7 – Blog 38 – Life on Mars

After finishing up the dress rehearsal and letting Henri take still photos of all the bands together, we head for le Museum. I notice a small crowd outside the restaurant who cheer our arrival. Inside it is a full house. The patrons expect us to sing for our supper. Jack, Mike and I sing the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Welcome back’ for their enjoyment as they eat.

Just another Boss Band tradition, like the traditional meal of Raclette. Even I am less enthusiastic about this Swiss substitute for pizza. The proprietor, M. Iverson, allows us to order a la carte entries once the Raclette platter is abandoned. As we leave le Museum there is a large contingent of fans expecting to be entertained. They are not there for the Boss Band. Freddie and David duet ‘Pressure Drop,’ and the fans all swoon, especially the boys from Taboo.

Severin convinces us to walk to the Lakefront, where he thinks the kids will provide an upgrade to his methadone treatment. We sit under the Willow tree, now known as the Bowie Bodhisattva Tree. Kids are there, happy to join us. Severin’s whispers where to get ‘hooked up’ and is met with disdain.  Back to the hotel they go, to shoot up the methadone and quell the withdrawal sickness. I blame Raclette for their uneasy stomachs. One more day before they return to South London where they know a fix is just a phone call away. Siouxsie stays with us while the boys stumble back to their hotel.

It is a warm night as we relax around the pool. Bowie pulls me away from the others.

“Ready to be me tomorrow night?” he jokes.

“I feel like I prepared my whole life to be Ziggy Stardust, for at least the month I can remember.”

“I’ve been talking with Jack about what you were like before this life.”

My stomach goes queasy. Here we go again. I try counting backward from one hundred to avoid passing out.

“What’s wrong? Your eyes are twirling?” Bowie notices my distress.

“I need to walk around,” I mumble.

David maneuvers me out to the street; we walk back to the Lake, sitting at last under his tree.

“Do I need to worry about you passing out on stage?”

“I’m better now. Anything to do with my previous life throws me for a loop.”

“I’m calling you Loopy.”

We laugh. I hug David and do not let go until I realize how uncomfortable he is.

“Sorry. The first time it happened was the day I came here after waking up; I was out for the whole day. Freddie thought I was defective and wanted to send me back to the clinic.”

“It must bother you, thinking you’ll never wake up again.”

“That is a thought,” I admit. I grab his hand and he clasps mine. This appears acceptable.

“How about no secrets between us,” David suggests.

“That works since I really haven’t had time to create any secrets.”

“You and Mike still both asexual?”

“Definitely. We mock Jack when he gets his hopes up.”

“How does that happen?’

“Well, we do sometimes sleep together, all three of us. We mock him when he has ‘morning wood.’”

Bowie laughs. “You really live in a circus.”

“Duncan seems to like it that way.”

“My boy. He really has come into his own this summer.”

“He may get spoiled. Everyone loves him.”

“Another reason why this summer is so special.”

“Ready to make it extra special with tomorrow night’s show?”

“You have me flying down that line, singing and playing guitar.’”

“The new Daredevil Bowie.”

“Just trying to keep up with you.”

“I’m Ziggy Stardust. Catch me if you can, but no need to catch your past. Like me, we’re all about the future.”

We sit there looking out over the Lake. Some moments are meant for memories. I have so few. This is one of the best.

Bowie looks at me like he wants us to kiss. It feels right, except the last time was with Siouxsie. No wonder I get confused.

Saturday morning, I get everyone up after buying local croissants. Jim has the coffee on. Jack and Mike are cuddled up on the lounge couch. Should I be jealous?

Jim has a message from Henri that says the concert zip line will be ready for final testing that afternoon. It means we can attend swim lessons in Montreux this morning. I call Henri back.

“How many names can be on the list.”

“Well, the show is totally sold out, so the only way to get friends in is on the guest list.”

“Unlimited?” I hope.

“I know better than allowing that. Who do you want on the list.”

“All the swim kids from Montreux. Bowie has been teaching them guitar,” I promote their nascent skills. “We may get them on stage to do ‘Heroes’ at the grand finale.”

“That means they stand up front.”

“Perfect. It should be less than a hundred,” I cross my fingers.

“Jesus. You really push it.”

“That’s why you love me.”

“You’re the boss.”

“That’s me.”

