My story goes back twenty-five years ago.What I'll do is give you my Close Encounter with David Bowie.
June 19, 2000
First off I have never won as much as a bean in my life. When I won the Meet and Greet with David Bowie, I was blown away. My Mother recently passed away. In New York, the funeral was set for June 16th. I live in Florida, and had to fly to NY. I have had a few heavy years. I lost my brother, who died of Aids, he was my best friend, right after Bowie recited the Lord's Prayer, at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, so you can only guess the impact that had on me. Three years later I lost my Dad, two years after that, I lost my other brother to a brain tumor, two years later, my Mom.
As one could tell I needed a break. Meeting Bowie was more than a break; it was truly a miracle to me.
I've been trying to start a Bowie Tribute band since 1995. I have come very close, but found some musicians not wanting to put forth the effort needed for this type of project. I've been singing Bowie songs every since I can remember. I should say I'm actively seeking musicians to this day.
How do I explain this meeting with Bowie? How do I put it into words? Though I won, I felt bad for the ones that didn't win. I know what it must have felt like. It happened. I met my idol of twenty-five years. The man who crashed into my world, the man who changed my life. David has been a big part of my life since I was a child.
Recently, I was asked to model in a fashion show. This is something I wouldn't normally be interested in, not having any experience, I felt this was a great challenge. Something I learned from Bowie, painting myself into a corner. Well, guess what? I ended up convincing the choreographer, to put Bowie songs into the show. I was featured in what is called a Spotlight, performing to Fame remix track #5. We did a real cool segment. The show also featured Looking for Lester from Black Tie White Noise; the show was called Men of the Future. The following year, I had the stage to myself, performing to Jump They Say remix, hardly rehearsed. I was scared shitless.
Before I went on this trip to NY, I was told I needed back surgery, scheduled for one week after the meeting with Bowie. I would be laid up for six weeks. So the timing for meeting David couldn't have been better. The night before I was to leave for NY, I found out through my friend, Sheila's PC, that we had won the Meet and Greet. We were blown away to hysteria. We were jumping up and down; I think I blew a couple more discs in my back.
I buried my Mom on Friday, and met Bowie on Monday. I went to the Roseland the day of the show, and met the many dedicated fans camped outside. My back wouldn't have allowed this and left with much respect for the fans. I feel God's hand guided me through this whole trip, because it was so much like a miracle. If I detailed everything in writing, it would be a book.
Sheila and I went to the ticket booth about 5:00 pm. There we met Howard from Bowienet, what a great guy! Around 8:30, Bowie took the stage. I was in the second row with Sheila, my friend Eric and Sheila's daughter, Laura.
Bowie started the show with Wild is the Wind, one of our many favorites. Great start. Bowie was so awesome and funny. He really warmed up to the fans. After Life on Mars, with tears in my eyes. I tossed up a rose in which Bowie held through one of his funny stories. I was recently blown away to see the picture of Bowie holding the rose in Bowienet news, July 12th. He, kissed the rose and said "Thank you Love", oh God, don't stop now!
Bowie looked so incredible; I still can't get over it. At one point he announced that he had to pee. As he left the stage the band launched into Jean Genie. I was so tempted to fill in for David, but my eyes kept looking at the sign that said, if you attempt to go on stage you will be thrown out, no that would be a nightmare. So, I just stood there dreaming.
When Bowie returned to the stage, he had changed his outfit. He started playing a mean harmonica as the band played on. He did the Love Me Do part, which I so much love during Jean Genie. He once did that version when Jeff Beck joined him on stage during his unforgettable Ziggy days. I must say Bowie's voice was still amazing even after his bout with laryngitis. David had told us that it was the first time in his career that he woke up one morning and had no voice. This is a man whose will power knows no limits.
I feel Bowie is the most important rock star in our history. Almost everything we hear and see today, this man opened over thirty years ago. Just when it seems it's all been done, he puts his feet on new ground again. Bowienet! This man will never cease to amaze us. I have turned so many people onto Bowie. When Let's Dance hit #1, I thought it was because of me, ok, not really. If you were a friend of mine, you had to start collecting Bowie.
Another thing that amazed me about the show is how he was so genuine, he pulled off Ashes to Ashes, not easy one to do when you have throat problems. Then, he announced, Thomas Dolby, I love Thomas Dolby. As a matter of fact, I brought some Thomas Dolby cd's on the trip. They performed Heroes, and a killer version of Let's Dance. My friends were totally blown away. Five years ago, I promised my friend, Eric, that I would get him up front at a Bowie concert, and did. Another miracle! When I first met Eric, he claimed he didn't like Bowie. A week later he was asking to borrow one of my Bowie shirts. When I first met Sheila, she only knew Fame. She now owns a vast Bowie collection. All those nights with Sheila, outlasting all others on our "Bowie Nights", I'm talking hundreds. I've known Sheila for 9 years; she has been on this Bowie trip that long! She knows her holiday gifts will be on Bowie and vice versa. I'm glad, my friends shared this adventure with me, and we all shared a miracle.
