AN ENGLISHWOMAN IN NEW YORK (2000)
Review by Spaceface
(It was my title first Mr. TBB... and yes, you are right, someone else had it before either of us... lol).
Friday June 16th:
Off the plane, into a cab, check into hotel, shower, out again, another cab, collect EB and Carl... remember to exhale.
Called into Ultrastar offices to say hi to my buddy, Ethan. Hugs and smiles and camera flashes. Blamm was there too, sorting out his lovely journal, which tells us ALL the things we really wanted to know. He knows just how to do this because he is a fan himself. No Howard, he is at the venue, sorting out the PC's and 'Will Call'.
So, we go to join the queue at Roseland. Major delight to see all my chat friends, some familiar from Leeza's party last year, and some new faces. Right near the front of the queue was Helen2. She had been indulging in her favourite habit all day - queuing. Other queuer's included SusanS (glowing with anticipation for the 'meet and greet'), EoS (not quite so reserved this year, in fact he even looked delighted to see me... grin), Derek, laid back and cool as ever, Freecloud (He was a revelation. I had been expecting someone around my own age, because of his musical tastes. But, actually, he was a groovy looking younger guy, with very snazzy New York sunglasses and tight shorts... hehehe). Jan Genie was there, all excited, and Pozie (dynamite in an Earthling T-shirt) with her camper chair, her long-suffering husband and a bunch of flowers all ready to throw onstage. The Brit contingent were lurking, Paul Kinder, SteveK (who actually looked rather a lot older than his 16 or so years... must have had a hard paper round), and some mad Geordies, Les and Rob, who appear at every db event, and had been sleeping in the doorway of Roseland the night before.
Finally, the doors opened, and we surged into the hall. Oh, the bliss of the air con! We passed Howard on the stairs, and it was lovely to say Hi to him again. He had his bank of computers all set up for the punters to try out BowieNet. I have to say that even in those circumstances, the 'pull' to log on was quite strong. It's lovely to meet everyone in person, but there is nothing like the lure of the virtual world (that's irony, for those in doubt).
We scuttled up towards the stage, and were delighted to get a position just in front of db's mic, about four rows back. Only about an hour or so to wait. It passed in a flash actually, and... drum roll... the lights went down.
I don't know quite what I was expecting when db hit the stage, but not this, not this. He strolled towards the mic, looking completely otherworldly. I mean really like an approximation, almost, but not quite, a human being. Something much better than that. The long, messily curled hair, the most amazing spacey jacket, that face...
He opened with Wild Is The Wind which drew gasps of appreciation. I glanced along the rows at Leeza, knowing it was one of her favourites, and was rewarded by a rapt, uplifted, intent face. You know the setlist, so this isn't about that. I talked to lots of people over the weekend, and everyone's impressions were different. What I saw in this performance was an opening out of the real David Bowie to his beloved audience. He was himself tonight, revealing his own persona. If I had to give a name to his current guise, it would be David Jones. He revelled in lots and lots of sexy body language, and cheeky face pulling. He also flashed some quite superb mime every so often. Blamm was in the press pit in front of us, and took more than 150 shots. You know, I kept wondering who was capturing all those insanely revelatory poses. There were some quite stylised moments, but these felt planned to me. Also, some near self parody which was totally endearing. Really really, we were witnessing the maestro offering his most gasp-making skills.
I spent half the gig with my hand over my mouth in wonder, and the other half leaping up and down in ecstasy (when I wasn't wiping away a tear) as hit followed hit.
Highlights for me were Ashes To Ashes (I missed that at Astoria), a virtuoso rendition of All The Young Dudes which was the one which reduced me to tears... oh! those opening lyrics. He hit the top notes like a 20 year old, which was quite devastating to me. Starman... ahhh... glowing nostalgia. I hung my arm around Steph, just like David hung his around Mick on TOTP all those years ago. Under Pressure reminded me not of Freddie, but of Earthling, and Gail soared on this one.
Station To Station drew the biggest groan of audience appreciation of the night, and Slick pulled out all the stops. We were standing right beside RaMOANAa, and when Pretty Things began, I looked at her. Let's just say, I think she appreciated the song just as much tonight as she did at NetAid.
Hallo Spaceboy, a new and surprising version of Let's Dance, and firming up as my favourite knee trembler (no funny jokes, Blamm) I'm Afraid Of Americans were my favourites from the encores. The last of these was just blindingly intense, way up there with the very best of db's work.
