August 19, 2002 12:00 PM

Sitting in his trailer before his July 31 set in Holmdel, N.J., David Bowie, 55, is more Mr. Mom than Major Tom. On area², his summer tour with Moby, Bowie is pleased that many of the gigs are within commuting range, so he can usually get back to Alexandria, 2, his daughter with former supermodel Iman, 47, who now runs a cosmetics line. “My baby’s too important,” he says. “She wakes up and comes and finds us and yells, ‘Milk!’ And she switches on one of my keyboards and does abstract music.”

Which brings us to another cherubic keyboard lover. Techno-pop pioneer Moby invited Bowie, his friend and “favorite rock performer of all time” (the pair live near each other in downtown Manhattan and have hung out together), to join his 12-city area² festival, which ends Aug. 16. (The eclectic bill includes Blue Man Group and rapper Busta Rhymes.) “Being at a cocktail party and trying to talk to three or four people, I’ll be very nervous,” says Moby, 36. “But in front of 20,000 people I’m comfortable. Don’t know what kind of pathology that’s indicative of. A degree of masochism?” It’s a topic he can always discuss with groupies. “There are,” he says, “women who want to have sex with you, and others who just want to talk to you. I tend to fall in the latter category.”

Few have more devoted fans than Bowie, though. “Busta said, ‘David Bowie, I never missed one of your shows. I never been to one of your shows, so I never missed one of your shows.’ ” As for other graying rockers on tour this year such as Paul McCartney, The Who and the Rolling Stones, Bowie says cheerfully, “Don’t worry. We’ll all be dropping like flies shortly.”

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