Many will have a Bowie “memory” or story.
Here’s one of mine-keep in mind all recollections are changed by the brain when recalled.
The time: probably the first Ziggy Stardust tour to the USA-maybe 1972?
The venue: The Celebrity Theater here in Phoenix.
I had heard the album once.
One of my roommates, Bill MacCormack, urged me to go. I had heard his songs on KDKB-then the great FM station of the day. In those days we didn’t have music video or the internet, just print media, TV, and radio.
I had no clue about his show.
It was probably one of the most radical anathemas-for me-I could have been exposed to at the time being nineteen years old and in my first year of college.
The performance utilized all the technology available at the venue possible most likely. The stage and seating is in the round and rotates to the audience. The illusion was given of a spaceship landing and the band walked out and began the performance of Ziggy Stardust. I was ripped on poor boy heroin-pot and alcohol(more pot than EtOh). At one point, near the middle of the show-I have forgotten the song-Ziggy bent down and simulated a blow job on the guitar player-Mick Ronson. It shocked the piss out of me. In fact, the whole androgynous appearance of Bowie kind of repulsed and attracted me at the same time as I had an inner struggle with my sexuality in those days. I felt a strong homophobia and disdain which I hid as I did not want to lose acceptance among my friends who were gay tolerant-at least with social superficiality.
To this day, the show remains to me, an icon of rock opera and Bowie a real innovator in rock music. Over the decades, I grew to love his music and social poignancy. He was a genius. I saw him a few more times over the years and thoroughly enjoyed his performance and music though never buying his records(yes, I was all vinyl which I now abhor).
I saw most of his films and liked them all. I thought him a good actor.
His latest album is typical of the artistry consistent in all his work, I am listening to it as a memorial to the gifts he gave us all.
These gifts live on despite the demise of his physicality.