David Bowie was the consummate musical artist. Combining singing, staging, clothes, lyrics, showmanship and grooves, this Tonight Show clip sums it up with minimal distraction.
Always a master of reinvention, here the erstwhile Davy Jones sneaks in a vibrant homage to James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause look at Johnny Carson’s Burbank studio.
When I first saw him live at The Warfield in San Francisco, Bowie remarkably carried his prime years forward to 1997 opening with “Quicksand” from Hunky Dory. Never without a mime or sleight of hand, it was a rare privilege to witness his wit and presence first hand. To wit his intro to Jean Genie at The Warfield: “This is an old blues song that was telegraphed to me at the time of my birth in 1947.” Seven years later I saw him again at the Berkeley Community Theater, dressed as a sailor, he suprisingly re-channeled his androgyne identity into what was to be his last tour.
A westerner with some Buddhist views, he kept a Balinese style place in the Caribbean and had his ashes scattered in a Nagben Ceremony in Bali. Ashes to ashes was a just a splice off Bowie’s seemingly infinite tape loop of art imitating life imitating art.