Bowie and I

in #music15 days ago

As the Glastonbory festival was not on this year the BBC were broadcasting lots of previous performances over the weekend. One of those what David Bowie's headline set of 2000. At the time he only allowed part of it to be broadcast, but this was the whole thing. I have never been to Glastonbury, but we really enjoyed this show.

Despite missing that performance I did manage to see Bowie live several times. My better half has been to a lot more of his shows. Together we have been to various other shows and events related to him. We would not even be classed as superfans compared to some people who would follow his tours and may have even met him. We are just fans of his and other music. He was a major presence in British music for nearly 40 years and there can be few he did not touch in some way.

My first experience of live Bowie was in 1991 when we was playing with the Tin Machine project. I know a lot of critics did not like him doing that, but artists should do what they feel is right. I think they did some good songs. This was not too long after my wife to be and I got together. She wanted to go to the gig in Cambridge, but that meant going some weeks before to queue for tickets. So we drove to Cambridge to get there about 7am one weekend and found there was already a big queue around the Corn Exchange. Some hours later we got our tickets. The gig itself was really good. It is not a huge venue and we were down on the floor with a good view. I do not have any pictures of this or some of the other gigs as this was well before smartphones and cameras were discouraged at most gigs. The Setlist site has details of many gigs, including this one. There were none of his solo songs, but there were covers of other artists.

We also saw him perform the following year at the Freddie Mercury Tribute gig at Wembley Stadium as one of many artists. He did Under Pressure (with Annie Lennox) and Heroes. I have posted about that gig.

The first actual Bowie tour I was was for the Outside album in 1995. This show at Wembley Arena was a slightly odd one. Morrisey was the support when I think he has just issued his first solo album. He did not stay with the tour long as he did not get a great reception. The Bowie set was mostly from the new album, which is very high concept and not one of his best, but does have some cracking tunes. He did play some of the old hits, but less than on later tours.

Some of our tickets. I did not go to all these gigs, but my better half did.

A more intimate gig was for Earthling in 1997 at Shepherd's Bush Empire. It started with him playing Quicksand solo with just an acoustic guitar. There was more of a mix of hits, but I think Earthling is a good album. I remember being impressed by his drummer.

Some of our oldest friends are also big Bowie fans and we have been to several gigs together. One of those was when he curated the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in 2002. The support was The Dandy Warhols who had decided to play a strange set that did not go down well. It was all droning noise. I guess they were trying to be arty, but a lot of people walked out. Bowie played his Low album through. That is also arty, but at least has some tunes. He also played his latest album Heathen which I think I enjoyed more. The encore consisted of some hits, including Ziggy Stardust.

We saw his Reality tour with our friends in 2003 at Wembley Arena. Support was The Dandy Warhols again, but this time they played their hits and went down much better. Bowie was performing well and we got a good mix of new songs and classics.

That was to be the last time we saw him live. In 2004 he had a heart attack and rarely performed live after that. His last two albums, The Next Day and Blackstar did not have tours and he did not even do much publicity. He died just after Blackstar was released in January 2016.

A year after his death his pianist Mike Garson organised a concert at Brixton Academy that brought together many musicians who had played with him along with a lot of singers to perform his songs. On that day we went to a performance of the play Lazarus that was based on the character from The Man Who Fell To Earth and featured a number of Bowie songs. That was interesting. Then we went on to Brixton for the Celebration gig. That was quite emotional. Our daughter came along to that. She never got to see Bowie live, but was at the 1997 gig pre-birth.

The Celebration gigs have become an annual event and we have been each year since. One of those was in Berlin along with our friends. We spent a few days there. On the day of the gig we also toured Hansa Studios where he recorded several albums. The tour guide was Eduard Meyer who was engineer there at the time and so knew Bowie well.

Another person I met who knew Bowie was photographer Denis O'Regan who went on tour with him. We attended an exhibition of his photos. We could have bought prints, but they were really expensive.

As well as the Celebration gigs we have also attended two gigs by Holy Holy. This was formed by Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey who worked with Bowie a lot. They do a great show with Glenn Gregory on vocals. We have seen a couple of Bowie tribute acts who put on good shows.

In 2016 there was a performance during the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall dedicated to Bowie. This featured Amanda Palmer, Neil Hannon, Mark Almond and others with soem nice string arrangements. Yes, we were there.

As well as travelling to Berlin for a Celebration gig we also went with our friends to Groningen in the Netherlands to see the David Bowie Is exhibition, with our fellow fans. We managed to miss this when it was in London, but after he died we really wanted to see it. It was really good with lots of costumes, instruments, handwritten lyrics and other memorabilia. It was really well done with headphones to give you a soundtrack as you walked through it.

