Jealousy is an emotion I absolutely loathe...but I'll make an exception just this once.
I'm a "Let's Dance" recruit. I didn't get a chance to see David perform live until the '96 Bridge School Benefit.....yep...it took me 13 years! And I must say, the show was anticlimatic because my friend and I were so far away the stage. We flew back to New Orleans vowing never to go to large events of the sort again.
I moved to San Francisco in March '97. In late July, I phoned Bass tickets to get ticket availability for David Byrne's show...This is what the recording said: "We're sorry to inform you, but there are no tickets left for David Bowie's shows at The Warfield for Sept. 15 & 16th..."What!!" I had heard nothing about a show....I waited for the operator, and she informed me that another show most likely would be added. It was. I snatched up my tickets and I was set to see David in an intimate setting at The Warfield...Funny, instead of being hyper-excited, I was more or less just relieved.
The night of the show, I became hyper-excited. I kept telling myself, "OK, you've waited 14 years for this, can we please be a little charged up about it?"... We were about three back from the stage...I had heard that he had quit doing his older stuff live, so I was expecting to hear Outside and Earthling tunes....Maybe an hour and a half show...It didn't matter to me, as I like both albums tremendously....Then he came out and played Quicksand!! I was floored.
A few vodka tonics and two and a half hours later, I was a basket case. Only one thing: I lost my t-shirt. That only meant one thing...I had to come back and see the show again. I scalped a ticket, met up with a guy from Reno (just for the purposes of this story, we'll call him Speed Racer), and enjoyed another brilliant show. And oh yeah, I did get another t-shirt.
After the show, Speed Racer and I were waiting in line for a signing session, but the only one to come over was Zack...Such a darling...Then Speed Racer and I did something I hate to admit...and I still regret it to this day..We followed the band's van back to the hotel..I didn't know Speed Racer was going to drive so fast..If you're reading this, David, sincere apologies again..
When we arrived at the hotel, David's bodyguard got out of the van and started walking over to us, saying, "You scared my driver!" Then David got out of the van and walked over to us with his finger over his lips, hushing us. He signed the concert poster I had, said he was pretty exhausted, then went inside. Reeves also came over and we had a photo op with him. It was Speed Racer's camera, and he still has not sent me the photo. :(
Needless to say, I went home, woke my roommate up and told her the story....We came to the conclusion that I had to go back and see if I could get a photo with Bowie. The next day, I made the following assumptions: "His show starts at 7pm, so if I arrived at the hotel at..let's see...hmmm..maybe five-ish, I might have a slim chance. Very slim. I stopped and got some flowers to bring with me.(I figured if I didn't see him, I would leave them with a note) The lobby was empty when I got there except for Zack and his daughter. I said, "Hey, Zack" And he said, "Hey, how are you?" We talked for a minute or so, and then I asked him if David was "around". Ha! He said that he should be down in a couple of minutes. So I sat down and wrote a note to put inside the flowers, just in case.
At one point, I looked up to see David getting onto the elevator with his bodyguard. The elevators were the glass type that you can see out of, so I watched him go up..On the outside, I was being very cool about it..but the rabid teenager inside of me was going mad! I sat for about five more minutes...Kind of puzzled by the fact that no one had tried to remove me from this place...Then Zack came back down..I told him that I had seen David go up, and decided to give Zack the flowers to give to David, just in case he came down and went straight to the now-waiting van. Zack brought the flowers to the van.
Not even 30 seconds later, down comes the elevator with a most precious occupant..He went outside and started to smoke. Again, the walls of the lobby were floor-to-ceiling glass, so you could see outside. Zack went to the van, got the flowers out, and brought them over to David. They exchanged a few words, then (heartrate going up) David turned around and held up the flowers, as a gesture to say thanks. Then he motions for me to come outside. I obeyed. Once there, he said, "Thanks for the flowers, luv." and planted a kiss on my cheek...That was it. At that moment, I lost all ability to form coherent speech patterns...I told him how much I enjoyed the show, how brilliant I thought he was...yatah, yatah, yatah..same old mush he's used to hearing...I knew he was about to leave, and he asked me if he wanted me to sign something. I said no, but asked him if a photo would be ok. He took my camera, handed it to the valet.
I put my head on his shoulder, the valet said, "Think dirty thoughts" and the photo you see here is the result. We then said our goodbyes, the valet hailed a taxi for me, and David got into the van. Inside the cab, the radio station the cabbie was listening to had a Bowie marathon going on. Enough said. Thank you, David, but next time I'm giving the flowers to Zack.
I'm back in New Orleans again, enjoying life and waiting for the next album....