A big group is waiting for their swim lessons, except no one, but us, is dressed for swimming. We gather under the Bodhisattva Tree (Bowie rejects calling it his) and talk about the evening show.

“Do you want to attend” Desirez-vous venir?”

“Oui!” they scream and jump around.

“We will put you on the guest list. Sign up with Amar and Emile. You have to get there by train or boat.”

Our local Boss Band members are besieged, collecting names for the list.

Bowie stands up, “We plan to finish with ‘Heroes.’ Anyone who can find a guitar will be allowed on stage to play with us. Everyone else needs to sing.”

They start looking around to see who has guitars.

“And, we can practice right now,” I announce.

It takes at least an hour to get through practicing the song. Bowie and I are singing to each other while all the kids are singing to us. Little do they know we will be flying toward the harbor for the dolphin finale.

I wonder why the dolphins have not shown at today’s swim lessons. Maybe they are resting up. I refrain from calling to White D. She promised they will be au Geneve Harbor.

After all the names are collected, I notice a girl sitting alone with tears on her cheeks.

“What’s wrong, sweetness?” I approach her.

“Je ne suis pas allez,” she gasps between crying jags. “I want to see Emile when he plays. My parents will never let me go by myself a Geneve.”

I drag Emile over to sit with her. She turns bright red.

“Emile,” I look at him, “ask her parents if she can accompany you to the show.”

“Bien sur,” he replies. The girl is about to die. Oh, to be 15, I think, but realize I have no recollection of that age.

Next up, testing the zip line. Just Bowie and I need to run through the tests, but all the Boss Band insists they come too. Excitement is in the air. La Grange Parc is still open to the public before closing access at 6pm. Bowie’s arrival attracts major attention. We rush backstage to escape the hordes. Bowie is unfazed. I realize that this attention may be an unintended consequence of my impending Ziggy role. Oh well. I can hope it will not be intolerable.

Amar and Emile are up on stage, trying out the spark generators on the guitar neck flame thrower (limited to 1 foot) on the mic. They attack each other, much to the amusement of kids who have gathered at the stage, plus confusion for the fans who think Bowie’s musicians should be adults. It is the seventies. Welcome to New Wave music.

It takes about thirty minutes to get hooked up to the zip line; the harness must be adjusted when I overbalance and end up ass over tits in the air. Usually, the rider sits on a seat or hangs onto an overhead bar. Neither method meets our need to sing and play guitar as we descend.

Finally, we are ready to go. Emile has charmed the engineer in charge to let him be the first guinea pig, in case something goes majorly wrong.

“I’m expendable,” he claims. Off he goes, screaming all the way down.

An engine at the bottom reverses the zip line so the harness can be returned to the takeoff platform on stage. Since there is no one at the harbor to transport Emile back up the hill, he just rides backwards. It is less exciting. He looks like a sack of potatoes swinging like dead weight.

I am the next less-expendable, so it is my turn. Once the harness is adjusted so I ride in a vertical position, I strap on my guitar, with its wireless pickup located in the small of my back, and the headphones for my wireless mic. I look like a mechanical man. I tell Henri that my Ziggy costume needs wings to overcome the heaviness of the equipment.

“Angels have wings,” I remind Henri.

“Yes, but you are a space alien.”

“Why won’t aliens have wings. Maybe that’s how the whole UFO craze started. They’re really angels.”

Enough distractions. They push me off the raised platform. I suddenly want to scream as the descent picks up speed. I try the hand bake. The sudden stop causes me to violent flip back and forth. I will avoid the brake except for emergencies.

I start playing ‘Starman’ on guitar which is hooked up to thde pulley. The Marshall Stack of amps comes to life. The crowd cheers, but the signal grows weaker as I travel further from the stage. It totally cuts out about halfway down the hill.

“I can’t hear myself,” I speak into the mic which comes back at me louder than an echo.

I pull the hand brake and reverse direction. Like Emile, it is totally awkward.

“We’ll add signal relays on the poles along the line,” the sound engineer tells me as I unhook.

Bowie insists that he take the next run as the sound crew starts to hook up the relays.

“Do I get wings,” he demands Henri make him an angel, too. Maybe he wants to be in Paul McCartney’s new band.

Unencumbered, he screams all the way down. Jim is there with Freddie’s Rolls to return him up the hill.