June 19, 2000
Another thing about David's shows is, he never does a small show. He performs two and a half hour shows, which is more than generous. Even with vocal trouble, he still delivered a full show. He kicked out I'm Afraid of Americans, and the time was near to meet him. I met Howard at the bar and spoke with him, and found out he put a lot of work into Bowienet. I admire Howard, he's a very nice guy, it was time to meet the man. The film crew interviewed me on film. I think its for a documentary, that's what I heard one of the film crew say. Sheila and I spoke to the girl from Tokyo, which Bowie brought on stage earlier, all she could do is giggle. She seemed to be having a miracle of her own; she also seemed to be in shock. Sheila looked so excited, she had this huge smile, I never realized she had so many teeth! When we got up there, there he was, looking so beautiful. I was dazzled. Now all Sheila could do was giggle. I was in the middle of two giggling girls. Sheila, her daughter, and myself, stepped into the place where David was. He charmed little Laura as Sheila continued to giggle. Sheila, posed for a picture with David, the huge smile remained.
I stood in the distance to observe my idol, and met Coco, the lady who has been Bowie's most faithful. She was as usual, in control as Bowie in his child-like way, greeted his fans. I, handed Coco a CD, of two songs, I had recently recorded. I wrote the lyrics to both songs at Bowie's speed. Unfortunately the songs were rushed and unprofessional as hell on my part. But, it was all I had to give. Coco promised that David would get the cd. One song called Cover Me, has a great Bowie vocal in it. One line goes "Bury me so deep you cover the scares". I sing this part in one of my Bowie croons. The other song, World, is about Sheila, "She was an angel, she covered me with her wings, told me of God and the power He brings" I always dreamed of some day singing with David Oh my God, Just the thought!
Sheila now exits and I meet David. I said "Twenty-five years, David" and he said, "Well, you look very well for twenty-five years". What a charmer! He had a large crowd waiting to meet him, so the staff hurried him. He signed my Aladdin Sane cd and said he had a wife waiting for him. I told him that his show was spectacular, and he looked at me with a big grin and said, "I had a ball, a lot of fun". Security requested I exit so others could get in. I exited to Bowie's left side and re-emerged on his right. Hey, can you blame me?
Then I had him sign my poster. Then a small mob came rushing in; I was shoved to the back while hanging onto David's arm. We all posed for a picture. Where I was standing, it may look like Bowie grew another head. I had to stick my face out from behind his right shoulder. Then a Bowie look-a-like came in, and David said "I know you, I got your picture recently". Then he hugged her. I realized even more how in touch with his fans he really is. I had checked email from the hotel the morning of the show and there was a message from Teenage Wildlife. We wrote them an email about our story. They replied, they wanted to feature our story in Close Encounter. I told David about this and his eyes got real big and childlike. He said he would be watching for it. The funny thing is, I knew he meant it.
Then he said, "I don't have my computer with me, so I won't be on for about ten days". The way he said it, you could he loves the net and he loves his fans. David was the nicest person I had ever met. In a world where we get so self absorbed, it was great to come together with David and his fans, not to mention his staff, under one roof. Words can't describe it all.
After we met David, we ended up at a bar downstairs. Where I met Tony Visconti, he confirmed his future plans with David. Then we met Earl Slick. I complimented him, and told him how far back I go. He made a joke about making him feel old. I then told him "you guys look like you found a fountain of youth". Then came Mike Garson, the man with the hands. My favorite pianist, in the world, I shook his hand and spoke of how I loved his work. And how happy I was to see him back with David. He was so cool, and so NY. Then there was Zachary Alford, my all time favorite drummer. He was loaded with charm and good looks. I told him how he blew Sheila and I away during The Last Thing You Should Do (Bowie Birthday Bash). Then I asked him if he had ever seen the tape, he replied "About 4 times". That would be in a single night for us. Then I ask him if he would be working with Bowie again, he replied, "I hope so". Then came Miss Gail Ann Dorsey, with her big beautiful smile. I told her how great she sounded and I was glad she was working with David; she replied, "So am I". Then I ask her if I could kiss the top of her head? She shyly laughed and said, "If you want to". Then everyone started kissing her head, sorry Gail! Then we met Sterling and Mark Plati, and Holly and everyone else. And that was that!
Someone pinch me. We still haven't come down. Thank you to all the great fans we met. Thank you David for twenty-five years of pure bliss, thank you Coco for being there, thank you Sheila and Eric for being a special part of my life, and thank you so very much Teenage Wildlife. You are the newest member of my on going Bowie family. You have an excellent staff and a world winning website. I could only imagine the hard work and dedication you have put into this.
God Bless! Markx2