Bowie had very rarely performed live after his heart attack on tour in 2004.
David Bowie was at one point contemplating a short tour to support his final album Blackstar before his death, according to the man who designed the artwork for the record.
Designer Jonathan Barnbrook, speaking at an event at London’s V&A museum to mark the late rock icon’s 70th birthday, told the NME that Bowie and he had discussed the possibility of a short, intimate tour to support his 25th studio album at a preview listening session in the summer of 2015 – when Bowie was still optimistic about beating his cancer.
“I asked him as I always did, 'are you going to do a tour?' The first he said, which was ridiculous was 'I'm not much of a performer, you know?'”, Barnbrook said.
Bowie was at one point contemplating a tour for 'Blackstar'
“I said, 'I beg to differ, David! But this album is quite intimate - you could do a few small shows' - then he said, 'Oh, maybe I could'. So you never know - maybe he was going to do something with Blackstar.”
He also tried to engage Bowie about the meanings behind some of the songs, but Barnbrook said that the singer preferred to keep them mysterious. “He very much kept away from the absolute definition of things. He wasn’t interested in explaining songs directly. I didn’t know he was ill when I met him that June. He was so full of energy and so positive.”
Since his passing, fans have discovered some secrets hidden within the artwork for Blackstar – such as the black star on the front cover of the vinyl edition changing colour if left in direct sunlight.
Speaking about this, Barnbrook said that Bowie had not actually asked him to put those secrets there. “No, he didn’t – he didn’t know about some of them,” he confirmed.
During Francis Whately’s recently broadcast documentary ‘The Last Five Years’, aired on BBC2 on January 7th to mark Bowie’s 70th birthday and the first anniversary of his passing, director Johan Renck revealed that Bowie’s liver cancer was confirmed as terminal shortly before they collaborated on the video for ‘Lazarus’.
Bowie all but retired from performing live after he suffered a heart attack in Germany in 2004, halfway through the Reality tour. However, he did make a small handful of guest appearances for the benefit of the likes of Arcade Fire and Alicia Keys.
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