Amar, Emile and Mike are sitting on the edge of the stage, conversing with the kids who are already at the park. Mike is instantly recognized as the pop star they all grew up with.

“Why are you playing with kids your age?” he is asked.

“I just play drums in the Boss Band. It’s really fun and we all like performing together.”

“Don’t you want to be the star?”

“I love dancing with all the bands. And, my best friend Laz, organizes everything. We work well together.”

“You have a best friend?” one of the girls asks.

“Yeah. In the Jackson Five we were all brothers which is not cool. But Laz and I really connect. I never had a chance to make a real friend before. My dad is real strict.”

“Es-tu amoureux?”

“Peut-être, I guess. Laz has a girlfriend now.”

Everyone giggles.

“Her name is White D. She plans to close the show with her own act.”

“Is she a rapper? Are all his friends Black?

“She’s White, but Laz’s rival is Black.”

They all swoon over Mike’s life.

Meanwhile Emile has his own pod of female friends. They want to know everything and anything about him. Amar plays second fiddle with no discernible fans. Being a strict Muslim teenager leaves little room for romance.

A girl asks Emile who Amar is.

“He’s my brother,” Emile confuses the girls.

They move over to interrogate Amar, wanting to know more about Emile.

“My family adopted Emile,”

“Oh,” they all go. They rush back to Emile to learn why he was adopted.

“I’m an orphan, orphelin.”

He refuses to talk about it, a fifteen-year-old man of mystery. The girls love it.

There is a hotel in the Park, Hotel Residence. A private dining room has been booked for the evening. All the bands gather there, while the stage crew finishes their preparations. The Knobs sneak beers to the older Boss Band members. Amar and Emile have to settle for Cokes.

The Knobs have been relegated to warm-up band, playing Queen covers at the start of the show. Billy still hopes Brian May may not show, but I would not bet on it. The plan is they will finish with ‘Pressure Drop’, sung as a duet by Freddie and David. After that, Bowie will sing ‘Life on Mars’ as a solo, with the Turkish musicians playing at the back of the stage. Next, I appear on the black/invisible box to start my ‘Starman’ career in full Ziggy drag.  

We will both sing with the Boss Band and Siouxsie and the Banshees interjecting their ‘boogie’ songs. Bowie and I will alternate Ziggy songs until David departs and I sing ‘Boys Keep Swinging.” With no break. Queen takes the full stage, playing their newer songs, unlike the oldies that the Knobs already played. They will end with ‘Champions,’ as Bowie and Amar return to the stage to sing ‘Yassassin’ together. The Sufi Dervish will be spinning; Amar twirls with them on the side stage; Bowie will do his Thin White Duke set of newer songs. I return to the stage to duet ‘Panic in Detroit’, leading to ‘Heroes’ and the descent to the Harbor where the dolphins are performing in the water. It ends with Amar singing the first word  “Yassassin’ from the stage and Bowie completing the line from the harbor.

If that sounds complicated, factor in on-stage changes. We want to seem spontaneous even as I program the whole show. I already think Mike should get to sing at least one song. Best not to choreograph too much and let spontaneous changes happen as they come up. I am worried that White D and company may not show – all those glow rings gone to waste. I grab another beer and promise to relax.

Mike comes and we drink together.

“I think you should sing at least one song.”

“Drumming isn’t my forte?”

“Well, people have heard you are in the Boss Band and may be disappointed if you don’t sing.”

“I dance with the Dervish.”

“You don’t want to sing?”

“Well, Freddie and I have been working on a song together. It’s like “Is That All There is?”

“I bet Freddie will love to sing with you.”

“No need to convince me. The song is called ‘There Must be More to Life Than This.’

“We’ll do it at the end of the Queen set. Then, Bowie and I will come on stage for the finale.”

“You are the Boss.”

Jack comes over as we start laughing at ourselves.

“What’s up?”

“What’s up with you, buttfuck?”

Jack gives me a nasty look.

“What’s wrong with you?” Jack is pissed. “I only want to have a great show. I’m doing my best.”

I hug him and his body language instantly changes to raw need. Oh, gawd.

Mike joins our group hug. Amar and Emile run over and join in. Emile’s groupies sigh and are slightly jealous. They squeal and start hugging each other. Jack feels wanted in some intangible way.

