Teenage Wildlife

How to get into a concert without paying

Carl Dooley

Well, I hope I don't bore you with this email, but as a Bowie fan for over twenty two years, it means a lot to me.

It was back in July 1997, during Bowie's Earthling tour when I met him, just by chance and luck.

Bowie was playing the Academy in Manchester UK, my home town. But unfortunately I was unable to get tickets as they were sold out by the time I heard of the gig and I was so disappointed and furious with myself.

So on the night Bowie was playing I went down to the venue and walked up and down Oxford street where the Academy is. The black 'roadie' vans labelled 'Transound' were parked around the back and a large white coach with blacked out windows was to the side of the venue. I couldn't believe it, these were here for Bowie!

So during the opening of the doors, the ticket touts, were selling gig tickets three times the amount of the original tickets, well I thought about it and thought, no, I am not going to pay that much and let some unsavoury character profit from my misfortune, it killed me to make that decision!

So I drove away in my car back home, sad and unhappy. But I couldn't rest knowing Bowie was playing ten minutes away from where I live, so back in the car I drove back to the venue. When I got there, I could hear the music clearly from outside the gig, there was no one around, just people were walking up and down the street of this busy city. As I got to the door to read the posters and Info, the security door man came out to me and asked me what I wanted, I just thought quickly and said, 'I am here to pick my sister up from the Bowie gig'. He told me that the gig will go on for another hour at least, I make a little moan and said, ' well I can't leave know, I will have to wait - I have come a long way'. He shut the door and went inside the venue, and I just lit a cigarette and listened outside to the music playing. I noticed him looking at me threw the main entrance doors, and I thought to myself, is he going to let me in or tell me to move away. So a few songs passed and he still was looking at me and a tried not to show that I was interested in the music, which was hard to do for a big Bowie fan!

Eventually the door man come out and called me to him, he said, 'listen - you might as well go inside to see if you can see your sister, you might as well, you will get bored out of your skull waiting here outside'. You cannot imagine what I felt like at that point, my God, I've got in!

As soon as the door opened the music came pounding out, and there he was, 'Bowie', and there I stayed for over an hour. You have to imagine that the Academy is a small venue, the size of a school hall, so I had a good view. But in my head I kept thinking I will go around the back of the venue when the gig ends, as I had a chance to look at the set-up whilst walking around previously and just maybe see Bowie get on his coach.

So as soon as the music stopped and the lights came on I was out! As I got to the back of the venue, there where surprising little security, (not like Leeds and Liverpool where I later seen him). Then eventually, people started to come out, Gail his guitarist, followed by Iman. They both smiled and said hello. I couldn't believe my luck!

Five minutes later, in the door way, was Bowie with a white towel around his neck wearing a towelling robe, he stood there talking to some guy and then the security men came to his side and Bowie started to walk out the back door of the venue. A few cameras started to flash, a small crowd was held back by temporary barriers, there was only around 15 people in total and I was one of them. He walked down the side where I was and then he was stood there right in front of me, 'I was in a dream', my idol, looking at him face to face after all these years.

The first thing I noticed was his eye, the large pupil. The difference really does stand out. I put my hand out to shake his and he took my offer of approach, I became speechless and shocked! I came to my senses and said 'Hi David', 'What about playing Joe the Lion next time?, that's just one of my favourites. Still shaking his hand he put his head backwards and laughed, and said something like 'yeah, right!'. Then I noticed he was being pulled along to the coach by his security crew, I found myself reluctantly having to let go of his hand.

He walked up to the door of the coach, up the few steps in the coach, stood at the top, stretched his back leaning backwards slightly, looked back at the crowd, smiled as the doors shut. At that point more people had gathered around, cameras where flashing, and reflecting off the whiteness of the coach. The flash light penetrated through the blacked out windows. As the cameras flashed you could see Bowie walking inside the coach to the back, he spoke to someone inside and let his body just drop down, just as if falling on a bed. And sadly, the coach and many cars went down the busy Manchester city street.

I got to see him again at Liverpool as he went in his coach, but he had to run into the coach as the crowds was larger and more frantic.

-- Carl Dooley


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This document last updated Thursday, 14-Dec-2000 14:45:14 EST
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