David Bowie (January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016)
On June 14, 1974 David Bowie brought his ground-breaking Diamond Dogs tour to the Montreal Forum. Earlier that day, Al and I met some stranger under the escalater on the ground floor of the Alexis Nihon plaza and bought two tickets off of him. We went to the show that night and made our way down to the floor and had our lives changed forever. This was a revolutionary concert tour, full of drama and theater not seen before on such a huge scale. We watched Bowie shadowbox to Panic in Detroit, appear on a cat-walk high above the stage singing Sweet Thing and then float in a most peculiar way above the audience in a tin can as he serenaded us with Space Oddity. After the show we sat in stunned silence as we watched the crew tear down the stage. We were determined to not let the experience disappear. Our plan was to talk to one of the “roadies”, join the crew and head out on the road with them. We ended up not running away with the circus that night, but our life path was no doubt changed: we were both fourteen years old.
We may not have run away with Bowie that night but he had definitely captured our young minds and imaginations: for the next five years he took us on a journey that opened us up and exposed us to new ideas, concepts and worlds. This journey played a huge part in forming the people who we are today. The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Station To Station, Low, Heroes were all albums of which we absorbed every detail, they made us question what we thought we knew and headed us off on paths of discovery that we didn’t even know existed until Bowie pointed them out. In the late 1970’s, punk rock invaded our world and we championed it as our own. Part of the punk rock ethos was to sacrifice your heroes to the cause and so we did….we kicked Bowie off the pedestal that we had built for him and headed down our own path. Bowie would have wanted it no other way.
I had a chance to meet him in the late 90’s. We were at a small gathering and Bowie held court in the corner of the room. I kept hovering around, trying to build up my confidence to go up and say “hello” and “thank you”, but I never did. The moment passed and I have regretted it ever since.
So…in case your listening…hello and thank you, so very, very much.