I went to my first concert ever when I was 11, turning 12. And, no, it wasn’t David Bowie — that would be my second concert ever, a year later, when I was 12, turning 13. I saw the seminal 80s Canadian pop/rock band Platinum Blonde at what was probably the height of their popularity, promoting their second album, Alien Shores, which was anchored by a slick, stylish video for the single Crying Over You. Watching this video again, it twigged a memory: that Platinum Blonde’s guitarist, Sergio Galli, had to learn the guitar solo in order to mimic it for the video. If memory served — and it did — the solo was actually performed on the record by Alex Lifeson of Rush.
I must have enjoyed the Platinum Blonde concert. But I can’t remember it at all. The Bowie concert, I do. I remember being far, far in the back; I remember a woman near us commenting on the giant stage ostensibly made to look like a spider; I remember feeling too short to really see anything; and, more than anything, I remember being so, so happy. Because I was at a David Bowie concert.
There is no typical Bowie show, and part of what is great about tried and true Bowie fans is their willingness to meet Bowie wherever he’s at. The Next Day — which I adore, adore, adore — could lend itself as easily to stadium rock as it could to a smaller venue. (Not that I know anything about these things; if I did I might have chosen a different career path).
They say Bowie said no tour for The Next Day. If that’s the truth, we’ll have to be content with extraordinary memories of past performances: of being in the cheap seats, on the floor or right up front; all of which I’ve experienced, and all of which are equally special in their own way.
And failing memories, because of their natural tendency to fade or because they never existed to begin with, there’s always concert footage.
Ladies and gentlemen, All The Young Dudes.
(The VEVO version of this performance is bookended by Bowie facetiously pleading with the crowd to refrain from singing along to the chorus, and then playfully chiding them when they fail to do so).