"So, the suitcase is coming out again then?" said my other half with an air of resignation. Of course it was! A combination of the chance to see David play live for the first time in a long time, and the chance to meet the European and British chat members - who could resist?
Electric Blue (Steph) and I, had organised a private room for a bit of a bash on the Friday, and Steph used her influence as a TV employee to get us on to the guest list for David's appearance on TFI Friday. We also had tickets for NetAid on the Saturday.
It was a mad dash from the station to get to the TFI studios in time for the taping. I had never met Steph before, so it was out with the mobile phones and we walked towards each other, each looking for someone else with a mobile! It was great to meet her after all our wheelings and dealings organising the party.
We were very near the front of the queue and Mark Plati wandered past. 'Mark!' we shouted, 'show us your knees!' He was very obliging and let us take his photo, as well as pocketing some invitations for the party and promising to let David know that we were there.
There were quite a few other chatters there. It was lovely to see Helen2 again, she was the only person I had already met. RaMOANa was there with her husband AMan and another friend (she had left her pool jets at home in Florida and was already missing them!), Carl/Britboy, our UK equivalent of Tybalt (although he WAS a boy in the flesh), Gilly, Bianca and Simone. Once inside the building, we also met up with Rednik (Paul Kinder - web master 'BowieWonderworld') and his wife Dawn, SteveK, and the girl I had been really wanting to meet - Spider and her husband Don.
We had to queue up for a little while inside, and there was a scramble for position when they opened the studio doors. Inside the studio was very small, and a bit scruffy - not at all how it looks on TV. Anyway we got ourselves into a great position by the stage, and Eurythmics came out to do a song to warm us up. Annie Lennox is spellbinding close up, and a little bit scary. They got a big cheer at the end of the song. Chris Evans came out to say 'Hello' to us all, and the taping started and ran straight through the hour without stopping.
David was on last (where else?) and we were just about bursting with excitement by the time he was announced for his interview. He was wearing a bright pink loose shirt, open over a yellow T-shirt, pale green big combat pants (did he borrow them from Ron?) and huge trainer boot things (lol - they prolly have a trendy name, but I don't know it). He looked smiling and relaxed and had an almost boyish, slightly defensive way of walking. His hair looked great, done slightly messy - on purpose, and I think I could see black eyeliner.
There was some funny business with measuring his height and marking it on one of the studio doors - they didn't seem to believe that he is 5'10 1/2'. Once they sat down, he didn't give Chris Evans much of a chance to speak (just as well - who wants to listen to him?) but launched into a long story about his journey to the studios, his gastro enteritis and the story of the last time he had that illness while the guest of some foreign dignitary with seven sons and seven daughters - one of which he sent for David's 'entertainment'. Unfortunately, he said, he was too sick to take up the offer! Chris Evans asked him which he preferred, kissing boys or kissing girls. After a moments pause, he referred Chris to a doctor who would specialise in that sort of thing. Great answer, which raised a cheer from the audience.
Now it was time for him to come downstairs and sing for us. Helen2, Gilly and I were positioned either side of the stage, and Steph and Paul Kinder were together with some others further along the stage. The audience couldn't resist touching and kissing David as he made his way through the crowd, and I think he was probably quite glad when he finally made it up there. The band were already playing the first few bars, and after a quick drink of water, he started into 'Survive'. He sang very low at first then warmed up and gave us a taste of the full vocal range he has been demonstrating lately. The audience were 100% behind him, nodding, clapping and swaying in ecstasy. I was amazed at how many Bowie fans were obviously in the audience. How they managed to be there, I don't know. This was the only song broadcast, but the reception given to it was so rapturous, that they also did Rebel Rebel (it rocked!), and after more thunderous applause and shouts for more, he said 'OK - China Girl'. It was jaw-droppingly, mouth agape, marvellous to be so close to David and to see this almost personal performance. By the way, David, those tender strokes on your ankle in Rebel Rebel were courtesy of Helen2. David touched hands and gave the most genuine beaming smiles to lots of his fans, heading for Paul Kinder and the people who were standing near him. A German (?) voice asked him to sign a copy of his 'hours...' CD, and amazingly David obliged. He had to leave the stage now, and some very large black-clad men appeared to shepherd him away... very wise... he needed them by now.
As we walked out of the studio, I turned to see Spider behind me, and we hugged each other in delight at the absolute marvellousness of what we had just seen.
