It was April 29, 2004 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston, TX. I was only 19 years old and it was my first time seeing the master, the Thin White Duke, David Bowie. He was at the time promoting his 24th studio album, Reality. I remember getting excited for the concert and it was sort of my pre-Graduation present as I was about to leave my Senior year at Westbury High School.
David Bowie for me has been a part of my life since watching him when I was a kid of the 1986 cult classic Labyrinth. I was just blown away of his style, his music, and his sense of humor. Not to mention he pushed the envelope on whoever he portrayed as. Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, Major Tom, the Goblin King, Thomas Jerome Newton, or Detective Nathan Adler. He always transformed and changed which characterization he would be on stage, screen, and on TV. He as he mentioned to Russell Harty in 1973, he was a collector.
Back to the show. I remember getting the tickets and being in the Pit. That was almost for me a fan’s dream to be in the pit and being in awe of Bowie. But I kept my fanboy’s distance from the back of my head and locked it away. The opening band was the Polyphonic Spree. They were okay and they did a few songs including one of David’s Memory of a Free Festival. They finished the set. I headed back into the merchandise and bought a shirt, a program, and The Man Who Fell to Earth poster.
I headed back into the pit. The lights went down and the first lines by Earl Slick of the riff introduction of Rebel Rebel hit it off with a big bang! He came onto the stage and I was jaw-dropped. He sang the line “You got your mother in a world/she’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl/hey babe, you’re hairs alright/hey babe, let’s go out tonight.” And they were ready for liftoff for a 2-hour performance that the audience and myself, will never, ever forget.
He performed a few songs from Reality and his previous album, Heathen including New Killer Star, The Loneliest Guy, Cactus, Sunday, Heathen (The Rays), and Slip Away in which he did as an encore with the Polyphonic Spree which was a highlight moment. He performed some of the classics including The Man Who Sold the World, Fashion, Ashes to Ashes, I’m Afraid of Americans, All the Young Dudes in which they were waving their arms back and forth and singing along.
For me, the highlight was the duet between him and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey who joined up with David for the Outside tour 21 years ago and thru the Reality tour. They did a duet for Queen’s Under Pressure. It was one of those moments that audiences were completely spellbound and rooting for not just David, but Gail. They nailed it right there. He closed up the show with Suffragette City and Ziggy Stardust. He came on just in before performing the final song to close up the night wearing a cowboy hat to show Texas a huge amount of Love.
He said, “Who knew Ziggy Stardust was a cowboy?” And they got a kick out of it and those notes and the song was a perfect way to close the show off. I was astonished, emotional, and amazed of how Bowie nailed the show in Texas. It is now January 12, 2016. Yesterday, we lost an artist, an icon, a fashion, and a master. His last and final album, Blackstar, which I haven’t bought yet, is a final farewell message to his fans. I have great memories back 12 years ago of seeing Bowie live and I will live those memories until the day I die. And above, is the poster I bought at the concert. He will always be The Man Who Fell to Earth.