On Bowie's Low in 2002

4 Jul 2002
Bono showed up with Brian Eno and Kylie Minogue for David Bowie's weekend concert at London's Festival Hall.

The Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick - an old school friend of Bono's and sometime Propaganda contributor - was also there.

'Name-dropping is an obnoxious habit, I know, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. So there I was, backstage following David Bowie's weekend concert at the Festival Hall, chatting with Bowie, Bono and Kylie (stars whose single names drop onto the deep-pile celebrity carpet with a deeply satisfying, solid gold thud).

Brian Eno stopped by to compliment Bowie on his bold rendition of the Low album, which made up the first half of his set. "It was actually quite bizarre, sitting in the audience hearing all those sounds and arrangements we created being so immaculately replicated by other musicians," Eno (who produced the original album in 1977) cheerfully announced. "I rather like the idea of making a record then sending other people out to perform it. I think it was a wise decision not to stick to the original running order, however."

"We tried that in New York," Bowie admitted. "The poor buggers didn't know what to do with themselves during side two. They were too polite to complain but by the fourth instrumental in a row there was a steady trickle of people heading for the bar. This time I thought it wise to break it up a little."

Bono made the point that, while the music had actually been faithfully recreated, the context had somehow changed Low immeasurably. "Back in the Seventies, it was something strange and alien, this harsh, cold, Teutonic sound," he opined. "Tonight everyone was singing along. It sounded like pop music."

Not to Kylie, however, who admitted it still sounded pretty strange to her. "I've never actually heard it before," she confessed. "When did it come out? Well, I was only nine! Its not the kind of thing we were singing in the playground in Melbourne!"


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