Friday 2 December 2016

'An absolute legend and I love him' - Irish fans gather to 'commiserate and commemorate' the life of their hero David Bowie

Ciara Treacy

Published 11/01/2016 | 20:34

David Bowie in 2009 and (inset) pictured with wife of 24 years, Iman
Musician David Bowie and supermodel Iman attend the DKMS' 5th Annual Gala: Linked Against Leukemia honoring Rihanna & Michael Clinton hosted by Katharina Harf at Cipriani Wall Street on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for DKMS)
David Bowie
British singer David Bowie performs on stage during a concert organized by NRJ radio station at place de la Nation in Paris on September 21, 1991
17th May 1971: English pop star David Bowie with singer Dana Gillespie. (Photo by Michael Stroud/Express/Getty Images)
May 1973: In a black and white horizontally striped jacket with wide lapels glam rock star David Bowie. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
20th October 1973: David Bowie performing in his 'Angel of Death' costume at a live recording for a Midnight Special TV show made at The Marquee Club in London to a specially invited audience of Bowie fanclub members. (Photo by Jack Kay/Express/Getty Images)
March 1965: Brixton born pop singer and songwriter David Jones, who found major success in the 1970's after changing his name to David Bowie, has his hair ruffled by Barry Langford. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of "The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004" at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004 in Newport, UK. The third annual rock festival takes place during the Isle of Wight Festival which runs from June 4-19. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of "The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004" at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004 in Newport, UK. The third annual rock festival takes place during the Isle of Wight Festival which runs from June 4-19. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
Rock music superstar David Bowie (R) and his wife, supermodel Iman smile as they pose for photos after Bowie received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame 12 February in Hollywood, CA. Bowie, whose changing persona has marked him as one of rock music's most dynamic performers over the last three decades, recently released his latest album "Earthlings." (Photo credit should read VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
David Bowie poses at Rules Restaurant after receiving a presentation of six discs from RCA Records to mark the occasion of having six albums in the charts in 1973
Model Iman and musician David Bowie arrive at the Vanity Fair party for the Tribeca Film Festival April 20, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Musician David Bowie (R) and his wife, model Iman (L) arrive for the MTV Video Music Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York on 09 September, 1999
British rock singer David Bowie performs with an acoustic guitar on stage, in costume as 'Ziggy Stardust,' circa 1973. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Irish Bowie fans “commiserated and commemorated” the life of their hero at The Grand Social on Dublin’s Liffey Street tonight.

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The mood at the venue shifted to a more sombre note from less than a day earlier, when its inaugural Dublin Bowie Festival drew to a close.

Fans who had travelled from as far as Lithuania and Poland for the weekend’s events – which included a quiz and live performance from cover band Rebel Rebel – were shocked to hear of the musician’s passing.

“No one could believe it just because we were all here last night on a high and it’s just right down,” John Brereton of The Grand Social told independent.ie.

“People are just in there commiserating and commemorating.”

Mr Brereton decided to organise tonight’s tribute to allow music-lovers to share their stories of the legend, while enjoying some of Bowie’s films and documentaries with live music from Rebel Rebel.

One of Bowie’s guitarists and co-writers, Dublin native Gerry Leonard, briefly stopped by the venue also.

“We’ve bigger plans for next year, and still have, of doing [Dublin Bowie Festival] as a four or five day festival,” said Mr Brereton.

The plan to have the gathering came as welcome news to Gwen Devita, who lives in Dublin 2, as she tried to come to terms with the singer’s death.

“I woke up and this morning and I was just in utter shock, I thought it was a hoax to start and then I saw a few posts on Facebook and then I kind of looked around and found out it was real,” she said.

“I was absolutely devastated. I’ve been upset about it all day long.

“I think he was an absolute star while he was here and he left like a gentleman, which is what he was, an absolute legend and I love him.”

David Bowie performs on the first night of his UK tour at the MEN Arena on November 17, 2003 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
David Bowie performs on the first night of his UK tour at the MEN Arena on November 17, 2003 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Lisa Lavelle from Sligo arrived to the tribute alone but said that Bowie’s music has brought everyone together tonight.

“I came here by myself tonight but I’ve already had loads of people coming up and talking to me and being really friendly,” she said.

“People connect through his music.

“He has always been around throughout my life, he’s so pervasive in pop culture but I only really got into him when I was about 15 or 16.

“He was always very different and he was never afraid to do things his own way and yet he had such mainstream appeal and everybody loves him so much.

“I didn’t expect it at all and with the new album and everything, when I saw all the David Bowie stuff popping up I thought it was just about that but I was absolutely gutted.”

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