Dinner before the show is light, no heavy food to weigh me down on the zip line. The beer and wine flow. I see the Knobs and the Turkish musician disappear after coffee for what I assume is a toke-up. It is getting dark outside. Muslim Sabbath is over. Time to get the party started. Amar’s Popa is waiting at the stage with his Sufi dervish group. After explaining to him the order of bands and songs, they decide to dance only when Bowie is on stage. Ziggy Stardust is considered too explicitly decadent. Amar comes with me to the wardrobe and makeup trailer to change to his all-white Sufi dancing costume. He is slightly embarrassed as his father wraps his bare legs with white strips of cloth. They make a swift retreat as we start applying makeup for our roles. Bowie and I both have wings to amplify the flying effect we want the audience to imagine.

Time for Rock n Roll.

Looking out from behind the stage curtain I see people as far as one can see. Once I stick my head out from behind the curtain, the lighting crew spotlights me. Thinking I am Bowie, a big cheer breaks out. The Knobs are in place. I get inspired and decide to sing,a Capella, the Beatles’s hit ‘Rock n Roll Music.’ After the first few lines, the Knobs back me up.

Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music
Any old way you choose it
It’s got a back beat you can’t lose it
Any old time you use it
Gotta be rock roll music
If you wanna dance with me
If you wanna dance with me’

Written by: Chuck Berry

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, ENTERTAINMENT ONE U.S. LP

I hear David backing me on ‘If you wanna dance with me’. He is smiling about my deviation from the script that I wrote. I thank the gods for wireless mic’s. I bounce around the stage pretending to do the Chuck Berry’s stutter step.

The Knobs start with early Queen, ‘Keep Yourself Alive,’

Billy does a decent job sounding like Freddie and playing like Brian May (who is still a no show).

Next up is their version of ‘Killer Queen’

followed by ‘Tie Your Mother Down.’

Billy rocks the solos, wah wah-ing the leads.

Next comes another surprise as Jack’s mic is live playing the MOOG keyboard as he pleads to me, ‘Somebody to Love’

I hope he does find somebody (other than me). He sends yearning looks my way as I stand behind the curtain. The Knobs have no trouble playing an unexpected song. Billy is pissed that he is upstaged by a kid. He makes a third deviation from the set list and burst into ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Jack leaves the stage, only to be replaced by Freddie on the MOOG, playing “You’re my Best Friend.’ Billy stands next to Freddie and they sing a duet.

Back on schedule with the set list, Bowie walks out and he and Freddie stand at the center mic and sing ‘Under Pressure’ backed by the Knobs. Billy no long seethes at Jack.

The crowd cheers as the two stars sing together. The sun has long set. The crowd is cloaked in darkness. The faces go on forever. No cell phone cameras in 1978 but candles and lighters can be seen in the far distance.

David remains at the main mic as Freddie and the Knobs leave the stage. Claude Nobs runs up to me and plants a big kiss on my lips. I am in shock, mostly worried about my makeup. It is time for the Starman to get on his invisible black box. But first Bowie has the spotlight at the center mic. He bows to the applause which comes in waves from the back of the crowd right up to our swim kids standing below the stage. The Turkish band is set up at the back of the stage, replacing the Knobs. He starts singing ‘Is there Life on Mars?’

‘… Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man, look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man, wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?’

Produced By David Bowie & Ken Scott

Written By David Bowie

Performance Rights PRS

Publisher Éditer à Paris, BMG Chrysalis, Fairwood Music, Jones Music America, EMI Music Publishing Group, RZO Music, BMG, Tintoretto Music, Screen Gems & BMG Blue

Recorder Mick Ronson

Bowie really rocks it. He is throwing down the gauntlet to me. I stand ready to descend from the top of the invisible box. I love a challenge. The spotlight on Bowie goes out. The band is ready as I start ‘Starman,’ on guitar. I step forward as the spotlight hits me.

