#LifeOnTourWithBowie mini book review


Sean Mayes is a famous rock 'n' roll piano player from the group Fumble, who are best known for supporting Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour in '72. Further down the line, Bowie was recruiting musicians to be in his band for the Isolar 2 tour in '78. Although Fumble were well into the production of the Elvis musical at the time, Mayes couldn't not say yes to a request from Ziggy himself and was soon in the throes of a globular tour with one of the most inspiring, innovative and interesting rock 'n' roll musicians that has graced the Earth. The tour was recorded and subsequently released as Stage.

Life On Tour With Bowie is a short, edited version of Mayes' diary entries from his time spent on tour with D, and details everything down to the travelling between destinations, the costumes, the people involved both musicians and administrative, the fans and groupies, the night life and, most importantly, the live shows.

I found the entries to be less raucous than I expected, and whilst there is a lot of clubbing, drinking and the occasional mention of drugs, the whole tour seems relatively restrained for a such a big impact upon the rock 'n' roll scene, but I found Sean's descriptions of events to be really illuminating without getting boring.

The differences between the varying venues of different countries, from size and technical specs, to sociabilities of staff and audience was something I found really interesting, especially when on tour in places like Japan and noting how different the audience behave from place to place.

The retelling of the live shows too was great to read, though sometimes only a few lines in length, it's amazing how different shows can be from day to day, and how one event can set the mood and tone for the entire band. Something could happen mid show and the entire dynamic would change, and Maye's details this very well.

The relationships between the group are always informed upon, without ever feeling 'gossipy' and it's nice to see that they actually seem like quite good friends behind the scenes. I can only imagine how this impacted on the live performance, but Sean talks about how the entire group would go out for food and clubbing on a social level, not just to keep up appearances as the band.

It's only a short read, and I'd definitely recommend it for any fan of Bowie to get an insight into the life of a touring musician from a perspective other than that of the main star.

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