Although only a handful of dates have been confirmed, the official word is that the tour will kick off in Europe in October and then move on to North America. Australia and Asia are on the map for early 2004.

The trek, titled A Reality Tour, is scheduled to include 17 countries over seven months and will start alongside the release of Bowie’s new album, Reality.

Since Bowie’s 1995 Outside World Tour, he has mostly concentrated on more intimate one-off live events and festivals in Europe, although he did participate in last summer’s Area2 extravaganza and performed a string of East Coast dates last fall.

The chamaeleon-like pop icon cited the success of recent live shows as the prime reason for embarking on the ambitious tour.

“My band is playing at the top of its form right now,” Bowie explained, “and it would be foolish not to play a tour this year while we’re in such good spirits about the live show aspects of our work.”

Tickets for confirmed shows are already available to members of BowieNet, who can make their pre-sale grab at