Greeley Tribune - 26 April 2004

Fans carry on legacy of David Bowie at concert

By Phil Yates

Mike Brown isn't just a David Bowie fan. He was ready to paint his face so he could imitate his idol when he was in his prime as Ziggy Stardust. But he just couldn't find the talent or the face paint to make himself look like David Bowie.

"I don't have anyone to paint my face," said Mike, 18, who resorted to creating his own Bowie T-shirt at Kinkos. "I am obsessed. Bowie is my life."

Before anyone else had come to the Budweiser Events Center on Sunday for the David Bowie concert, Mike and his sister, Carol, 14, were there, waiting to be the first inside the arena. Mike turned his sister onto Bowie by accident.

"I swiped an album from his room because I didn't know who David Bowie was," Carol said. Now she's hooked on the eccentric personality who gained attention with "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" and songs like "Under Pressure," "Let's Dance" and "Changes."

"I think he is the best rock star in the world," Carol said.

The nearly sold-out crowd of an estimated 5,000 turning the turnstiles for the Bowie concert was a mix of casual and hard-core fans from different generations. High school students came with their friends. Mothers and fathers came with their daughters. All of them were ready to rock.

For the Browns, the chance to hear the rock legend who hasn't toured since 1995 was worth the 500-mile, five-hour trip from Ogden, Utah, to catch his "A Reality" tour stop in Loveland. They even brought their dad, who never knew about Bowie until Mike got hooked on him from a video game.

"I was like, 'Dad, you had a chance to go all those Ziggy concerts, but you blew it,' " Mike said.

For other young people, the lure of Bowie is not something they learned from their parents.

"He's 56, he's touring the world, he is hot as hell, he is a legend, and the man can rock out," said Karie Simpson, 16, a high school student from Littleton, who came to the concert with her 22-year-old sister and three of their friends. She planned to sneak to the front row to catch a glimpse of her favorite rocker.

"We have to carry on the legacy," she said. "If all these kids grow up listening to Bowie, KISS and Aerosmith, and in turn raised their kids to appreciate the same legends, what a world it would be."

After opening act Polyphonic Spree ended its set, the audience went into a lull until Bowie emerged from the black stage, a silhouette of stream and white light behind him, as he blasted into "Rebel, Rebel." The audience roared its approval.

As the band finished playing and the applause simmered down, Bowie spoke to the crowd.

"You rascals," Bowie said. "Where are we? There is a just a big field out there. I just got lost."

He quickly finished and turned to his band.

"Let's just play music," he said, launching into a series of songs from his new album, "Reality," as red, white and orange lights from the rigging of the stage blinded the audience. He interspersed new songs with old standards such as "Fashion" and "All the Young Dudes." The standing fans threw their arms left and right, following the music.

But as the night slowed and the audience left the arena, and Bowie got into his bus for his next show in Austin, Texas, Mike is counting the days to Bowie's return.

"I won't miss another concert if he comes within 500 miles," he said. "I hope he does this until he is 80 or 90. I will listen to him forever."

By the Numbers
Browns affection for David Bowie: 25 albums by David Bowie he owns
13th: The row his tickets were in
$77: The money he paid for the tickets, plus charges
$300: His expected expenses for the trip, including posters and T-shirts