out there, somewhere, are people who have narrowed down their imagination to the extent that they use my (usually) annual celebration of a certain anniversary to set their calendar by. if it's November 5th, look you see, then for me it must be Tin Machine day. not just any Tin Machine day today, mind you - this is the 25th anniversary of the time what i got to see this band live.
surely, you would think, by this point in time there is no longer anything for me to say or show in respect of the concert? this blog is, after all, littered with posts about the band, the controversies, the way the press lazily dismisses the band and, most importantly, the music. well, we are here now - let's see what i can come up with.
if for some reason you are reading this and have no idea who or what a Tin Machine is, let's start there. they were a band formed by David Bowie, or if you like Mr Bowie. actually, no "if you like", my friends, for a very dear and special lady has instructed me that i must refer to him in this most respectful way in this particular post. and so it shall be.
moving on, then, and the band existed for some 4 - 5 years. their first album, Tin Machine, more or less saw Bowie out of his contract with EMI. there was a pause as Da...Mr Bowie embarked upon some "greatest hits" shenanigans around halfway through their existence. the second and sadly final album was called, to mix things up, Tin Machine II. a live album "happened" after the tour i saw the band on. it's called Oy Vey, Baby and is apparently Mr Bowie's "dig" at Bono for calling the U2 album released just before it Achtung Baby. the second album and the live one are, sadly, out of print.
it's fair to say that Tin Machine were not as loved as Mr Bowie's solo stuff, but it is unfair and a misrepresentation to say that the band was disliked. far from it. in terms of Da...Mr Bowie's record sales, for many years the debut record of the band was the fifth biggest selling one of his career.
but we are here to celebrate that special night. and, as a bonus, i am happy to show you off some images from that most wonderful of nights, and some video too.
the above image is a still off of a DVD of a bootleg video of the gig that a fellow fan very kindly sent on to me. it's a video that someone somehow managed to shoot from the balcony of the Newcastle Mayfair. to put things in perspective, this was 1991 - to get this meant someone smuggling in a massive sized VHS camera. thank you so very much, whoever did that.
where was i? ground level. off to the right of Da....Mr Bowie there, stood a couple of rows back from where Reeves Gabrels did his thing with the guitar.
i think i have kept the images in a chronological order here. that still is from the opening song of the gig, One Shot. it happens to be the opening song of the Tin Machine II album too. yes, every "mix tape" or "mix CD" of Tin Machine that i have done since does indeed start off with One Shot.
erm, what's that? it's a bottle of milk in our possession. as you can quite clearly see the "best before" date is November 5, so in my world this has become a bottle of "Tin Machine milk".
after One Shot i got the song that i so dearly hoped they would play, Bus Stop. it's off the first record, and it's a blast. clocking in at less than two minutes, it's a fastly thrashed out rock number with some witty, ingenious, insightful and all around wonderful lyrics.
speaking of witty, shall we do the "headline" thing for a few sections? sure.
"here's a man who needs no introduction"
those familiar with Tin Machine will know that they didn't play any major venues. in a sort of "back to basics" thing, Mr Bowie and the band played seriously small venues. i have not checked, but i would be sure the place i saw them, the Newcastle Mayfair, had less than 500 in. probably closer to 300. although he was reticent to say anything but he was "just one of four equal voices in the band", this allowed normal, every day fans such as me to have a more intimate experience of Da....Mr Bowie than one would have ever thought possible.
the above is a still taken from I Can't Read, the (i think) fifth song of the set. oh, yes, Mr Bowie is pretty much looking directly at where i was stood in this still, and yes that was also probably the third different short he had worn in the gig.
this intimacy, then, allowed us to experience, enjoy, appreciate and forever remember the witty comments which Mr Bowie wished to share with us in a way that was just so far more wonderful than when he was addressing thousands across a stadium.
an example of this can be found in the below video, then. please, please rather look at this blog on a device or with a browser that supports video playback here. i know that Safari on Apple devices does not; trust me you are missing out.
here he is, then, Da...Mr Bowie on the subject of the rhythm guitarist that had joined the band for live performance........
we were treated to frequent exchanges of that nature, from both Mr Bowie and Hunt Sales. neither Tony nor Reeves spoke to us at all, from what i recall.
a pattern has probably formed so far, but if not - regrettably and yet understandably all of the footage i have does indeed, for the most part, focus on Mr Bowie alone. well, no matter how good the band was, he was always the focus. it would be unusual for a bootlegger to have filmed anyone else, i suppose.
any lingering questions from the night for me? maybe. do i wonder whatever happened to the person i took to the gig with me, for i did not go alone? not really. i mean, i'd like to think that wherever they are in the world they are happy and all is well, and i doubt they celebrate the date as much as me.
other questions? sure. the two lads stood in front of us kept having conversations along the lines of "what do you think the next song is?", "probably gonna be Ziggy, or maybe Starman". i wonder if they look back in disappointment. also, towards the end of the gig, a lady who had consumed some substantial Dutch courage got all tired and emotional and a bit carried away, and started leaning over the balcony, screaming out the first name of Mr Bowie that i am not allowed to use here, indicating that she was quite willing and very much available in a sexual way.
speaking of which........
"do you smoke after sex?"
my most frequently told Tin Machine story is, without doubt, my most vivid memory of the concert. it's right there for you in the above clip.
for those not able to play it back, there was a sort of "jazz odyssey" like interlude during Heaven's In Here, the song the band finished up on prior to an encore of Sorry and Sacrifice Yourself. with the song being, as highlighted in a recent post, a downright dirty, sultry, sexual one, Mr Bowie mumbled all sorts of sexual ambitions, memories and ideas as the band, so to speak, strummed away.
at one point he looked to the crowd and asked "do you smoke after sex?". i think i remember it mostly as he happened to be looking in my precise direction as he said it.
a still of the bare chested, sweaty, hot, down and dirty Mr Bowie from the above? surely.
if i have my mathematics correct, and indeed my wording, the anniversary celebration next year will be one which sees me being the same age that Mr Bowie was when i saw him at this concert. i will do my best to come a bit closer, but i suspect it shall be fair to say he had achieved somewhat more than i by that age. although, you know, i haven't done all that badly. if that fella off of Ireland, Geldof, called me and asked me to do a duet with Jagger, no problem, done.
Tin Machine was pretty much taken for granted, i think it's fair to say. there was an assumption that doing these gigs with this band was Da....Mr Bowie either admitting defeat and fading away, or was just a novelty that he would end and return to solo fame in massive venue concerts. the latter proved true. Tin Machine was also from a time when we just assumed that we'd have Mr Bowie for ever, for it occurred to no one that there was ever any such possibility that he would ever die.
the concert finale, then, or if you like the encore. first up was Sorry, performed by Hunt Sales, sat on a stool, wearing only a towel and a short one at that so no still shots. for the actual final song, Sacrifice Yourself, Mr Bowie wore the version of the controversial shirt that stated he was in Tin Machine. the one i bought simply said that i merely loved the band. yes, there are images of it around on this blog somewhere.
and that, my friends, would be just about that for another year of memories. i can but hope the standard of writing has been suitable and correct. the main focus of this post this year was, however, to show off the video clips that i had edited down. i do hope you've been able to play them and found them to be worth your time.
thank you, whoever you are, wherever you are and whenever you are, for taking the time to read these, my memories of a special evening. my hope would be that this has entertained, but more so that you, music or otherwise, have some sort of special night you also fondly look back on as and when the calendar rotates you back to it.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!