January 11, 2016 Cape Porpoise, ME
Mid-70’s – In my bedroom in DC, listening to an FM station during a raging thunderstorm. I remember hearing “Riders on the Storm” (Doors, obv.) and thinking that was pretty apropos. The next song was “Fame”. The thunderclaps from the storm coincided with the percussion and lyrical crescendos perfectly throughout. It was a perfectly synchronous auditory experience. Radio wavelengths crackling across the ionosphere, in harmony with the weather. I remember thinking that the Gods were dancing to that tune.
I saw D.B. a bunch of times throughout his career I have all the tix stubs somewhere; wish I could post them now. Anyway, concert-wise, my favorite experience was seeing him in the late 90s during his “Earthling” tour/drum and bass period. I saw him a couple of times at a mid-size venue in D.C. (the name of which escapes me). That was in a sketchy part of town and usually catered to raves and techno acts (Paul Oakenfield, etc). He and his band, (notably Gail Ann Dorsey on bass, and lead guitarist; he looked like Frankenstein) owned the stage and the material like nothing I have seen before or since. In many ways “Earthling” is my favorite Bowie album because of the utter virtuosity of the ensemble he assembled. He was so utterly in his element. That said, he always played with the best.
The brainy girls always worshipped him.
Favorite memory; I went to see him at a stadium event at the Capital Center in the DC area. “Let’s Dance” era. I was with a date (whose name eludes me) who was less than impressed with the seats I’d acquired – directly behind the stage. There were a bunch of us back there, making the best of it, but these really were the crap seats. We saw more of the behind the scene theatrics than the show itself. At one point, about halfway through the show, David turned around and seemed to realize that we were back there in the cheap seats. He turned around and sang a whole song just to us! I don’t remember what it was, but the intimacy of the moment – in a crowd of thousands – was scintillating, spell-binding! I was so struck by his generosity as a performer. He didn’t have to do that, but he did, and it was wonderful and turned what would otherwise have been an utterly mediocre evening into something wonderful.
May the Gods Bless You, David Bowie! I hope this next phase of your journey will be everything you have dreamed it might be!