In 2003, David Bowie played his last show in Dublin in the venue then known as The Point Theatre.
Wishing to speak to the crowd in Irish at some point during the night, he turned to Dublin man Gerry Leonard, first hired by Bowie as his live guitarist and who was now traveling with the musical icon as his musical director on the “Reality Tour.”
Looking to have a laugh, Leonard’s brother-in-law decided to offer a suggestion that broke from your everyday “Go raibh maith agat, Baile Átha Cliath” (Thank you, Dublin).
And so it came to be that as the closing chords of “Rebel, Rebel” rang through the Point in 2003, one of music’s biggest superstars thanked the Dublin crowd with a cry of “Tiocfaidh ár Lá.”
“Tiocfaidh ár Lá” meaning “Our day will come” is a common Irish republican slogan, a reference to an eventual joining of Northern Ireland and the Republic and the return of a united Ireland.
“We warned David how naughty this might be but he loved that, so it was the first thing he said. The crowd went mental," said Leonard of the stunt.
Unfortunately it was to be his last show in Ireland as a heart attack a few months later (it is now being claimed he had six throughout his lifetime) saw him finishing up his touring career although he did not retire entirely from music.
As it happened, the show in Dublin was also being filmed for a live CD and DVD of the "Reality" tour and so the line “as Gaeilge” came to find its way into the musical collection of Bowie fans worldwide.
Tributes are still pouring in for the British singer who lost his life on Sunday, January 10, after an 18-month battle with cancer.
He released his latest album “Blackstar” just two days before his death on his 69th birthday.
Messages and flowers from fans are piling up outside Bowie's New York apartment where Irish Oscar-winner Glen Hansard also paid his own musical tribute.
U2 front man Bono was among those to pay homage to the man who was among the band's biggest influences.
Planet Earth is blue - Bono pic.twitter.com/p4GVmnuQql— U2 (@U2) January 11, 2016
"What Elvis meant to America, Bowie meant to Britian and Ireland. He was a radical shift on U2’s consciousness," Bono previously told Rolling Stone magazine.
“The first time I saw him was singing "Starman" on television. It was like a creature had fallen from the sky.
“Americans put a man on the moon but we had our own British guy from space. And he had an Irish mother,” he added.
The band even used "Space Oddity" as the song playing over a montage of images as they entered the stage during their 360° tour.
Watch Bono perform "Let's Dance" with Nile Rodgers:
Bowie's proud display of Irish in 2003 wasn’t the last time that Bowie showed a good sense of humor with the Irish people. As part of a 2013 April Fool’s Day prank with RTÉ Radio One’s John Murray show, Gerry Leonard returned to speak of his work with Bowie and made the shocking announcement his plan to represent Germany in the upcoming Eurovision (a cheesy European song contest).
Of course, this was false, but David was happy to play along.
"David was up for the gag immediately. 'Me doing Eurovision. This is supposed to be secret. How did they find out?' He really liked the idea," said Leonard, who played guitar on three of Bowie’s albums and co-wrote songs on his 2013 album “The Next Day.”
The full version of “Rebel, Rebel” (including “Tiocfaidh Ár Lá) can be seen here: