David Bowie Ziggy Stardust Tour 1972 and 1973

David Bowie Newcastle City Hall 2 June 1972
Sunderland Top Rank Suite 5 September 1972
Newcastle City Hall 8 June 1973
In celebration of David Bowie’s 65th birthday, I’ve decided to spend the rest of the week recalling my concert experiences of him, which started in 1972 in the Ziggy Starduct era, and will take me to this last Reality tour which I caught in Dublin 2004.
My first experience of David Bowie in concert was at Newcastle City Hall on 2nd June 1972. I’d heard the new single Starman on the radio, and decided to go along and see what all the fuss was about. There was a lot of chat in the music press at the time about Bowie knocking T Rex and Marc Bolan off the top. So I wandered along to the City Hall and paid the princely sum of 40p entrance at the door for a seat toward the back of the stalls. The hall was by no means full, as I recall; the support act was a folk band called The JSD Band. I’d heard the Hunky Dory lp, and of course knew the Space Oddity single, but a lot of Bowie’s material was still unfamiliar to me. Although this tour is often refereed to as the Ziggy Stardust tour, the Ziggy lp was not yet released. In fact it came out a few days after the Newcastle gig on 6 June 1972. Bowie was great, wearing the full make up and Ziggy gear, as on Top of the Pops a month later when Starman hit the charts.
During early 1972 the setlist was something like: Hang On to Yourself; Ziggy Stardust; The Supermen; Queen Bitch; Song for Bob Dylan; Changes; Starman; Five Years; Amsterdam; Andy Warhol; Moonage Daydream; White Light/White Heat; Suffragette City; Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
Bowie was back in the north east a few months later, at Sunderland Top Rank on 5 September 1972. Although Starman had been a hit, he was still by no means a massive star, to the extent that the gig was, as I remember, pretty poorly attended. The thing I remember about this gig was that, surprisingly at the time, David performed the show without any make up or costume at all. I am pretty sure that he wore a leather jacket and a pair of jeans. I can also vividly recall a few encores including definitely White Light White Heat and (I think) Waiting for the Man. Pretty sure my mate Gilly and I missed the last bus and walked home after the gig, getting back very early in the morning, which wasn’t good as we we at school the next day.
Aladdin Sane was released on 13 April 1973, and by this time the demand for tickets was huge, to the extent that Bowie played a couple of shows on the same night at Newcastle City Hall. The setlist had developed to include songs from Aladdin Sane and was something like: Hang On to Yourself; Ziggy Stardust; Watch That Man; Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud; All the Young Dudes; Oh! You Pretty Things; Moonage Daydream; Changes; Space Oddity; The Jean Genie; Time; The Width of a Circle; Let’s Spend the Night Together; Suffragette City; White Light/White Heat; Round and Round. The production had also developed since he previous year. Bowie was wearing dresses and having several costume changes, and was accompanied by a mime artist. This tour culminated in a show at Hammersmith at which Ziggy announced his retirement. At the time I thought I’d seen David Bowie for the last time.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. I was in the front row of the balcony, A22. £1.50 as well. He only played 1 night but the original 7.30 show was put back till 8pm and an extra show was pushed in at 6pm. the gig was briefly cancelled a week or 2 earlier in favour of a leeds gig. the evening chronicle quoted ‘bowie on off concert on after all’. i still call it the aladin sane tour.

    Reply

  2. Posted by vintagerock on October 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Aha Your memory is better than mine. I’ll edit my post accordingly. Now that you remind me I remember everyone coming out of the early show as we were waiting to go in.

    Reply

  3. i’ll get a copy of the evening chronicle quote to you.

    Reply

  4. i’ve got the article from the chronicle. email me and i’ll send it. stuandsimone@blueyonder.co.uk

    Reply

  5. Posted by brian Gibson on January 29, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Best Gig i ever saw june 1972

    Reply

  6. Fantastic blog and stories, Similar memories of the Leeds gig – awesome and life defining! http://loudhailer.net/letters-from-starman/

    Reply

  7. My long term memory kicking into gear .. I am sure Bowie and spider performed Cream’s I feel Free at the 72 city hall gig with strobe lighting whilst bowie went off stage for a costume change . On the 73 gig during Jean Genie whilst playing harmonica he went into The Beatles Love me do .

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on June 9, 2015 at 5:30 am

      Hi Brian Yes I think you are correct about them playing “I Feel Free” I don’t recall “Love Me Do” but that is also very likely Happy days Peter

      Reply

  8. Posted by noname on September 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Interesting. I remember, I think, the price was 60p for the ticket. Let me throw in a few memorybites & see if anyone makes a connection: Ziggy LP: US import [flexidisc] £3.15 when all LPs were about £2.50 at that time. Collingwood Buildings & a school in Fenham. Oh, & `St Moritz`. Ring any bells? …G.

    Reply

  9. Posted by martin Carrell on January 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Was at the Sunderland gig and you are correct he wore jeans, no costume. The Spiders as I recall wore white face makeup. It wasnt full as you say.

    Reply

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