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David Bowie had real affinity with Ireland – he learned Irish phrases & screamed ‘Tiocfaidh Ar La’ at iconic Dublin gig


MUSIC icon David Bowie loved Irish fans because of the way they express themselves, his former guitarist has revealed on the anniversary of his death.

And Dubliner Gerry Leonard told how the iconic superstar screamed out ‘Tiocfaidh Ar La’ during one of his two famous sell-out shows at the old Point Theatre.

Music icon David Bowie had a real affinity with Ireland and loved his Irish fans


Music icon David Bowie had a real affinity with Ireland and loved his Irish fansCredit: AFP – Getty
Gerry Leonard worked with Bowie on three of his albums and played on his last two world tours


Gerry Leonard worked with Bowie on three of his albums and played on his last two world tours
Bowie died from cancer in 2016 aged 69


Bowie died from cancer in 2016 aged 69

The spectacular concerts, in November 2003, formed part of his Reality Tour, which would turn out to be his final world tour, and were released on DVD and CD.

Gerry, who worked with the rock legend on three of his albums and his last two world tours, says the Heroes singer loved coming to Ireland.

Recalling the two Point shows, Gerry, who will fly into Ireland this week to perform at the eighth Dublin Bowie Festival, told The Irish Sun: “David had this real affinity with Ireland, he loved the people and he loved coming over.

“He thought Irish ­audiences were among the best in the world. He loved the way Irish fans expressed themselves.

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“That’s why he wanted to record the shows in Dublin from the ­Reality Tour. There’s no other place he wanted to record.

“He asked me for some Irish phrases and I gave him a few. We opened with Rebel Rebel and right after it he shouts out ‘Tiocfaidh Ar La’, which you can hear very clearly.

“I kind of thought, ‘oh no, mightn’t go down too well with some people’. But it was David Bowie so no one cared. He was always that little bit cheeky, he loved it.

“They were two unbelievable nights, shows he always looked back on fondly, as did I because they were in Dublin.”

Bowie was due to play the Oxegen festival in the summer of 2004 but the Irish show was one of 14 dates cancelled after the star suffered chest pains on stage in Germany and required emergency heart surgery.

He significantly reduced his music output after this health scare before the shock release of The Next Day in 2013.

Gerry added: “We were booked to play a host of festival dates that summer but they all had to be cancelled. We were very disappointed but his health came first.

“David did so much and achieved so much but I always felt there was this little bit of karma with him. He had a lot of disappointments and this was just another.”


Bowie would have turned 76 on Sunday and the seventh anniversary of his death from cancer aged 69 comes today.

Gerry, originally from Clontarf but based in New York for the past 25 years, started working with Bowie in 2001, performing on the Heathen, Reality and Next Day albums, and Heathen and Reality tours.

He recalled the day he met the star and how devastated he was when he passed away.

Gerry said: “I first met David in a recording studio in New York, we were introduced by a mutual friend.

“He liked my ambient style of playing and said he would like to work with me. We then played with each other for years.


“We both lived in New York so it was the perfect arrangement.

“Looking back now it’s really hard to believe he’s gone. When I was growing up David Bowie was this brilliant, music ­legend, an innovator, an icon.

“You should always assume that someone like David Bowie is never going to die. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be the case. I had no idea he was sick. I was actually in Dublin for the first Bowie Festival when I heard. I was devastated, the whole band were. I really miss him.”

Gerry is one of a host of stars who are flying in for the Dublin Bowie Festival. Various shows and events take place around the city.

Gerry said: “I’m playing the Friday night in Whelan’s, which I can’t wait for it. Then I’m doing a talk and playing at something else on Sunday.

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“It really is a brilliant event and it’s been amazing to be involved in it for the past few years.”

The Festival starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday. All the details of events ­taking place around the city can be found at

The Festival starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday


The Festival starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday


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