We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spring Loaded Trap Doors

'See these eyes so green
I can stare for a thousand years'  David Bowie
    On certain days, Kim's eyes were green.  She swore they changed.  I told her she did not have to swear.  They did.  Sometimes blue, like the Carolina surf...sometimes gray, like the rainy monsoon day that she loved...and sometimes, green....

     I hadn't thought of the Bowie tune 'Cat People' in years.  It's a great song.  We were such Bowie fans.  Autumn made me remember...inadvertently...
     These days, Autumn is a 7th grader.  In middle school.  How this happened, I have no recollection, but she loves it so far having just completed her 2nd week.  She has a great round of teachers (no surprise, as we've yet to have a 'bad' teacher!) and is particularly fond of Mr. Wauer, her science teacher.  Each day, when we get home, she regals me with stories from Mr. Wauer's classroom. 
      Mr Wauer is truly passionate about what he does.  He is a teaching enthusiast who believes in engaging his students to help them learn and retain their lessons.  Cody had him three years ago and still remembers what he learned with him.  Mr. Wauer is very entertaining, too, using jokes and visual aides (like gila monsters and rattle snakes) as visual aids.  I remember, when Cody had him, he came in with a hand puffed up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon.  He had been bitten by a black widow spider.  I guess you could say he is Desert Sky's version of the Crocodile Hunter!
      There Autumn was, relating how Mr. Wauer had just told them, this very day, that he used to be a fire fighter!  He told his engrossed students that in a big fire, how important it was to have a fire blanket and how to use it.  He related stories of how he put fires out! 
       I, off handily, told Autumn "You should tell him that you put out fires with gasoline."  And then; "Hey!  That's a great David Bowie line 'I'm putting out fires with gasoline'!" 
       When we got home, we downloaded the song and sure enough, Autumn loved it!  It is just as great a song as I remember it - standing up to the test of time - but what came with it was a flood of memories...

      ...I've come to find, that the mind is full of memories, that can jump up, unbidden, at any time.  It's as if there are trap doors, spring loaded, that are triggered by seemingly the most far fetched reference.  I used to try to keep an eye open for the triggers, hoping to avoid the onslaught and surprised caused by a spring loaded trap door erupting at light speed, quickly, yet loosely, followed by a raft of stunningly clear memories...but now - I just ride it, letting it take me wherever they need to go.  Making sense of it no longer seems to make that much difference.

         Most of the memories are amazing - so why try to figure them out?  And, as far as concerts go, the times Kim and I got to see David Bowie, were always incredible!  We grew up with Bowie, didn't we?  Or did he grow up with us?  He was big in the '70's, when we were listening to Top 40 radio (WKAP and WAEB) thrilling us with Aladinsane album and his band, the Spiders from Mars.  We loved Ziggy Stardust.  We watched him evolve, as we did, moving to soul, adding in a little jazz, dance music - all the while the consumate showman.  We found something to love with each and every stage of Bowie's career.

         First one we saw together?  The one that hooked us?  The 'Serious Moonlight Tour' at the Spectrum Arena in Philadelphia, 1984.  We loved the Spectrum, home of the Philadelphia Flyers!  We'd often park and catch the train, which would drop you right across the street from the Spectrum, to be welcomed by the hot pretzel vendors and t-shirt hawkers.  It is an indoor venue and only held about 18,000, so it was a fairly intimate place to see a show.  This show blew us away and we knew that we wanted to see Bowie again.  We just didn't know how soon it would actually be!

          "Let's Dance" and "China Girl" were two of our favorites from this album.  The light show was fabulous and Bowie is 'such a performer' Kim would say!!  He played in July and moved on to do shows across America.  I was attending Shippensburg University at the time and, imagine my surprise, when a friend told me that Bowie was coming to Hershey Park Stadium in Hershey, PA in August!?!  Yes, right next door to the chocolate factory.
            Hershey Arena was a large, oval shaped outdoor stadium that holds around 30,000 people.  It was a great place to see a show...I got a ride from school to pick Kim up, two hours east and we headed to the show.  We bought some great, bootleg t-shirts in the parking lot that night.  It was even better than the Philly show we had seen!

             We had to wait a couple of years to see Bowie again...1988 - the Glass Spider Tour.  Bowie was tired of playing all of the songs that had rocketed him to stardom.  This tour, he played mainly songs from his latest album, 'Never Let Me Down'...he did not let Kim and I down.  The stage presentation was phenomenal, with a gigantic glass spider dominating the stage.  Every inch of it lit up like a rainbow.  To start the show, Bowie came out of the spider's head and was lowered to the stage!  We saw this show at Veterans Stadium in Philly, where the Eagles had played.  We got there early, stopped to eat on South Street, then headed to the Vet. 

             We had brought a bottle of wine with us, drinking from the bottle as we made our way towards the entrance.  A policeman on horseback was coming up alongside of us on the street, making Kim very nervous.  I assured her not to worry, that they were only looking for rowdies who could not hold there liquor.  Just to show her, I said 'hello' to the officer, with the bottle in my hand, as he trotted by us.  He returned my greeting and then increased his speed as he bore down on some delinquents who could not hold their liquor as well as Kim and I! The announced crowd was over 80,000 and the lights and stage show captivated us!  One of my all time favorite concerts that I have ever seen.  Duran Duran opened the show for Bowie that night!

            Kim had taken a lot of pictures at this show for a project she was working on for a photography class she was taking at Lehigh University...I wish I still had some of them left...

           Around this time, Bowie began experimenting with a group sound.  The name of his band was Tin Machine.  We got to catch their tour in 1989...it was good to see Bowie perform, but Tin Machine was ill fated as a band.  They only put out two albums before Bowie decided it was best to return to his solo efforts.

           We were there to see his next tour, Sound + Vision, in 1990 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia!  Bowie stayed away from the laser show and pyrotechnics, choosing to dazzle his audience with theatrics and muted lighting.  It was a fantastic show!

              He had a large screen behind him, projecting various images of himself charting the course of his career.  He played ALL of his best hits, saying he planned to retire them after this tour.  During the show, he paused while singing "Young Americans", one of our favorites, to speak out against Tipper Gore and music censorship - something I had written a paper on for Communications Law class back in 1987!!  GREAT SHOW!!  We lingered in Philly, afterwards, staying at a hotel overlooking the Delaware river and hitting Smokin' Joe's after the show!

                And, the last time we saw Bowie...1995 at Desert Sky Pavillion in Phoenix, Lord knows what it's become now.  It was for the "Outside" tour, which was not a particularly strong album, but we enjoyed it.  Nine Inch Nails opened the show and actually performed several songs with Bowie. I don't think we thought, at the time, that this would be our final time getting to see Bowie together...

               We stayed at a Quality Inn up there off of Elliot Ave, hitting Aunt Chilada's for dinner beforehand...

               The theatrics.  The music.  The passion.  We loved Bowie.  It's hard to say what our favorite song was - there were so many - ditto album.  We appreciated the musician and actor that Bowie was - he always gave us our money's worth!  Loved him in the movie Labyrinth, which the Bambini still enjoy watching!!


'Just be still with me
You wouldn't believe what I've been through...'