“Starman” at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia, October 21st, 2002 - 1.11.2016

My friend Chandler broke the terrible news to me that Bowie died from an 18 month long battle with Cancer. Man, was it really 14 years ago that I saw him at the Tower Theater in Philly? Music Editor Pat Rapa asked me to photograph the show for The Philadelphia City Paper. At the time we had just switched from film to digital and I was shooting with the Nikon D1X, a 5.3 megapixel camera that had a list price of $5,130 (you can buy it on ebay now for $140). I came away with this image for the paper, but I came away with so much more internally. There’s no image that explains what it was like to listen to “Starman” up close and personal. You see, my son Aidan was 6 months in the womb and would arrive three months later on January 5th, 2003. There I was, listening to David Bowie singing:

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 lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie.

I kept thinking about this baby boy that was about to blow our minds… I knew my life was about to change forever but I had no idea what to expect. Well, we celebrated Aidan’s 13th birthday this week and he’s still blowing my mind. “Starman” will forever remind me of that concert, that feeling, that realization. I can’t imagine life without my son. I will make sure he knows the impact Bowie’s music had on the world. And of course, I’ll tell him I was thinking about him at The Tower Theater on October 21st, 2002.

Here’s the setlist for the show:

Breaking Glass
Ashes to Ashes
Slip Away
China Girl
5:15 The Angels Have Gone
Absolute Beginners
I’ve Been Waiting for You
Be My Wife
Sound and Vision
Rebel Rebel
I’m Afraid of Americans
Life on Mars?
Heathen (The Rays)
White Light/White Heat
(The Velvet Underground cover)
Let’s Dance
Ziggy Stardust


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