Sunday, January 10, 2016

As a Teen TCK, What Are Your Memories of Music?

Bootleg tapes on the street corner.

Pop songs when all I wanted to hear was alternative New Age.

"I Just Called To Say I Love You"????? AGAIN!?!?!??!

My favorite typo entered into my TCK Lexicon: "Comfortably Nump" on my Pink Floyd The Wall tape. Like most TCK jokes, you had to be there. I mean that literally. You had to be there, in that country, at that time.

Rick Springfield. David Bowie. The limited rock concert choices of an American teenager growing up in Bangkok, Thailand.

What I would have given - to see The Clash, Violent Femmes, Yazoo -

As a teen TCK, what are your memories of music?

Our access to music played an influential role in our experience of TCK teenagerdom. I was in Bangkok for my late teens, my US summers spent recording tape-to-tape from my cousins' music collection, the likes never found among the stacks of bootleg tapes on street tables in Thailand. Oingo Boingo. Siouxsie and the Banshees. The Cure. Belgium for my early teens, leaving me imprinted with a European version of fantastic 80s music. Pass the Dutchie. And I called them Yazoo. Not Yaz, which I still can't get used to.

And I did get to see David Bowie. With the news of his January 10 death came the memory of his concert. Bangkok 1983. I always thought of it as Bowie's "Let's Dance" concert, but it was actually his Serious Moonlight tour. I know this now because I just looked it up. At 13, I went to the show in Bangkok on December 5, 1983. I loved it. I was there. That's all I knew.

In this "information age" I can access from the bird's eye view: from May to December, 15 countries and 95 performances. How many TCKs saw this tour? Standing in our own mini-worlds, in our own mini-moments? Were you there? Maybe you saw him in Auckland, New Zealand - the show he played before Bangkok.
"The David Bowie Serious Moonlight Tour was thus far Bowie's longest, largest and most successful concert tour. The tour opened at the Vorst Forest Nationaal, Brussels, on 18 May 1983 and ended in the Hong Kong Coliseum on 8 December 1983; 15 countries visited, 96 performances, and over 2.6M tickets sold. The tour garnered mostly favorable reviews from the press.

"The tour, designed to support Bowie's latest album Let's Dance, was initially designed to be a smaller tour, playing to the likes of sub-10,000-seat indoor venues around the world, similar to previous Bowie tours. However, the success of Let's Dance caused unexpectedly high demand for tickets: there were 250,000 requests for 44,000 tickets at one show, for example, and as a result the tour was changed to instead play in a variety of larger outdoor and festival-style venues. The tour sold out at every venue it played.

"The tour was a high point of commercial success for Bowie, who found his new popularity perplexing. Bowie would later remark that with the success of Let's Dance and the Serious Moonlight Tour, he had lost track of who his fans were or what they wanted. One critic would later call this tour his "most accessible" because "it had few props and one costume change, from peach suit to blue."

Thanks, Wiki. It is what I remember he looked like. White hair. Peachy white suit.

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