A David Bowie superfan whose dedication was immortalised by an Evening Post photographer has spoken of her shock at his death.
Sixteen-year-old Vivien Gyte from Manchester was snapped waiting for hours on the steps of Preston Guild Hall to see the star when he performed at the venue on January 9, 1973.
Having left school the previous summer, she worked three jobs so she could afford to follow him on tour around the country, managing 22 dates in a year with a friend.
“We had tickets to the gig but they were just to get in, we didn’t have seat numbers”, said Vivien, now 59.
“My friend was at work, so I said I’d go up early and make sure I was at the front of the queue, so we could be on the front row.”
Dressed in only a blouse and skirt despite the wintry conditions, she was noticed at mid morning by the secretary of the Guild Hall manager.
My friend was at work, so I said I’d go up early and make sure I was at the front of the queue, so we could be on the front row.Vivien Gyte
Speaking from her Stockport home yesterday, Vivien said: “I was told that I could sit in the office and they’d give me tea and biscuits and reserve me two seats on the front row if they could get the local paper in for some publicity. I thought it was a fair enough exchange.
“They were fantastic seats on the front row – we saw everything and had a great time. All of his performances were great, though, and this one I remember was supported by Stealers Wheel. We didn’t get to meet him afterwards, but did later on at Stoke-on-Trent.”
Vivien first saw Bowie perform when she was 13, when he was bottom of the bill supporting the band Humble Pie.
She said: “He came on the stage and sat on a stool to sing. There was just something about him that appealed to me.
“He said what he wanted and did what he wanted, and that gave me a lot of confidence. I also made a lot of pen pals across the county I still keep in touch with today.”
Vivien, who cares for her mother and bought Bowie’s latest album on Saturday, was alerted to the news yesterday morning by her brother.
She said: “It’s been a shock to everyone and shows how good the people were around him that nothing came out about his illness.”
Paul Edmondson, 62, from Fulwood (below) was at the David Bowie concert at the Guild Hall in 1973 too.
He said: “I was a huge follower of Bowie and had a bit of an Aladdin’s cave of his memorabilia. The Guild Hall hadn’t long opened and then suddenly David Bowie was playing in Preston. It was quite remarkably really. I was a big fan and I went along with a mate to sit near the front. There were no rules on how loud concerts could be then and I remember my ears ringing because it was so loud.
“I was about 20 at the time and he was such a talented performer. No-one dressed like him, no-one did songs like him, he was different - one of a kind.”
When I heard he had passed away I really was quite sad. He was arock god and will be remembered up there with Elvis Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Sixty-nine is no age for someone who was such an influence. I’ll definitely be giving his albums another another listen tonight and for a long time.