Rehearsal: Madison Square Garden, New York

David Bowie rehearsed for a concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden on 7 January 1997.

The show took place two days later. Billed as ‘David Bowie And Friends: A Very Special Concert’, he shared the stage with Foo Fighters, The Cure’s Robert Smith, Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, Pixies’ Frank Black, Sonic Youth, and Lou Reed. The support act was Placebo.

My job was to teach all of the guests the songs, or make sure that they knew the songs, or at least make sure they knew what songs they were expected to know when they showed up. So I had been in touch with everybody. Robert Smith and I were faxing back and forth and calling, and he was sending me chord diagrams for ‘The Last Thing You Should Do’ and ‘Quicksand’ because he wanted to make sure he had the chord voicings correct.

We had two days of runthrough rehearsals. Robert Smith was the last one that I actually got together with. It was pretty obvious he had done his homework.

The only thing that was odd to me was that Billy Corgan couldn’t make it for the run-throughs. He did show up for sound-check on the day of show, but the night before, his guy called me and he wanted to know if we could change the key on ‘All The Young Dudes’. And I was like: ‘Yeah – if we’d talked about it a week earlier.’

Reeves Gabrels
Last updated: 24 November 2023
Live: Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View
Rehearsal: Madison Square Garden, New York
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