David Bowie and the Baby Boomers
David Bowie died as an old man earlier this week. Reports indicate it was because he lived beyond his youth and middle age.
Let that be a lesson to us all.
Bowie was 24 when he came to Pittsburgh in 1972.
. . . And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations. . .
The poster below was taped to shop windows to announce Bowie’s concert.
It goes way back . . . back before cellphones and the Internet, McMansions and SUVs, before the War on Drugs and even before President Ronald Reagan.
It recalls a freer time for Baby Boomers, the ones often described as “disaffected.” According to the Webster-Meriam dictionary, that means they were dissatisfied with the people in authority and no longer willing to support them.
According to me, they aspired to be creative, but not necessarily productive. They saw value in getting wasted.
The pervasiveness of the drug culture is evident in the poster. The main ticket outlets were headshops/record stores.
Ziggy Stardust in the Burgh
Bowie came as Ziggy Stardust. He would remain so only for another year. Bowie retired his Stardust persona to get away from cocaine and — to extend his life.
The $5 ticket price may seem ridiculously inexpensive, but that was back when performers made their money on record sales not concerts. Concert tours were just a way of selling albums.
That changed in the 1990s as music became downloadable. Bowe’s last concert here in 2004 would have cost you 10 times as much as the first. Tickets prices doubled and tripled again over the next decade.
More interesting is where you took your $5 in 1972 to buy a ticket.