462,161
10 November 2003 Nice Palais Nikaia 7,620 / 8,000 $426,823
14 November 2003 Marseille Le DĂ´me de Marseille 8,004 / 8,004 $440,087
15 November 2003 Lyon Halle Tony Garnier 17,000 / 17,000 $753,371
17 November 2003 Manchester England Manchester Evening News Arena 14,827 / 14,827 $1,094,747
19 November 2003 Birmingham NEC LG Arena 23,604 / 23,604 $1,759,705
20 November 2003
22 November 2003 Dublin Republic of Ireland Point Theatre 17,000 / 17,000 $1,142,076
23 November 2003
25 November 2003 London England Wembley Arena 23,048 / 23,048 $1,717,549
26 November 2003
28 November 2003 Glasgow Scotland Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre 10,103 / 10,103 $768,886
North America
13 December 2003 Montreal Canada Bell Centre 11,315 / 11,315 $613,650 Macy Gray
15 December 2003 New York City United States Madison Square Garden 13,752 / 13,752 $1,108,711
16 December 2003 Uncasville Mohegan Sun Arena 6,698 / 6,698 $313,460
20 December 2003 Nassau Bahamas The Atlantis Paradise Island Hotel N/A N/A N/A
7 January 2004 Cleveland United States CSU Convocation Center 7,692 / 7,938 $336,940 Macy Gray
9 January 2004 Auburn Hills The Palace of Auburn Hills 8,509 / 8,909 $427,522
11 January 2004 Minneapolis Target Center 5,492 / 7,505 $275,436
13 January 2004 Rosemont Rosemont Theatre 12,867 / 12,867 $959,883
14 January 2004
16 January 2004
19 January 2004 Denver Fillmore Auditorium 3,600 / 3,600 $237,600
21 January 2004 Calgary Canada Pengrowth Saddledome 11,474 / 11,474 $634,074
24 January 2004 Vancouver GM Place 11,617 / 11,617 $612,323
25 January 2004 Seattle United States Paramount Theatre 2,804 / 2,835 $199,722
27 January 2004 San Jose HP Pavilion 9,856 / 10,317 $578,128
30 January 2004 Las Vegas The Joint 1,522 / 1,522 $343,313
31 January 2004 Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium 12,348 / 12,348 $803,544
2 February 2004
3 February 2004 Wiltern Theatre 2,290 / 2,290 $187,174
5 February 2004 Phoenix Dodge Theater 4,873 / 4,873 $237,842
6 February 2004 Las Vegas The Joint 1,522 / 1,522 $343,313
7 February 2004 Los Angeles Wiltern Theatre 2,290 / 2,290 $187,174
14 February 2004 Wellington New Zealand Westpac Stadium N/A N/A Brooke Fraser
17 February 2004 Brisbane Australia Brisbane Entertainment Centre N/A N/A Something for Kate
20 February 2004 Sydney Sydney Entertainment Centre N/A N/A
21 February 2004 N/A N/A
23 February 2004 Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre N/A N/A
26 February 2004 Melbourne Rod Laver Arena N/A N/A
27 February 2004 N/A N/A
1 March 2004 Perth Supreme Court Gardens N/A N/A
4 March 2004 Singapore Singapore Indoor Stadium N/A N/A N/A
8 March 2004 Tokyo Japan Nippon Budokan N/A N/A
9 March 2004 N/A N/A
11 March 2004 Osaka Osaka-jo Hall N/A N/A Kiyorahu
14 March 2004 Hong Kong Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre N/A N/A N/A
North America
29 March 2004 Philadelphia United States Wachovia Center 10,761 / 18,000 $645,380 Stereophonics
30 March 2004 Boston FleetCenter N/A N/A
1 April 2004 Toronto Canada Air Canada Centre 13,893 / 14,114 $771,136
2 April 2004 Ottawa Corel Centre N/A N/A
4 April 2004 Quebec City Colisée Pepsi N/A N/A
7 April 2004 Winnipeg Winnipeg Arena N/A N/A
9 April 2004 Edmonton Rexall Place 8,507 / 9,404 $342,609
11 April 2004 Kelowna Skyreach Place N/A N/A
13 April 2004 Portland United States Rose Garden Arena N/A N/A
14 April 2004 Seattle KeyArena 6,065 / 6,500 $316,094
16 April 2004 Berkeley Berkeley Community Theatre N/A N/A
17 April 2004 N/A N/A
19 April 2004 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Bowl 4,546 / 4,562 $314,625
22 April 2004 Los Angeles Greek Theatre 5,764 / 5,764 $360,560
23 April 2004 Anaheim Arrowhead Pond 7,015 / 7,520 $498,218
25 April 2004 Loveland Budweiser Events Center 4,177 / 5,440 $262,503
27 April 2004 Austin The Backyard Amphitheater N/A N/A
29 April 2004 The Woodlands Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion N/A N/A
30 April 2004 New Orleans Saenger Theatre N/A N/A
5 May 2004 Tampa Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center N/A N/A The Polyphonic Spree
8 May 2004 Atlanta Chastain Park Amphitheater N/A N/A
10 May 2004 Kansas City Starlight Theatre N/A N/A
11 May 2004 St. Louis Fox Theatre N/A N/A
13 May 2004 Hershey Star Pavilion N/A N/A
