A week after Bowie’s passing and I still can’t quite process that he has gone.
I was pretty gutted when Lou Reed died but Bowie’s death has hit me even harder. It’s impossible for me to think back on my life without the music of David Bowie being an integral part of its soundtrack through the decades. We’ve lost a creative giant and someone whose work touched my life irrevocably. This is a real chapter-closer, severing a big link with my youth.
However, it’s heartwarming to see the amazing reaction the world the world has given him upon his passing. And he went out on top, doing his best work in decades with Blackstar, upping the bar he’d been resetting with Heathen and The Next Day. I am glad I had three days to listen to and absorb it prior to his death, marveling that, at age 69, he was actually breaking new ground, with Blackstar largely being unlike anything else in his back catalogue. I can think of other music artists doing good stuff at 69, but I for the life of me can’t think of anyone other than Bowie doing something new at that age, and doing it well. That’s inspiring.
I was lucky enough to see Bowie five times and, in writing about the first time in 1983, I also wrote in-depth about what Bowie meant to me and how he impacted my life. I’ll simply relink to what I have already written rather than further reiterate.
Thanks for everything, David. RIP. You’ll be missed.
© 2016 VariousArtists
024. Discopravity: Psychic TV, Danceteria, New York City, New York, November 17, 1983. $n/a
NOTE: While this second of a two-part entry covers Psychic TV’s gig at Danceteria (part one included a look at a Circle Jerks’ show at The Reggae Lounge), its focus is more on the hijinks, buffoonery and events experienced among my friends and I over several days in NYC in late ‘83.
Now this was a club! Danceteria was utterly brilliant: a four-storey funhouse that was exactly what the doctor ordered (especially if he’d been Dr. Robert).
Ethel & Fred Mertz (Vivian Vance & William Frawley) in a still from an I Love Lucy postcard that I bought while in NYC. The physical exuberance depicted in this photo represents but 1/20th of that which was present in the mosh pit during the Circle Jerks’ show.
023. Back Against the Wall: Circle Jerks, Reggae Lounge, New York City, New York, November 16, 1983, $ n/a
NOTE: While this first part of a two-part entry will touch on the Circle Jerks’ show — and 024 will cover Psychic TV at the Danceteria — these two entries are more about the hijinks, buffoonery and events experienced among my friends and I over several days in NYC in late ‘83.
Marianne comes to town on a steamy August Monday evening. It was a night of thigh-slappin’ rhythms, contented smiles … and dangerous acquaintances.
021. Dangerous Acquaintances: Marianne Faithfull, Fryfogle’s, London, Ontario, August 15, 1983, $12.50
Marianne Faithfull has occupied mental real estate in my consciousness since I was but a wee lad. As someone who grew up in a household where the music of the Rolling Stones was ever-present via my older sibs (“Dandelion” was one of the first singles I ever owned; Out of Our Heads, my first album, was gifted to my four-year-old self from a visiting aunt and uncle from the UK), I was always following the Stones-related headlines and hijinks. Mick and Marianne’s exploits throughout their time as a couple in the late 1960s always got a profusion of ink. Continue reading
Three consecutive summers of Police Picnics — and four consecutive summers of music festivals — come to a close for me with this final edition.
019. Walking on the Moon: Police Picnic III featuring The Police, Peter Tosh, James Brown, King Sunny Adé, Blue Peter, and The Fixx, CNE Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Friday August 5, 1983, $20.
Another summer, another all-day music festival in Toronto headlined by The Police. The last of the three, in fact.
It was part of the band’s final tour undertaken during the time of their original existence, as a promotional vehicle for their fifth album, Synchronicity, which was an immediate blockbuster upon its early June release. Advertised as being along for the ride this time were former Wailer and reggae legend Peter Tosh; the brilliant King Sunny Adé and His African Beats; bland, contemporary new wavers The Fixx; Toronto’s own Blue Peter, then nearing both a career peak and the last throes of their existence; and, best of all and initially the biggest reason for my purchasing a ticket, Scotland’s Simple Minds, then finishing up their global flogging of what is for my money the one truly brilliant long-playing moment of their career: 1982’s New Gold Dream.
I do not have a ticket for this show, so a big Thank You to MZ for this handbill scan from her collection.
018. I Keep A Close Watch: John Cale with Sheep Look Up, Fryfogle’s, London, Ontario, Canada, Monday June 13, 1983
Given my life-long obsession with music of many genres, it’s difficult for me to pair it down to a singular favourite.
That said, if pushed, there are probably two bands who could split that mantle between them. In my world, they are equal twin peaks and share a number of similar traits Continue reading