This is David Blair performing “While I Was Away” on the evening of February 11, 2011.
People who had seen him do this piece several times told me it was the best performance he ever gave.
Some back story: This day was, by all accounts, the coldest of the year in Detroit. We had spent most of the morning filming him for “Lemonade: Detroit,” outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. Me and the rest of the crew could barely stand to keep our gloves off for more than 30 seconds. But Blair soldiered on, delivering impeccable performance after impeccable performance — 10 takes in the knee deep snow at Belle Isle.
Just a few months later on July 23rd, Blair would pass away unexpectedly. Ironically, from heat stroke.
I am so thankful that we were able to capture a few moments of his genius for the film. He was and will always remain an inspiration to me.
Blair, I didn’t get to know you very well. But I love you. And miss you.