David put his heart and soul (and throat) into this performance. As the encores continued, it became more and more amazing that we were being granted so long a set. There was a oneness with the audience which you just don't find elsewhere. I think db must be unique in knowing his fans so well. I would be very interested to know whether this changes how he feels at a performance.
In the end, it had to be over. Gratitude for the abundance was the overwhelming feeling as we filed out of the hall. We waited around the back for a short while, and were rewarded with a wave and a very short speech of thanks as David got into his car. The name on the car was 'Dav-El-Schwab'... hehehehe.
After a few drinks at Faces and Names (what an apt name!) and meeting Evan, MzRed and BlackCherry, it was time to go and die in my under-air-conditioned hotel room.
Saturday June 17th:
Up at the crack of dawn, just like last year. Time difference you see. My piece of culture this year was The Guggenheim Museum. Really the art there was incidental, it's the building itself which is totally stunning. It also struck me as the world's best suicide spot... hehe. Some souvenir shopping (bought a salami for my hubby - stop laughing), then back to the hotel for 40 winks before the show.
I met SusanS as I arrived at the venue, and she said 'What a shame, its cancelled' She's kidding, I thought, but then turned to see some ominous notices on the door of Roseland. Oh, man!!!! The butterflies disappeared from my stomach, to be replaced by a sinking feeling. We hung around for a while, and really the crowd took the bad news very well! There was an outpouring of commiseration and caring which manifested itself as lots of notes being completed and passed into the venue. After a few minutes, the security men brought out some tables, paper and magic markers, and people flocked to send their get well messages to David.
Coco came out to see us all, smiling, and soothing - a legend herself really. After adding our own messages, we did the only possible thing in the circumstances, went off for a drink. Actually the time in the bar was lovely, enabling me to get to know Pam a bit better, and also to meet Ramsey for the first time. She actually did look very Princessish that night - a lovely person. Pam told me she was really thrilled to hear Ziggy Stardust the previous night, as she hadn't heard that one live before.
We caught a cab, and went early to Leeza's aftershow party. All the usual suspects were there, and it was a pleasure to meet up with pFurs at last (soon to be a father again, just like someone else we know). I was also delighted to get to know Ysengrin, whose cartoons have been making us all giggle recently. She had written a whole storyboard just for the show, and I was lucky enough to see an advance copy. Did you all get yours on Monday night?... hehehehe. I also got the chance to chat to Spaceboy (Johnny) again. He was looking just as sweet as ever.
Once again, the evening passed in a flash, and it seemed no time until we were standing outside at 2.00 am, swaying drunkenly, and taking silly photos with some Mexican hats from Leeza's wall. The photo's speak for themselves here... hahahaha. Thanks once again Leeza, for being hostess. The party definitely helped compensate for the disappointment of missing the show.
Sunday 18th June:
It was a rather bedraggled, hung over crowd who assembled at picnic rock in Central Park. Or at least I was bedraggled. KelMar looked for all the world as if she had just awoken refreshed from 12 hours sleep, and was dressed in the perfect Glastonbury khaki shorts and tie dyed T-shirt. 'You look like a hippy' I said delightedly. I dunno if that was quite what she wanted to hear... hehehe.
By around 2.00 pm or so, there were about 50/60 people gathered. Good old Freecloud! I really admired his chutzpah for opening his guitar case and strumming into some great db covers. The crowd were thrilled - no danger- and were soon singing along, blissed out, clapping, throwing in all the appropriate backing. It struck me that the people assembled there couldn't have been more different. From every corner of the globe, and every walk of life, may well have had nothing at all in common except for one thing. They came to life when they heard db's music.. It really was a very powerful bond, and really an emotional moment. Thanks for that Free! There were quite a few ordinary New Yorkers strolling past our group, and I wondered what they made of this impromptu concert at which all the listeners seemed to know all the words. There were some very puzzled expressions I can tell you!
The weekend ended here for me. My little boy had his sixth birthday coming up back in England, which meant I couldn't stay for the Monday night show. I heard it was equally wonderful tho, and... Sailor, seeing as I missed you in your sailor suit, is there any chance of a private re-run?... lol
The whole frantic few days was really special, and thanks to all of you for making me so welcome. Most of all thanks to David and BowieNet for more wonderful memories.
By Spaceface (Karen)
22nd June 2000
|Created: July 2000 © Paul Kinder||Last Updated: 6/7/00|