jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Well, fuck.

... no, that's about all I've got. It's too big. I'm having trouble conceiving of a world without David Bowie in it. I think "There won't be any more Bowie albums," and my brain comes back with "oh, so he's saying he's retired?" It makes.no.sense.

My first exposure to David Bowie came in the form of Labyrinth. My first exposure to his *music* must have been 1.Outside my freshman year of college, although I have no idea why on earth I picked it up. 1.Outside, just so we're clear, is a really weird album. It's got some indisputably great singles (Hallo Spaceboy, The Hearts Filthy Lesson) and buried gems (Strangers When We Meet, Thru These Architect's Eyes) all wrapped up in an art-rock noirish concept album. I loved it. When Earthling came out in 1997 I loved that even more.

In the fall of '96 I saw him as Andy Warhol in Basquiat, which... honestly, that may be the single movie that's had the biggest influence on my life. It got me interested in Warhol, and in Basquiat and even, a little, in late-twentieth-century art. The soundtrack turned me on to John Cale and Leonard Cohen, and the performances got me watching for Jeffrey Wright and Claire Forlani and Benicio Del Toro in other things. And Bowie... staring at his giant stencilled Amoco logo, "I can't even see what's good anymore." Perfect.



I saw Bowie twice in concert, which is at least once more than I can say for any other rock icon. The second time was in 2002, at a festival with Moby and Blue Man Group. It was good, well worth the 3.5-hour drive there and 3.5-hour drive back that night, but it was an arena show, and it reminded me why I'm not such a fan of large venues.

The first time was in I believe late 1997, for the Earthling tour. This was very much a "fuck it, I'm having fun" show: the club was packed but it wasn't huge. After about an hour and a half he went backstage to get a cigarette. Not to take a smoke break, mind you: just to get a cigarette. Then he played for another hour or so. I'm sure he played some Greatest Hits, and of course a lot of songs from Earthling, but he definitely played a good amount of "why the hell not" songs. V-2 Schneider (an odd mid-seventies mostly-instrumental), for pete's sake.

Mostly what I remember from that show, though, is the lights dimming and weird distortion pouring through the speakers, and then a spotlight coming up on Gail Ann Dorsey and her creepy whisper/chant "The heart's filthy lesson ... heart's filthy lesson ..." A couple of songs later she took the Freddie Mercury part, brilliantly, on Under Pressure.



I'd hoped/expected that Bowie would tour for Reality, his hyperactive upbeat poppish album from 2003... and he did, and had a heart attack six dates in and cancelled the rest of it. After he started releasing albums again I thought maybe he'd go back out on tour and I'd get to see him for a third time.

I really don't know what to make of this. No more David Bowie? As well say there's no more Steve Brust, or no more Star Wars. The absence is too overwhelming to comprehend that it can even be an absence.
And I'm gone, like I'm dancing on angels
And I'm gone, through the crack in the past
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jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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