Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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I Saw David Bowie!

. . . and now I'm home again. San Francisco is a seriously long distance away from here. Actually it wasn't even really in San Francisco; it was in Mountain View, at the very south end of the San Francisco Bay, even further away than San Francisco. Too far away. Never again shall I ever be tempted to drive to San Francisco for anything less than David Bowie. Maybe not for anything less than backstage passes, next time. I'm quite exhausted. And four dollars poorer due to toll roads. That's one thing I really hate about the bay area; I can't understand how people can get used to being relieved of four dollars per day on their commutes to and from work just for the mere privilege of driving on a road. There are so many toll roads around that area that you can't get anywhere without having to drive on one or another of them.

Anyway. I arrived. Experienced that weird feeling of realizing, "Practically every person for as far as I can see in every direction is a David Bowie fan!" Displayed my ticket, was directed to the cheap seats on the lawn. Decided to make the very best of the price I paid by wedging myself right at the very very front of the lawn, right in the absolute center, so that when David Bowie faced forward from the stage, the number one person directly in front of him at lawn level was me. Resolved not to move from that spot for the next six hours so that no one could steal it from me. Succeeded in guarding it this way the whole time, in spite of the fact that I'd inconveniently had nothing to eat the entire day. Became severely annoyed by the conversations of the people around me though, because they kept exclaiming how desperately they wanted to see David Bowie but then giving away with every other remark that they'd really only ever heard about five songs by him and were pathetically ignorant/misinformed about pretty much everything involving him. Concentrated very hard on somehow managing not to hear them because their ignorance was making me crazy. Luckily I had remembered to bring earplugs to prevent the excessive concert volume from permanently damagin my hearing; I was immensely glad that I had, and they came in handy for blocking out the conversations of ignoramuses as well.

Also realized as soon as I arrived there that I hadn't come properly prepared for the weather. The sun was shining, and there was no shade anywhere in sight, and I hadn't thought to bring sunscreen, so I knew I was doomed to come home burned to the color of beets. Resignedly, I arranged myself facing as much away from the sun as I could, so that my own shadow would shade my face. This does seem to have helped somewhat, since it's really only my right arm that got severely sunburned. However, I don't think the sun was low enough in the sky to be entirely blocked from hitting my forehead just because I faced away from it; there's a vague pinkish tinge across my forehead now.

I don't think I'll ever understand why people feel such a need to wear completely weird clothes or practically none at all when they are attending concerts. I saw vaster amounts of bare flesh all around me today than I've seen since . . . well, since the last concert I went to, when I was 17. Everywhere I looked there was somebody's flesh poking out of some skimpy oddly-cut garment. Seeing that many near-naked bodies in one place brought home to me just what a wide variety of body shapes there are in the human species - in other environments many of the variations are covered up with clothes. Seeing it all today was very good for my ego - because of all the bodies there, mostly young, some old, some in between, I vastly preferred my own body with my own familiar quirks to probably 98% of the bodies there with their unfamiliar quirks. And although there were a few bodies here and there that I wouldn't have minded being housed in, it just reaffirmed for me that I don't at all mind being housed in my own body either, really.

But on to the music. The opening act was a band called Ash, which I'd never heard of, but apparently they're from Ireland and although their visual presentation was quite undistinctive, the music was pleasant enough and the lyrics were sometimes rather interesting. I wouldn't be opposed to buying their album, now that I've been introduced to their existence.

The second act was Blue Man Group. Blue Man Group is the weirdest phenomenon ever. Did they even exist prior to making their name by appearing in Intel commercials? The notion of a band famous primarily for appearing in commercials sort of disturbs me so I kind of wanted to hate them. I didn't succeed in the least though; I soon found myself sitting in such utterly rapt fascination at them that I didn't so much as move a single muscle for the entire time they were onstage. Their show is at least as much about visual effects as about the music itself, and most of all it's about the interaction between music and visuals. Their entire show is one long and highly coherent visual dissertation on the entire nature of music. And when they drag out a bunch of large oddly shaped pipes and shove one pipe in and out of another while someone else beats time upon the length-changing pipe arrangement? Well, their manner of shoving pipes in and out of each other is the next big step in the eternal march toward depicting ever more graphic simulations of sex onstage. Frst there was Elvis Presley's pelvic thrusts, them Madonna's external underwear and Michael Jackson's crotch-grabs; now there's Blue Man Group inserting one pipe into another and rubbing it back and forth while making music with it.

Next onstage was Busta Rhymes, who was somewhat out of step with the musical tastes of most people attending, and he knew it. However, he announced his intention to convert us to being hip hop fans. It didn't really work on me (in the sense that he didn't cause me to want to pay money for his album), but he gamely did his best under adverse circumstances, and managed to at least not be particularly annoying. Even though I wouldn't pay for his music, I didn't feel any desire to pay to be spared from it either. Which is a significant improvement over my experience at the last concert I went to, where Stabbing Westward was the opening act for Depeche Mode and I would have paid a great deal to just make Stabbing Westward shut off their godawful racket and let me await Depeche Mode in boring silence for hours instead.

Fourth onstage was David Bowie. This shocked me, because Moby was also scheduled to play and I assumed David Bowie would get headlining status and Moby would be the act preceding him. Apparently not. David Bowie has been reduced to being an opening act! I can't at all understand this. For one thing, I saw far more David Bowie T-shirts in the audience than Moby ones, and I heard far more people talkng about David Bowie before the show than talking about Moby, too. Anyway, I didn't stick around to even listen to Moby at all; I headed for the parking lot as soon as David left the stage, and an awful lot of other people headed there with me.

David Bowie began his set with "Life on Mars" (in which the reference to "sailors" took on a strange double-entendre since his chatname on BowieNet is Sailor) and ended it with "Ziggy Stardust." Along the way, he played "Ashes to Ashes," "Cactus," "Breaking Glass," "Slip Away," "Fame," "I'm Afraid of Americans" (after which I screamed, "Me too!!!"), "I've Been Waiting for You," "Heroes," "Let's Dance," "Heathen (The Rays)," "A New Career in a New Town," "Everyone Says Hi," "Fashion," and . . I dunno, a bunch of other things I think.

It was far too risque of him, though, to sing that line in "Cactus" to me: "Sitting here wishing on a cement floor/Just wishing that I had just something you wore/I'd put it on when I go lonely/Will you take off your dress and send it to me?" I suddenly wanted so very very very badly to strip on the spot and toss my dress to him. Alas, though, I couldn't possibly throw that far.
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