I sing the first verse,

‘Didn’t know what time it was, the lights were low

I leaned back on my radio

Some cat was layin’ down some rock ‘n’ roll

“Lotta soul,” he said

Then the loud sound did seem to fade

Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase

That wasn’t no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive’

Jack thunders on the MOOG keyboard before the chorus. The invisible box starts to move toward the left side of the stage where Siouxsie and the Banshees are ready. I sing

There’ a starmam waiting in the sky

He’d like to come and meet us

But he thinks he’d blow our minds

There’s a starman waiting in the sky

He’s told us not to blow it

‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile

He told me

Let the children use it

Let the children lose it

Let all the children boogie’

At the word ‘boogie,’ the spotlight on me goes off and the Banshees are lit up by full stage lighting. McKay rips the guitar opening and Siouxsie starts like lightning, ‘Hong Kong Garden,’

Siouxsie walks to the front of the stage and sings for all the kids standing there. They go crazy.

‘Harmful elements in the air
Symbols clashing everywhere
Reaps the fields of rice and reeds
While the population feeds
Junk floats on polluted water
An old custom to sell your daughter
Would you like number twenty three?
Leave your yens on the counter please

Ho-oh, ho-oh-oh-oh
Hong Kong Garden

Ho-oh, ho-oh-oh-oh
Hong Kong Garden

Oh oh, oh oh’

 Songwriter: John McKay Kenny Morris Siouxsie Sioux Steven Severin

Producers: Nils Stevenson Steve Lillyw

McKay solos the ending. The kids in front go wild, screaming and cheering.

My box as moved back to center stage. I prepare to sing the next verse of ‘Starman’, but must wait for the cheering for the Banshees to finish. The lights go down on the band and I stand in total darkness. Jack plays a different solo riff. The spotlight goes on me again where I have moved to the right side of the stage, where the Boss Band awaits their turn. I sing the second verse,

‘I had to phone,someone, so I picked on you

Hey, that’s far out, so you heard him too

Switch on the TV

We may pick him up on channel two

Look out your window, I can see his light

If we can sparkle, he may land tonight

Don’t tell your poppa or he’ll get us locked up in fright

There’s a starman waiting in the sky

He’d like to come and meet us

But he thinks he’d blow our minds

There’s a starman waiting in the sky

He’s told us not to blow it

‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile

He told me

Let the children use it

Let the children lose it

Let all the children boogie’

My band jump starts our one and only punk hit, “You Ain’t the Boss of Me,’ with Amar screaming the lyrics as flames shoot out from the mic,

‘‘You ain’t the boss of me

I’ain’t who you see

To be what I can be

I need to be free

Miss me, hah

Need me, nah

Love me, hah

Rid of me, nah

You tell me when to come or go

I feel tossed to and fro

Listen to all your rules

I’m not one of your tools

Miss me, hah

Need me, nah

Love me, hah

Rid of me, nah

You say ‘your house, your rules

My way or the highway’

I’ll see you when I can

This is when it all began

Miss me, hah

Need me, nah

Love me, hah

Rid of me, nah

Nah nah, nah nah

Na na, na na, nah’

copyright MIB Tar Larner

They sing it twice and at the end, Amar grabs the mic, stands at the front of the stage, and throws the ‘nana nana nana’ ending at the kids in front of him. It is their cue to sing it back at him. He stands there with hands on hips taunting them.

The lights are cut until the spotlight catches me back at center stage. I finish ‘Starman,’

Starman, waiting in the sky

He’d like to come and meet us

But he thinks he’d blow our minds

There’s a starman waiting in the sky

He’s told us not to blow it

‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile

He told me

Let the children use it

Let the children lose it

Let all the children boogie’

Produced By David Bowie & Ken Scott

Written By David Bowie

Instead of the ‘La La La La La,’ I wait for Jack to start the ponderous Moog dirges, Siouxsie has a hand mic and bounces around the stage, singing rapture /tongues lyrics to their first song, ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’

The crowd is more stunned than excited. I grab the mic from Amar and the Boss Band joins the Banshees at twice the tempo. The nonsense lyrics she sings with us, the actual prayer she does with the Banshees. Kids are flying and thrashing around the open area in front. The regular audience is unsure if they feel the same. They are more confused when Bowie comes and rescues me, grabbing my mic. He joins Siouxsie and they sing ‘Panic in Detroit’ together as I escape back to the invisible black box.

 The Turks back them up, as the Boss Band and the Banshees depart the stage. The general audience breathes a sigh of relief, back on familiar ground, although they are withholding judgment about Siouxsie as she is in seventh heaven singing with her idol, Bowie.

