That made his death, after an 18-month battle with cancer, so shocking and poignant. He told very few people about it and continued making art until the very end.
His final album Blackstar is a coda on his life. He made it, knowing he was dying. It’s dark, haunting and beautiful.
I remember two years back flying to Toronto for the presentation of “David Bowie Is,” an exhibit curated by the man himself. It had everything from early videos, to his various outfits, to interviews with key people in his life.
I was stunned. In fact, when I finished the exhibit, I started it all over again. For a true Bowie fan, it was just so perfect. The show is still touring. It’s currently at the Groninger Museum, in The Netherlands through March 13, 2016.
I never met Bowie, but always wanted to. The closest I came was at Manhattan’s tony Essex House, where he and wife Iman lived for years. I entered through a somewhat less trafficked entrance. As soon as I walked through the revolving glass doors, there stood Bowie and Iman.
I was so stunned I just stopped and let them through. He gave me the slightest nod. Elegant, artistic, it was quite a moment I’ve never forgotten.
In reading the various stories and viewing the videos since his passing, I’m still gobsmacked to witness how big his influence was.
Musically, my faves are the ones like “Heroes,” and “Fame.” One moment that I keep coming back to is when he appeared on a 1974 episode of the “Dick Cavett Show,” of all places.
He was with the Diamond Dogs band, including Luther Vandross and my friend, saxophonist David Sanborn. They performed “1984” in what was a thoroughly amazing performance.
Personally, I think his appearance on the BBC (1979) was another highlight. With stalwarts like Earl Slick, on guitar, Mike Garson on keyboards and Gail Ann Dorsey on bass, it was just more Bowie perfection.
Bowie sounded great and looked great, as he always did. It was just a superlative performance.
For the first time, at least in my memory, he performed “This is Not America,” which he co-wrote with Pat Metheny. The song was featured in the movie, “The Falcon and the Snowman” (1985). Again, simply mesmerizing.
The way he curated his final days–new album, new videos–is another stroke of genius. The artistry is astonishing. Producer Tony Visconti said, “He did it his way,” and that to me, says it all.
Bowie might just be the the most important artist ever in so many ways. I was there for the famous Ziggy Stardust concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in the ’70s. I knew it then and still know now; his artistry was transcendent.
His music will live on forever, so maybe he is immortal after all. In my heart, he always will be.
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