Springsteen and Extreme and L.A. Guns (wait for that one, kids) is the fact that I was in attendance at a dozen or so shows like this one, where the planets just aligned right and the show was a blockbuster by anyone's standards.
One could call this evening the redemption of a lifetime for Mr. Bowie, after twice witnessing the train wreck that was the Nine Inch Nails/Outside tour.
Plain and simple, this was one of the single greatest shows I have ever witnessed....perhaps THE greatest. And it ruled on about a thousand levels.
At this point in time, things were changing for me - slowly but very surely. I was in my first band....an odd sort of band in which I was the youngest member by nearly 10 years. The song structures were complicated and the sheer volume of obscure covers we played was......it was troubling actually....making the Queegs sound like an odd mixture of a classic rock band and a prog/math rock sort of thing.
The great thing about getting myself in a band is that my musical tastes were opening up in a huge way. Suddenly it DID kind of matter that my bandmates thought is was dumb for me to be listening to Aerosmith and KISS and Danzig.
And it DID matter that I was hiding the fact that I owned that dreadful "Jagged Little Pill" album (...my God, I would give anything not to have such a soft spot to this day for that song "Hand In Pocket").
And it DID matter that there was music out there - music that wasn't on MTV or on the radio - that I was missing out on.
BUT it also mattered that these guys gave the thumbs up to certain fascinations of mine, including various metal acts, certain classic rock bands, and most importantly, my ridiculous worship of Bowie.
So, anyway, most of us went to this show together - which was really awesome for me. I was still 21, and despite the fact that PMT somehow managed to tag along, this was a big transition OUT of that period when I spent all my time with people - people just like me - who lived with their parents. Out with the big kids, once again.
Bowie was doing a four or five city pre-release tour for the Earthling album. I was amazed that D.C. was one of the stops, so when tickets went on sale, we were ALL over it.
And it was in a CLUB - The Capitol Ballroom (A club that would go on to become the slightly more legendary Nation, and is no longer in existence today. And as every elitist music snob knows, this is one of the most effective techniques to trying to sell your place in history to all the other people you tell the story to - the club MUST be gone when you tell the story, so that you can most effectively torment your listener with the fact that you have somehow tattooed the scene in a fashion in which they will never be able to. BWAHAHAHA).
(Being a scenester is so fucking immature. But then again, so is blogging, isn't it?)
This night ruled because Bowie was in world class form. This was the tour where he was wearing the torn up Union Jack trench coat. His new material was fan-fucking tastic; Hearing "Little Wonder" for the first time blew my mind, because I was slowly becoming accustomed to being underwhelmed at all my favorite artists' new music....But that track - live, no less - was undeniably strong.
It ruled because we pressed up against the stage and got within spitting distance of rock royalty.
It ruled because Bowie played "Aladdin Sane" that night -- a song I'd never seen or heard of his playing live.
It ruled because he covered Iggy ("Lust for Life") and the Velvet Underground ("White Light/White Heat"), while throwing in "All the Young Dudes" and "Under Pressure". And he played "Heroes", even though I thought he'd retired that song.
AND it ruled because much like Billy Packer's historic contribution on the afternoon I got to see Alan Iverson play in college, there was a moment of tasteless behavior that night, and for a change I had nothing to do with it.
My bandmate Matt - who is honestly almost the single most gentle individual I have EVER encountered - get a little punk rock on everyone and tried to start a mosh pit. It worked for about 15 seconds before he got attacked by a chick who didn't want any part of his nonsense. Fueled by Bowie fervor, Matt freaked out and kinda sorta swung on the girl. It was messed up and it all happened real fast and I'm not really sure he knew what was happening, so I forgive him.
But my God, it was fucked up and scary.
At the end of the day, I guess the lesson is that there's no room for a mosh pit a David Bowie show. Even an awesome one.