For Bowie’s first in-person appearance after his heart surgery, he showed up for the NYC “Fashion Rocks” event with one hand bandaged and a black eye. “What happened to David?” you might have asked. “Did he fall down on the way to the gig?”

But it’s pure theater; he may have been just trying to lower expectations. (He would pull a similar sort of feint in 2013, leading with “Where Are We Now” — on which he sounds wistful and fragile — when the album to follow would be mostly loud and aggressive.) He needn’t have worried. The charisma is still there, the voice still does its master’s bidding, and the song of course is one of the best ever written by a human (if indeed it was).

That would have been enough, but he wasn’t done for the night. We’ll pick up the thread tomorrow.