These past few weeks it seems like quite a few musicians, actors, and other celebrities have succumbed to various illnesses, resulting in their untimely deaths. For me it began with hard rock legend Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead. I had the opportunity to interview him a couple years ago about Motorhead’s line of vodka and wine. My big question was “why no whiskey”? He was well known for his heavy consumption of Jack (Daniels) and Coke, and a hard rock n roll lifestyle. It was announced he was battling cancer, and he died a few days after turning 70, and mere weeks after the latest release from the band.

Lemmy

However, the recent passing of David Bowie came as a complete shock. Having just released his 25th album (Blackstar) on his 69th birthday just two days prior, which some are calling his own epitaph, the news spread like wildfire across the globe. People were in shock, as unlike Lemmy, most were unaware of his 18-month battle with cancer that eventually claimed his life. He continued to work on his album, and even did a photo shoot the day of his birthday.

Bowie - Photography by Jimmy King

His music resonated with so many music fans of all ages, genders, nationalities, and sexuality’s. His various persona’s over the years were current reflections of the time, so staging his own final departure swan song would only seem appropriate for the likes of such a creative individual. His passing on January 10th coincidentally coincided with an already scheduled performance by Holy Holy happening on January 12th at the Opera House in Toronto. The band features two long-time Bowie collaborators Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey, along with a slew of great session musicians who have played in bands like Generation X and Heaven 17.

David Bowie in 1973

Again, word spread quickly and the not-as-yet sold out show quickly hit capacity. As luck would also have it, the band’s current tour schedule had them on a night off the following night, January 13th. It seems the band and promoter spoke and did what anyone would have expected – add a second date – which also saw tickets disappear very quickly. All around Toronto, Bowie’s presence could be felt, as clubs quickly staged Bowie tribute nights, and signs of sorrow went up along the streets.

Royal Cinema      Woody's

For those lucky enough to snag a pair for either night, the show was nostalgic, sad, magical, and pure excellence for Bowie fans. For those talented musicians onstage, it must have been quite tough losing a dear friend so recently, but as they say in the industry, the show must go on. They played the entire “The Man Who Sold The World” album that was released over 45 years ago, along with a few other tunes from the same era, ending on a long-time favourite “Suffragette City”.

Holy-Holy-live-Toronto-2016-billboard-650

There were some nods to Bowie by the band members who remembered all the good times from the past, and a few thank you acknowledgements directed to the crowd for sharing this experience with them. There were rumours that Bowie was going to jump onstage for their New York performance on his birthday, but then backed out and was planning on making a surprise appearance in Toronto. Needless to say that didn’t happen, but Toronto fans got the next best thing, and a great way to pay respect to one of the modern world’s greatest musicians of all time. RIP Mr. Bowie.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.