14 May 2004 London Canada John Labatt Centre 8,513 / 8,513 $446,740
16 May 2004 Fairfax United States Patriot Center N/A N/A
17 May 2004 Pittsburgh Benedum Center N/A N/A
19 May 2004 Milwaukee Milwaukee Theatre N/A N/A
20 May 2004 Indianapolis Murat Shrine N/A N/A
22 May 2004 Moline The MARK of the Quad Cities N/A N/A
24 May 2004 Columbus Columbus Veterans Memorial Auditorium N/A N/A
25 May 2004 Buffalo Shea's Performing Arts Center N/A N/A
27 May 2004 Scranton Ford Pavilion at Montage Mountain N/A N/A
29 May 2004 Atlantic City Borgata Event Center N/A N/A
30 May 2004 N/A N/A
1 June 2004 Manchester Verizon Wireless Arena N/A N/A
2 June 2004 Uncasville Mohegan Sun Arena N/A N/A
4 June 2004 Wantagh Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre N/A N/A
5 June 2004 Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center N/A N/A
11 June 2004 Amsterdam Netherlands Amsterdam Arena N/A N/A –
13 June 2004[a] Newport England Seaclose Park N/A N/A
17 June 2004[b] Bergen Norway Koengen N/A N/A
18 June 2004[c] Oslo Frognerbadet N/A N/A
20 June 2004[d] Seinäjoki Finland Törnävänsaari N/A N/A
23 June 2004 Prague Czech Republic T-Mobile Arena N/A N/A
25 June 2004[e] ScheeĂźel Germany Eichenring N/A N/A
Total 722,158 / 737,581 $45,395,490
  • On 19 August 2003 Bowie performed a one-off show in Poughkeepsie, New York at The Chance, as a warm up show.
  • On 8 September 2003 Bowie performed a show at the Riverside Studios in London which was a 'satellite show'. This was a live performance beamed via satellite to cinemas and theatres across Europe and due to time delay the following day across Asia, Australia, North and South America.[20][21]
  1. ^ The concert on 13 June 2004 in Newport was part of the Isle of Wight Festival.
  2. ^ The concert on 17 June 2004 in Bergen was part of the Bergen Festival.
  3. ^ The concert on 18 June 2004 in Oslo was part of the Norwegian Wood Festival.
  4. ^ The concert on 20 June 2004 in Seinäjoki was part of Provinssirock.
  5. ^ The concert on 25 June 2004 in ScheeĂźel was part of the Hurricane Festival. This was also the final David Bowie concert as part of a headlining tour.
Cancellations and rescheduled shows
12 November 2003 Toulouse Le ZĂ©nith de Toulouse Cancelled
6 December 2003 Atlantic City The Borgata Events Center Rescheduled to 29 May 2004
7 December 2003 Fairfax Patriot Center Rescheduled to 16 May 2004
9 December 2003 Boston Fleet Center Rescheduled to 30 March 2004
10 December 2003 Philadelphia Wachovia Center Rescheduled to 29 March 2004
12 December 2003 Toronto Air Canada Centre Rescheduled to 1 April 2004
6 May 2004 Miami James L. Knight Center Cancelled
26 June 2004 Tuttlingen Southside Festival Cancelled
29 June 2004 Vienna Schloss Schönbrunn Cancelled
30 June 2004 Salzburg Residenzplatz Cancelled
2 July 2004 Roskilde Roskilde Festival Cancelled
4 July 2004 Werchter Rock Werchter Cancelled
6 July 2004 Ile De Gaou Festival de la Gaou Cancelled
7 July 2004 Carcassonne Festival de la Cite Cancelled
10 July 2004 Kinross Balado, T in the Park Cancelled
11 July 2004 County Kildare Oxegen Festival Cancelled
14 July 2004 Bilbao Bilbao Festival Cancelled
16 July 2004 Compostela Xacobeo Festival Cancelled
17 July 2004 Oporto The Dragon Festival Cancelled
20 July 2004 Nyon Paléo Festival Nyon Cancelled
21 July 2004 Monte Carlo Club du Sporting Cancelled
23 July 2004 Carhaix Vieilles Charrues Festival Cancelled



  • DVD/CD Included on A Reality Tour (film) and A Reality Tour (live album)
  • CD Included on the live album
  • iTunes Available as Digital download bonus tracks (iTunes) for the live album

From David Bowie

  • "Space Oddity"

From The Man Who Sold the World

From Hunky Dory

From The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

From Aladdin Sane

From Diamond Dogs

From Young Americans

From Station to Station

From Low

From "Heroes"

From Lodger

From Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

From Let's Dance

  • "Modern Love"
  • "China Girl" CD written by Iggy Pop and Bowie)
  • "Let's Dance"

From Tonight

  • "Loving the Alien" DVD/CD
  • "Blue Jean"

From Outside

  • "Hallo Spaceboy" DVD/CD (Bowie, Eno)
  • "The Motel" (Bowie, Eno) DVD/CD

From Earthling

From Heathen

From Reality

Other songs: