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My brush with Bowie

Before moving to Buffalo, I worked summers at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, where I had seen so many game-changing concerts as a teenager. (Grateful Dead, Santana, Talking Heads, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Pat Metheny Group, Genesis when they were still great, and so many more.)

I loved it there. I worked in the box office, and sometimes had reason to be backstage.

One day, I got to meet David Bowie.

This was prior to his July 1990 show at SPAC, on the "Sound & Vision" tour. I wasn't trying to meet him; it was more like I walked into him. The look on my face must have revealed the fact that I was completely freaking out. I don't remember what I said. Something stupid. He was a GOD to me.

I think I offered a version of the standard "Thank you for the music, I can't possibly tell you what it has meant to me" routine. True, but cliche, still. Bowie laughed, shook my hand, looked me in the eye with that incredible stare of his, said "Thank you, man." And that was it. Trivial for him, monumental for me.

I sat in the front row of the balcony and watched the show that night. Four weeks later, I moved to Buffalo.

I clipped the review from the Albany Times Union the day after the show and stuck it inside my Bowie scrapbook. (Yes, total nerd.) . It was written by a guy a few years older than I was who went to the same catholic military high school as me.

I've seen thousands of concerts in the time since. This one remains in the top 5, right next to Bowie's 2004 show at Shea's in Buffalo.


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