John Campion, January 14th 2016
One of the biggest breaks in my career happened while working with David Bowie on his 1987 Glass Spider Tour. His show featured an elaborate set – the largest touring set of any rock concert at the time – and I was one of lighting guys and soon to be the electrician in charge.
David was a visionary and his tour illustrated his artistry. The concerts were theatrical, complete with projected videos, intricate lighting designs, stage props and a troupe of dancers. The other crew and I worked long hours and under extreme pressure to produce his vision every night. We loved it.
On the 14th of July in Manchester, England, only 20 minutes away from show time, I came across a melting junction box, which feed all the power to the sound and video systems. I feverishly worked through the problem, splicing wires together and racing against the clock. To add to the pressure, David and his management team were watching the entire time. Fortunately, we have a good ending. The problem was fixed and the show went on.
Shortly after, just before David walked onto stage, he patted me on the back and thanked me for my work. Later that night, I found a hand written note from David. It was the first and only note given to me by a performer.
I learned two valuable lessons that day that I carried with me throughout my career. First, I learned that hard work, particularly under immense pressure, leads to new opportunities. With the support of others in the music industry who had seen my work that night and throughout the tour, I launched Show Power, a company that provided reliable power sources to rock concerts and other large-scale events.
Second, I learned the importance of a "thank you." As a 24-year-old roadie and even more so today, I admire David's willingness to stop and say thank you. I will always admire David for his graciousness and the kind way he treated others.
Like I said, David was a visionary, an artist and also a complete gentleman.
Thank you sir, you will be missed.