Mark Kelly Beams David Bowie Lines to His Wife, Gabby Giffords

This week, U2’s 360° Tour hit the west coast of the US, stop­ping first in Seat­tle, then Oak­land and next Ana­heim. Though crit­ics have offered mixed reviews (this v. that), we had our­selves a ball, hor­ren­dous traf­fic jams aside. And we were par­tic­u­lar­ly touched by one moment with a poignant back­sto­ry.

Dur­ing the show, the audi­ence gets beamed up to Mark Kel­ly, an astro­naut on the space shut­tle Endeav­our, who hap­pens to be mar­ried to Gab­by Gif­fords, the US rep­re­sen­ta­tive shot this past Jan­u­ary in Ari­zona. To the 70,000 onlook­ers, Kel­ly says “Tell my wife I love her very much she knows” – the same lines deliv­ered by Major Tom, the fic­tion­al astro­naut, made famous by David Bowie’s Space Odd­i­ty: And, with that, U2 breaks into “Beau­ti­ful Day,” the song that served as a wake-up call for the Endeav­our crew, at Gab­by Gif­fords’ per­son­al request. How’s that for a nice touch?

P.S. Yes we know that Endeav­our returned to earth last week. But we have noth­ing against the will­ing sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.