Remembering David Bowie (1947-2016)

David Bowie on his his Serious Moonlight Tour in 1983. Photo: Express Newspapers, Getty Images.

David Bowie had a profound influence on the live design community, from his music to his concerts to his style. From designers heavily influenced by his work to those lucky enough to actually work with him on tours, all of us were touched and affected by his artistry.

Below are a few thoughts and comments about the man; please provide your own in the comments below.

Working with David was always a collaborative and enlightening experience. Always involved and inspirational to be around. I can still hear his laughter and sense the way he made you feel so comfortable in his presence. From our initial meeting as lighting director for The Outside Tour with David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails though various tours, specials, videos, TV shows, awards, clubs, festivals, and his 50th Birthday concert film. He was an inspiration to be with. We shared many special times, unforgettable shows, and experiences together and for this I am truly thankful. David was always a consummate gentleman, taking charge of rehearsals with the power of a conductor over his orchestra, the Maestro directing his unique world. It is with truly great sadness and words cannot begin to express the sorrow felt that he has left us. -Gary Westcott

Unfortunately, I live my life in pockets of time. I'm so grateful for all I have, but time gets eaten so quickly and chaotically. I finally just sat down and cleared the day from my head after just landing back in LA from China. It finally sunk in that Bowie left the planet. Had a few moments of tears because of the memories he brings back and the realization of a ticking clock. I'm so glad he left his last gift. He was a big part of who I am now. So glad I had a brief moment to work with him. He got what it's all about. I will miss you, David Bowie. - LeRoy Bennett

In 2003, I was working in NBC Studio 8G on "Last Call with Carson Daly." David Bowie was our guest, performing a couple of songs and doing a long interview. During the afternoon, I was showing the interview lighting to David and Tom Kenny, who was traveling with David as his lighting chaperone. The homebase set had an illuminated platform, and I mentioned, pointing at the floor, that "this lights up." David said, "I used to do that." - Michael Gottlieb

On August 14, 2003, I was sitting in a rehearsal studio in NYC on the west side. Bowie and his band were rehearsing. I was listening and taking notes in preparation for the upcoming tour. Other members of the production team were around and working. David is facing the band, back to me where I'm sitting when mid-song, all the power goes out (as it did for most of the Northeastern US in that moment). Everyone, EVERYONE including DB looks over to me as if to say, 'WTF Laura? What did you do to the lights??' Let's just put aside for a moment that ALL the power was gone, but I had to point that out before we could all have a laugh and figure out what was going on. Anyone who has worked with me can probably imagine the silent arms up, "I wasn't touching anything" face and gesture I instinctively made in that moment. - Laura Frank

Jan and I are stunned at the loss of David Bowie. The very first tour that Jan did was only a few months after we married. Idiot Tour. At the end, David asked Jan if he would do Isolar. He asked...who does that? The world has pivoted for us. There will be a little less sparkle because he is gone. David Bowie was like no other. There is no way to explain him, and no description can quite make clear how special we felt being part of his creative universe. We have been touched and changed forever. God give him wings.- Jan-Al Cases

"I suppose for me as an artist it wasn't always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture that I was living in. It just seemed like a challenge to move it a little bit towards the way I thought it might be interesting to go." - David Bowie

I think he did a damn good job. - Christian Hibbard

I remember back in 1974, when I was working for Jules Fisher on rehearsals with David Bowie for his Diamond Dogs Tour. I was quite impressed by David's focus and patience in rehearsals on a show that was extremely technical. Loved his artistry. R.I.P. David Bowie. - Daniel Flannery


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