Blue Oyster Cult with Ian Hunter: 8/31/1979

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Growing up, I loved BOC, and this was my first time seeing them live. As a bonus, the show also featured the legendary Ian Hunter (from Mott the Hoople) who also had Mick Ronson on guitar (from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era). It was a hard-rocker’s dream come true.

Since this show was almost 40 years past, a lot of the details are fuzzy at best. I have impressions, such as Ian with his top hat singing “Cleveland Rocks” as the audience chanted along in rock and roll ecstasy. I recall the Cult’s impressive light show, and banging my head to classic songs like “ETI,” “Cities on Flame,” “Godzilla,” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper” (which was the encore). They also played a rip-roaring version of “Born to be Wild,” which got the South Florida crowd riled.

Throughout the years, I would go to see BOC many more times, and they were always great, but there was something special about seeing them for the first time. It was almost mystical.

My heart is black, and my lips are cold
Cities on flame with rock and roll
Three thousand guitars they seem to cry
My ears will melt, and then my eyes

(Cities on Flame)

David Bowie: 4/27/1990

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David Bowie! I almost don’t need to say anything more, do I?

This is my ticket stub from the one and only time I got to see Bowie live. It was on the Sound and Vision tour which featured the great Adrian Belew on guitar. The show in Miami was the first stop on the North American tour and it was nothing short of mind-blowing.

I went with my then girlfriend Joyce. We had decent seats with a great view of the stage. Bowie opened with “Space Oddity” and it was one classic hit after another for the entire show.

The tour was being promoted as the last time Bowie would be pulling from his older catalog of music, and although I really liked Tin Machine and Bowie’s other later works, it is still the older music that really speaks to me. Some of the songs that really stood out for me were “Life on Mars,” “TVC15,” “Ziggy Stardust,” and “Ashes to Ashes.” But without a doubt, for me anyway, the high point was the last song of the encore, which might be my favorite Bowie song of all time: “Panic in Detroit.” Wow – I’m getting chills just thinking about it. My mind was definitely warped by the end of this concert.

I never had another chance to see Bowie, and it does not seem like I will. I would definitely have paid to see him again, even if he was not doing all the older hits which comprised this concert. He was one of the great rock and roll stars, and I feel really fortunate to have seen him live.

“Ziggy plaaaaaaaaayed, guitaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!”