A mad dash back to check into my hotel preceded the evening's get together. When I arrived at the pub, about 20 people were already there, with a steady stream arriving up the stairs. I don't know how the girl on the desk managed with the list of names, as there were many, many foreign ones, from Germany, Italy, France and Holland. Once again there was the pleasure of seeing in the flesh, people who had only been nicknames for the last 12 months (those people who live inside my computer as Freecloud says).
Stefano arrived with a large party of Italians, all of whom were VERY photogenic. Some extraordinary looking boys. Susans definitely won the best dressed prize - your fantasy of how you would like to look at a David Bowie party. We all stood/sat around chatting until about 9.30pm, when we turned up the volume and started to dance. By about 11.50, we were locked in a drunken circle for the brit. group rendition of Rock and Roll Suicide. Want a backing group David? We had hoped to give away some BowieNet goodies, but it seems there was a mix up with the parcel, and they didn't arrive - so, sorry about that folks.
We took £237 (79 people at £3 each), the room and food were £100, and the P.A. hire was £94. The girl who took the money on the door was £20, which left the grand total of £23 for NETAID - :), but we had wanted it that way, as some people had come a very long way on a very limited budget, and might have been put off coming if the prices had been any higher. Thanks to everyone who came along and made this event such a success. Especially thanks to Steph, my co-organiser, couldn't have done it without you, Steph!
It was back to the hotel for me, but Steph took Paul and Dawn and two Steve's back to stay at her parent's house. They were up until 4.00am, talking about guess who? RaMOANa took Carl under her wing, and he slept with her husband that night ;-)
We met in The Greyhound pub near Wembley Stadium at around 1.00pm the next day. Hangovers were somewhat in evidence, but we rallied at the thought of another chance to see David in the flesh. Twice in two days!
After hours of queuing and waiting, the concert finally started. Iman opened the event with another David by her side (Ginola). She spoke movingly and well of the plight of the people we were there to support. Her clothes were fantastic, a glittering 70's style jacket in pink and purple and flared trousers with glitter on the hems, and that funky afro! The Eurythmics opened with a powerful set, followed by Catatonia (great outfit and eyemake-up), The Corrs (yuck), George Michael (I liked his set, better than he did obviously, and he was a little late coming onto the stage. 'Maybe he is in the Gents' came the ironic comment from RaMOANa behind me). Bush were next up, all style and attitude, not enough content - imho.
"And now its time for the legendary (as soon as I heard that word I knew it was db - there had been some doubt about the running order) Mr David Bowie!!" And there he was, standing alone on the stage, just him and Mike Garson on piano. He was wearing a white shirt with black stripes on one side, and dark trousers and braces. First song was 'Life On Mars?' I have paused here, searching for suitable adjectives to describe this haunting, poignant, assured, raise the hairs on the back of your neck, rendition of such a well loved member of the back catalogue. It sounded like a totally new and fresh song to me, he had changed the notes in places and used all of his vocal range. It brought the tears to my eyes. He continued with Survive, China Girl, Pretty Things, Drive In Saturday and ended with Rebel Rebel. By the end of the set every pair of hands in Wembley were in the air and a huge roar went up as the last notes faded. Everyone there wished for more. When David came over to our side of the stage, Steph and me held up our 'Hello Sailor' sign, and we think maybe he saw it. Did you David? I smirked to myself as we walked away after the gig. Honestly!! At my age... lol.
When we got outside after the gig, RaMOANa said "Thought I was gonna come in mah pants when he did 'Pretty Things'. With typical Brit disbelief I said "What?", and she repeated it... teehee. My own moment of frisson was when the cameras were behind David as he wiggled his bum to Rebel Rebel. A gigantic vision on the big screens of that sexy behind in those old fashioned trousers... lol. Susans said she liked the "shhhhhh" in China Girl. You can still give the girls a good time David! (and boys too no doubt... although Carl wasn't telling).
AWWRR!!!!! It was all over. Back to the hotel for me and back home for most others, although Paul and his party were driving straight to Dublin where they had been invited to the sound check. He said Dublin was the best db gig he had ever seen (and he has seen over 200), and they went to the after show party and met David!! But that is his story, and I think Blammo is going to tell it.
Thanks once again David and BowieNet for a great, great time.
Where are we off to next?...
By SpaceFace (Karen)
12th October 1999