The night before David Bowie died, I was listening to the newly released tracks from Blackstar on YouTube, in honor of his birthday the day before. I saw the Hammersmith Odeon performance for “Moonage Daydream” on the right rail and decided to open it full-screen on my large monitor and crank it to 11.
I watch “Moonage Daydream” every few years and it never ceases to enchant me all over again. But that Sunday night, the performance hit me so hard, it actually startled me. I found myself shedding tears of joy. I was exclaiming things into the soundwaves as they crashed over me. I had no idea where any of this was coming from, but I was filled with such profound feelings of love and appreciation for what this extraordinary artist, this unique human being, had inspired in me and countless others. I felt as though I could fully feel the weight of him, his art, his cultural and historical import, and exactly how he had impressed himself upon my nervous system. It almost felt like a life flashing before my eyes moment.
I decided to try and share this moment of epiphany with others. I sent a message to two friends who are also Bowie fanatics: "Is there a more perfect concert video than this? Every fucking frame of this thing blows my mind. Do yourself a favor, open it full-screen, crank it all the way up...and GO!"
After “Moonage Daydream,” I watched “My Death,” another favorite from the Hammersmith show. As I listened, I thought about my own mortality and allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the beauty of human frailty so achingly expressed in this song.
At 2:26am, on Jan 11th, I awoke to a text from a friend: "So devastated. RIP our amazing Bowie."
But whatever lies behind the door
There is nothing much to do
Angel or devil, I don't care
For in front of that door, there is you
(“My Death,” Jacques Brel)
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