Even late in 2017 as I was buying the tickets and putting these events on the calendar, I knew: it was going to make for a hell of a week, and not entirely in the good sense. Tickets to “David Bowie Is” at the Brooklyn Museum for a Sunday daytrip; and, that coming Wednesday night, driving to Hershey for David Byrne’s “American Utopia” tour.
It’s always good to pace oneself, except when others are setting the pace. Then you just have to keep up.
We could not take a lot of photos at “David Bowie Is”: phones had to be put into airplane mode because the audio tour that went with the exhibition was not one that discouraged you from moving on before it was finished talking — the audio literally went where YOU did. I’ve never been a big fan of the audio component at museums, and I really appreciated this. For the music, and for David’s voice, talking about his life.
A very emotional exhibit, really. “His costumes! They are so small!” said the kids. Both of them loved a hard-molded suit worn by Bowie on Saturday Night Live, in which he could not self-propel; they loved the videoclip that played alongside the costume, showing Joey Arias and Klaus Nomi each lifting Bowie by an elbow and moving him to and from his microphone.
A long day, and yet we all kept saying: How could one person fit so much living into just that one life? We still don’t know.
The one “illegal” photo I took was of a large print of a “Periodic Table of Bowie” and I needn’t have bothered; it was being sold in the gift shop, where I bought it.
Monday and Tuesday to “recover”, and then: did we expect an enormous snowstorm on the day we’d be driving to Hershey? of course not.
This event was one of the very first stops on the “American Utopia” tour which will undoubtedly go down in rock history as one of the most uplifting, joyful, inclusive, thoughful, life-affirming productions ever staged.
Did I ever think I’d get to stand dancing with my children while David Byrne performed “Once in a Lifetime” live in front of us? Nope. But we sure made every second of it count. I love that you can hear both kids singing in this; Ben had my phone and had a kid on each side of him.
Watching the set get broken down was pretty fun too.
The drive home the next morning was easy and fast, but made for a Thursday that no one believed was a Thursday; there was a lot of napping, lying on the couch watching horror movies, and not really knowing what to do with ourselves. The next day when I said to the kids, “I know it doesn’t feel like a Friday, but…” they were furious in their insistence that it was MONDAY. Ran for the calendar. Checked and re-checked. They simply would not believe me.
These experiences are always worth it. Lots of long hours in the car, rolling luggage carts with bad wheels, crappy on-the-road food, GOOD but unhealthy on-the-road food… but music can take you anywhere, so you might as well meet it halfway.