David Bowie Is

David Bowie has meant a lot to us, but I do not think we would class as obsessive. We are just fans who have got a lot of pleasure from his work and have been lucky to experience so much of it.

Let's dance!


He was a legend true,

I thought his bassist was just awesome, I've no idea who she was, but she had such a great look and stage presence, which is saying something when you're standing next to Bowie - I got the feeling he knew it too, two real 'artists'.

I was actually thinking about Bowie compared to Lemmie - I was always a huge Motorhead fan -not that you can compare, more contrast - Bowie the artist, Lemmie just churning out the same old same old, but he never pretended to be anything else -

Got me to thinking about their off-stage lives - I can imagine Bowie being really sophisticated, thinking about his next musical evolution step by step - Lemmie just getting drunk, shagging and playing slots and computer games.

So I can't relate to being a Bowie fan, though I do appreciate his huge talent, and that was a nice bit of Nostalgia that post - Morissey not being well-received, that made me chuckle!

Gail Ann Dorsey is a great musician in her own right. Seen her perform with Bowie several times.

I've read a few books about Bowie. He was an intellectual guy, with some dodgy politics at times. He over-did the drugs for a good few years, but managed to get through it even if it may have shortened his life. Lemmy was a talented guy too in a more primal way. Some guys seem to feel they have to live the rock and roll lifestyle. He did well to live that long.

At one of the TV shows we went to we met a couple in the queue who went to the Outside tour mainly to see Morrisey. I think they booked for multiple shows, but then he pulled out of the tour. Morrisey is another one who seems to stay aloof from regular folk, but also has some dodgy politics. A friend of mine is a big fan, but has given up on seeing him live again due to some of the statements he comes out with.

I've seen him twice:
Serious Moonlight tour - Milton Keynes Bowl
Reality World Tour - Birmingham NIA

I have, wait for it. All the albums on Vynal (Including Tin Machine), all the albums on CD and all the albums on mp3 then there's the films as well. LOL

This was my bedroom that I shared with my brother in the 70's why the hell did I pin those posters from inside the albums on the wall? They'd be worth a fortune now undamaged. 😥

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My other half may have been at the same Serious Moonlight gig. We don't even have all his albums :) I admire your dedication and taste in music.

A nice way to start a Monday, thanks.

I was watching that last night, too knackered to see it all.. but it was good these bits I saw.

It will be on the iPlayer, but we recorded it anyway. Watching big gigs is strange these days when you would want to avoid crowds. Of course we were spreading diseases anyway.

Cough: On Linux install youtube-dl then run the command below. The download will be a .H264 extension some video players support that but if not use Handbrake to convert it to mp4

$ youtube-dl

Not sure if you can install youtube-dl on Windows?

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I used to use something called getiplayer or similar. Does that still work? Anyway, our PVR has this gig recorded. I'm not obsessive about keeping recordings anyway. Not enough time to keep re-watching stuff.

Yeah, I used to use that but I think the BBC blocked it? I know it didn't work for a while. Maybe it's fixed now?

Oh, getiplayer is on github

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I got to 'All the Young Dudes' and then collapsed, the Mott the Hoople hit, written by Bowie.

I watched a documentary on the last few years and was introduced to a song I haven't heard of his before, .. 'Valentine's Day',. what an amazing artist, iv been a fan of his from the '80s. my big regret - I had the opportunity to see him live once but didn't manage to make it.

That song was on the penultimate album. I think it was used in the Lasarus play. There's some good stuff on those last two.

I am glad I was able to see him once in concert. It was a really good show. That concert you went to with all of the concept work sounds a lot like the Bob Dylan show I went to. I thought it was going to be one thing, but it ended up being something very different. It as a little disappointing because of that.

Some artists are erratic and I've heard Dylan shows are variable. There's a lot of pressure for them to perform and it must be hard at times. Sometimes they may want to challenge the audience, but it's okay if you go in expecting that.

Wow you are such a fan... 29 years and still a fan.. i listened to the song while reading this post and i enjoyed it. Well consider checking him out... i also like the drum work in the song.

May his soul rest in piece

He was actually younger than me when he played Glastonbury that time :) There are various artists I have been into all my life and some are still around. Music is for life. are really into good music

Wow! The connection with the fans is something else...guess he was a legend. He's performance is something's messed up we didn't get a feel of his works from this side our world. But 20+years of followership is really amazing.

He had a broad appeal even though he was quite experimental. Albums like Let's Dance made him a massive star. He was just such a great performer and he is missed.'s really obvious he will be missed