Montreux Jazz Festival
July 18, 2002
My friend Isa and I headed to Montreux to see David Bowie perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was the first (and only) time I ever saw David Bowie in concert, so I didn’t know what I was in for. Expectations were high to be seeing such a legendary performer in such a legendary setting, and there was an incredible buzz of anticipation in the audience when we arrived at the venue.
We actually arrived quite late, but the doors were still closed. The Stravinsky Auditorium is the main venue at the Montreux Jazz festival, and it has multiple doors on all sides. Just after we arrived, the crew very unexpectedly opened only one door into the auditorium, which was precisely the door where we were waiting. Seizing this opportunity of a lifetime, we moved quickly and ended up front row center along with the lucky few who had been standing and waiting at the same door.
What happened next is impossible to describe in words. The concert was mesmerizing from beginning to end. David Bowie’s performance was otherworldly, and his stage presence was electrifying. I had seen numerous concerts before, and many more since then (including many incredible U2 shows such as the tiny Man Ray club show in Paris in 2000), but that night will forever top them all. Everything was perfect - location, sheer luck, sound, performance, set list. In fact, after a full two hour set, Bowie returned to perform the entire “Low” album as an encore. One of his most cherished records, and of course one of his Berlin albums from the late 70s, recorded at Hansa studio, which was to become a pivotal location for U2 a little over a decade later.
This concert was so incredible that we forgot to take pictures. Though we managed to get a setlist from the stage after the show…