Once finished with ‘Detroit,’ Siouxsie bows to the audience, then Bowie, and points to me hidden on the black box.

Bowie speaks to the audience, “Tonight you will hear a different Bowie because it is time for ‘Changes.”

Jack hits the keyboard,

‘Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Turn and face the strange
Don’t want to be a richer man
Turn and face the strange
There’s gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time’

Songwriter: David Bowie

Producer(s): Ken Scott,David Bowie

He bows as Jack hits a saxophone riff on the MOOG..

The lights dim and I start the opening to ‘Young Americans,.’ The spotlight hits me again on top of the black box.

‘All night
I am the young American
Young American, young American, You want the young American
All right
I am the young American, young American
Young American, young American, You want the young American (I want what you want, I want what you want)
All night
You and I
I want you, I
Young American, young American You want the young American
All right
And all you want is the young American
Young American, young American, I want the young American’

Songwriters: David Bowie

Young Americans lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Tintoretto Music

The crowd does not believe the change, confused about my President Nixon and their dues to pay.

Bowie stands in a single spotlight singing the opening verse of ‘Rock n Roll with Me’ while I play guitar in the dark.

‘You always were the one that knew
They sold us for the likes of you
I always wanted new surroundings

A room to rent while the lizards lay crying in the heat
And trying to remember who to meet
I would take a foxy kind of stand
While tens of thousands found me in demand’

I up the tempo and the spotlight switches to me on the invisible box as I sing

‘When you rock ‘n’ roll with me
No one else I’d rather be
Nobody here can do it for me
I’m in tears again
When you rock ‘n’ roll with me

Gentle hearts are counted down
The queue is out of sight and out of sounds
Me, I’m out of breath, but not quite doubting
I’ve found a door which lets me out

When you rock ‘n’ roll with me
No one else I’d rather be
Nobody down here can do it for me
I’m in tears again
When you rock ‘n’ roll with me

When you rock ‘n’ roll with me
There’s no one else I’d rather be
Nobody down here can do it for me
When you rock ‘n’ roll with me

When you rock ‘n’ roll, rock ‘n’ roll with me
No one else I’d rather, I’d rather be
Nobody down here can do it for me
I’m in tears, I’m in tears
When you rock ‘n’ roll with me’

Songwriters: David Bowie / Geoffrey Alexander MacCormack

Rock ’n’ Roll With Me lyrics © Island Music Ltd., Chrysalis Music Ltd., Chrysalis Music Ltd

Bowie joins me singing the repeated line ‘when you rock and roll with me’, while the spotlight stays on me. Our voices match perfectly, like a studio over-dub.

I walk down the box’s stairs, playing and singing ‘Diamond Dogs’

‘This ain’t rock n roll

This is genocide’

I sing the song slowly slinking on my knees to the front of the stage.

At the last chorus, the spotlight shifts back to Bowie as I lay on the stage in darkness. Bowie finishes as if introducing me.

‘Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs

Bow-wow, woof woof, bow-wow, wow
Call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them the Diamond Dogs, call them, call them
Call them the Diamond Dogs, call them, call them, ooo
Call them the Diamond Dogs’

Songwriters: David Bowie

Diamond Dogs lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tintoretto Music

Bowie bows and leaves the stage.

I slither even closer to the stage front.

 The kids up front start stroking me as I writhe.

Singing only, I become the sex cat in ‘Jean Genie’

‘Jean Genie lives on his back
The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks
He’s outrageous
(Jean Genie)
He screams and he bawls
Jean Genie, let yourself go
Ooo, oww’

Writer(s): Bowie David

I slither away from the stage’s edge before jumping to my feet. I crank the guitar opening to ‘Rebel Rebel,’ and spit out the lyrics, changing the gender from female to male.

‘You’ve got your mother in a whirl
She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hair’s alright
Hey babe, let’s go out tonight
You like me, and I like it all
We like dancing and we look divine
You love bands when they’re playing hard
You want more and you want it fast
They put you down, they say I’m wrong
You tacky thing, you put them on

Rebel rebel, you’ve torn your jeans

Rebel rebel, your face is real mean
Rebel rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

Don’t ya?
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo do’

Songwriter(s) David Bowie

Producer(s) David Bowie

I rush back to the stage edge. I jack up the guitar leads, firing the sparks from the end of my guitar. I repeat the chorus to ‘Suffragette City’ over and over.

