Leeds David Bowie superfan pays tribute following star’s death

Ian De-Whytell of Crash Records has paid tribute to star David Bowie following his death at the age of 69.
Ian De-Whytell of Crash Records has paid tribute to star David Bowie following his death at the age of 69.
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A record store owner who saw David Bowie live more than forty times has paid tribute to the musician following his death - and said that his dream was to one day see him perform at Leeds Arena.

Ian De-Whytell, 58, who owns Crash Records on the Headrow, said that he can’t imagine a world without Bowie.

Bowie died on Sunday in New York, and is being mourned by fans all over the world. Photo : PA Wire

Bowie died on Sunday in New York, and is being mourned by fans all over the world. Photo : PA Wire

He said: “When he performed, he just had an incredible aura. It was almost like he was an alien being.

“I just never thought he was human. You can’t imagine him doing human things like the rest of us, like eating breakfast.

“You didn’t think about stuff like mortality with people like that.”

Bowie died on Sunday in New York after an 18 month battle with cancer.

Mr De-Whytell, 58, said that in hindsight, he thinks Bowie’s album Blackstar, which was released on Friday, was a goodbye to his fans.

He said: “He kept his illness very private, and when he released Blackstar I was still clinging to the hope that he might do some live dates.

“When I listened to the album before the weekend, the lyrics were interesting, but now they are poignant.”

One of the album’s songs, Lazarus, has the lyrics: “Look up here, I’m in heaven.”

Mr De-Whytell said he became a fan of Bowie more than 45 years ago. He said: “Like so many other people, I became a fan after seeing his performance of Starman on Top of the Pops in 1972.

“He was my first ever gig in 1973 on Kirkstall Road, and it just stuck.”

The 1973 gig, rescheduled to take place at the old Rolerena after Bowie said the stage at Leeds University was “too small”, was his penultimate show performing as Ziggy Stardust.

In 2014, Mr De-Whytell said of the gig: “I think I walked out of that gig with my mouth wide open, it just blew me away. It was amazing, I had never seen anything like it before.

“I felt as if I was in the presence of something unique, someone head and shoulders above anyone else in terms of talent.”

Mr De-Whytell also saw Bowie when he played at Leeds Town and Country Club in 1997. He said: “My two favourite gigs I saw were the Leeds ones, and it was great to see him back in 1997.

“It was my dream that one day he would play Leeds Arena but that will never happen now.”

When asked how he will remember Bowie, Mr De-Whytell simply said: “The people who have been lucky enough to have seen him live have their memories and the music. We will have them forever.”