Celebrity StoriesMusicRock

Bowie ticket stubs conjure up memories and lingering mystery

by: Kenton Larsen

I’ve seen David Bowie live four times.

Actually, make that five times if you include a chance encounter at a bus stop.

I was in the crowd in Winnipeg, Canada for the 1983 Serious Moonlight tour, the 1987 Glass Spider tour, the 1990 Sound + Vision tour, and the 2004 Reality tour.

The first tour might have been the most exciting, simply because international artists of David Bowie’s stature rarely performed live in Canada; no, the Great White North was strictly the domain of Platinum Blonde, Loverboy, and Bryan Adams.

David_BowieIt cost $20 for a ticket to see Bowie. When tickets went on sale, radio call-in shows featured callers who were outraged – outraged! – at the ticket price. “Can you believe how David Bowie is gouging concert-goers? Call now at 1-800-555-ROCK to complain!” Leave it to Canadians to worry about the cost of a ticket before celebrating the end of a decades-long concert drought.

On the day of the concert, I was waiting at a bus stop and a limo pulled up and briefly stopped near me. There weren’t many limos in town at that time, so that alone was pretty exciting.

There, in the back seat of the limo, I noticed a guy in a yellow suit with bleach-blond hair. The man turned, and I was startled to see that it was the Thin White Duke himself. Stunned, I looked around for another human for confirmation, and there was none. I had to be satisfied telling myself, “Holy crap – you were just a foot away from Ziggy Stardust!”

Bowie returned to the city in 1987 for the Glass Spider tour, which was mostly notable for having Duran Duran and the Georgia Satellites (!) as opening acts.

Three years later, Bowie came back for his Sound + Vision greatest hits tour. In every other city, Bowie ended with Modern Love, and in Winnipeg he didn’t. He played Jean Genie and left the stage. Everybody thought, “Where the hell is Modern Love?”

The urban legend: Bowie got angry at guitarist Adrian Belew for upstaging him, and stormed off the stage. Who knows: maybe he just had a plane to catch. I don’t know if anyone has the real answer to this, but I’d love to know.

I last saw Bowie on the Reality tour, and that may have been the best Bowie show of the bunch; from my vantage point in the front row, I could admire Bowie’s cool sneakers, note that he and I were probably the same height and weight, and be the recipient of some serious David Bowie spit.

That’s how I remember David Bowie: not as Ziggy Stardust or the Thin White Duke, but a guy in a T-shirt, sneakers, and jeans with great tunes. It’s so sad he’s gone.

(note: photo of me is by John Woods, Winnipeg Free Press)

Bowie ticket stubs conjure up memories and lingering mystery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button