My brother and I went to the Silver City Imax last night to see the David Bowie interactive concert. Not only did Bowie and the band put on a great set, but the man was quite charming and funny during the Q&A that followed. It was quite neat; Bowie and a moderator sat in a studio in New York while audience questions were transmitted from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janiero. There were a few technical glitches, including some bizarre audio looping when Paul, the guy in our Edmonton audience chosen to speak to Bowie, asked his question. Bowie looked a little confused, and no wonder - Paul's voice was echoing back and forth, along with the laughter of our audience when the problem became apparent. Trippy. But he was a trooper and answered the question ("Do you enjoy working in the studio more, or performing live?") with candour.
I couldn't help but ruminate on the phenomenon; fifty thousand people from half a dozen countries, linked via technology in mutual appreciation of a talented artist. I felt something close to elation when I considered the possibilities, tempered by the understanding that such gatherings are almost always motivated by a desire for money. I can't fault Bowie for that - I've always respected his talent, and he doesn't seem to be in it for the cash - but it's still somewhat sobering.
And yet, I can just imagine giant town hall meetings, people from North and South coming together to hash out the inequities between rich and poor, formulating plans to take back this planet from the robber barons and the scoundrels.
One day...one day.