Very sad to hear of David Bowie’s death. It seems like the superheroes of my musical youth are proving themselves all too mortal these days.
I had no website then, and so no pictures to share from his 2002 concert at the Museumsplatz in Bonn, but I do have memories aplenty. Physically of a man looking slim but fit and immaculately dressed in a tight waistcoat as if he’d just left a wedding reception and wanted to wind down with a dance. Musically of a super rendition of ‘China Girl’ and a welcome rendition of ‘Life on Mars’.
Bowie was at the time prepared to re-visit many of his past hits (which he had avoided live for a time) so 2002 was indeed a good year to have him visit Bonn, and what an exceptional year it was too. The Museumsplatz that Summer also welcomed Willie Nelson, Bryan Ferry, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker and Diana Ross. David Bowie outshone them all though.
I remember seeing people drinking at the booth far from the stage who were facing away from it, and wondering why they had even bought tickets only to use one of rock’s most charismatic performers as a large human jukebox. I remember finally his closing lyric dissolving in the late September air – the legendary “Ziggy played guitar…!” Pure Magic.
Sadly his parting “See you next year” never happened. Injury and ill health dogged the future. In 2004 a heart attack during a German show cut short his World Tour and the concerts, along with the recordings, were reduced to a handful until by December 2006 they ended altogether.
Despite not being a huge fan of Bowie’s theatrics he was undoubtedly a visual feast, and the images taken by Mick Rock of him as Ziggy and Aladdin Sane have become iconic – showing Theatre Rock at it’s most glorious. I will remember him musically for the 70’s rock shows with the wonderful Mick Ronson on guitar and for kick-starting the career of one of my favorite rockers Ian Hunter by presenting Mott the Hoople with their first hit single ‘All the young dudes’. Today those dudes are indeed carrying the news. Ian Hunter wrote on Facebook:
“David wrote some wonderful songs. I was lucky enough to sing one of them – and it changed my life. My heart goes out to his wife, son and daughter. R.I.P. David.”
Ian Hunter-January 11, 2016
RIP the Thin White Duke.