‘Don’t lean on me man “cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my Suffragette City
Is outta sight she’s all right

A Suffragette City, a Suffragette City
I’m back on Suffragette City, I’m back on Suffragette City
Ooo, Sufraggete city, ooo, Suffragette City
Oooh-how, Sufragette City, oooh-how, Sufragette City
Ohhh, wham bam thank you ma’am
A Suffragette City, a Suffragette City
Quite all right
A Suffragette City
Too fine
A Suffragette City, ooh, a Sufragette City
Oh, my Sufragette City, oh my Suffragette City
Oh, Suffragette

Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)David Bowie Ken Scott

Songwriter David Bowie.

Producer(s) David Bowie.Ken Scott

The sparks are flying. I run back to the Turk band and do a mashup of ‘Transmission’ and ‘TVC15’

As I finish, a voice in the back yells, “You’re not Bowie.”

“You’re right. I’m Ziggy Stardust. Singing my song,”

The audience loves my Ziggy act. I end with ‘Ziggy plays guitar.’ I pick up my guitar and David joins me at the mic. We sing ‘Rock and Roll Suicide’ together alternating the lines

‘Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Ohhh, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide
You’re too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clocks waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don’t eat when you’ve lived too long
Oh, no, no, no, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide
Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead so you hurry home
Don’t let the sun blast your shadow
Don’t let the milk float ride your mind
They’re so natural – religiously unkind
Oh no love! you’re not alone
You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care
Oh no love! you’re not alone
No matter what or who you’ve been
No matter when or where you’ve seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain
You’re not alone
Just turn on with me and you’re not alone
Let’s turn on with me and you’re not alone
Let’s turn on and be not alone
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful
Oh gimme your hands.’

Songwriters: David Bowie / Jorge Seu

Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide lyrics © Tintoretto Music, Chrysalis Music Ltd

We end holding hands above our heads. The audience is waving their hands back at us.

I leave the stage to heavy applause.

Bowie tells my story.

“That’s Laz. You heard Earl Slick was stolen by John Lennon? I knew I was getting too old to play a teenage space alien and this kid shows up at my door asking my help in keeping Freddie and Queen together. We did shows and he is the Boss. I know you want to hear my early hits that lead up to Ziggy. Laz and I will do those hits together. But ‘Five Years’ is enough.

And it was cold and it rained, so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you’re beautiful, I want you to walk

We’ve got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that’s all we got

We got five years, what a surprise
Five years, stuck on my eyes
We got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that’s all we got

We got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that’s all we got

We got five years, what a surprise
We got five years, stuck on my eyes
We got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that’s all we got

Five years
Five years
Five years
Five years’

Songwriters: David Bowie

Five Years lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Tintoretto Music

Bowie bows to stupendous cheering that comes from the back of the crowd to break like a wave on the stage. It goes on and on. People scream, ‘No!’

Bowie raises his hands. It takes 30 seconds for the crowd to calm down.

“You think I’m done. I’m just getting started. No more space aliens!’

The crowd starts cheering again.

David looks backstage and sees Freddie Mercury laughing at us.

“Get out here, Freddie. We need to sing a song about this crowd and all our fans.

Freddie bounces to the mic to more cheers.

“All the Young Dudes,’ David announces. I run back out and join them, Roger and Deacy slip into their spots. Next comes Brian May, having to make his own entrance. Billy looks like he is about to cry.

‘Billy rapped all night ’bout his suicide
How he’d kick it in the head when he was 25
Don’t wanna stay alive when you’re 25
Wendy’s stealing clothes from unlocked cars
Freddy’s got spots from ripping off stars from his face
Funky little boat race
The television man is crazy
Saying we’re juvenile delinquent wrecks
Man I need a TV when I’ve got T. Rex
Hey brother you guessed I’m a dude
All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news
All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news
Now Jimmy looking sweet though he dresses like a queen’

Songwriters: David Bowie

All the Young Dudes lyrics © Tintoretto Music, Chrysalis Music Ltd

The kids in front own their song, bouncing with arms around each other. Cool paying audience members join the kids in front, not quite twenty five.

“It’s time for Queen, but we’ll be back,” Bowie announces.

The first flash pots go off as we run off stage arm in arm, leaving the crowd no break before Queen.