Friday 24 May 2019

David Bowie lived in fear of a sniper attack at Slane concert, Aslan's Christy reveals

Scary monsters: David Bowie during the gig at Slane at which he feared he might be the target of a sniper attack
Scary monsters: David Bowie during the gig at Slane at which he feared he might be the target of a sniper attack

Nick Bramhill

David Bowie was terrified that he was going to be assassinated by a sniper when he played Slane Castle in 1987, it has been revealed.

The superstar singer's fear of being targeted and paranoia about playing in Ireland during the Troubles were recalled by Aslan star Christy Dignam on the 'Six O'Clock Show' on Virgin Media.

The Dublin rock band, fronted by Dignam, were supporting Bowie at the gig at the Co Meath venue that year.

But they were strictly forbidden to go anywhere near Bowie, who died aged 69 in January 2016.

The star had also taken extra measures to protect himself as an English artist playing during the Troubles, according to Dignam.

Bowie, who was in Ireland with his Glass Spider tour, was said to be increasingly concerned about his own safety following the death seven years previously of his close friend John Lennon, who was shot dead outside his home in New York.

Dignam recalled: "At the time Bowie didn't want to meet us, because he was over here as an Englishman in Ireland during the Troubles, and [John] Lennon was after being shot a couple of years before that. He was real paranoid, because when he was going on stage, we were backstage and he went on in a military formation.

"There was about 12 or 16 of them in the band, and they were all dressed in grey boiler suits, so if there was a sniper there they could not have picked out which one was Bowie."

Dignam, who appeared on the 'Six O'Clock Show' alongside bandmate Billy McGuinness, said that following the gig at Slane, their efforts to land Bowie's autograph were unsuccessful.

They were ushered away by two of the star's minders.

But the Aslan pair said that years later they finally got to meet Bowie.

During that encounter, the late singer admitted he had taken extra steps to protect himself during his 1987 visit to Ireland.

Meanwhile, Dignam who has been battling cancer, said he's feeling well since being forced to stop chemotherapy a few weeks ago.

The 58-year-old father of one had to cut short his treatment after doctors discovered the medication had been damaging his heart.

"My heart rate went mad, so they had to stop the chemo," he said.

"But I feel great."

Dignam also said that despite his illness, he is enjoying gigging more than ever.

Aslan will close out 2018 with three sold-out gigs at Dublin's Vicar Street on December 27, 29 and 30.

Irish Independent

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