Ziggy Stardust Tour

Ziggy Stardust Tour
Tour by David Bowie
David-Bowie Early.jpg
Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust Tour
Associated albumHunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars & Aladdin Sane
Start date29 January 1972
End date3 July 1973
No. of shows191 (196 scheduled)
David Bowie concert chronology

The Ziggy Stardust Tour was a concert tour by David Bowie during 1972–73, to promote the studio albums Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Aladdin Sane. Bowie was accompanied by his backing group, the Spiders from Mars, and integrated choreography, costumes and make-up into the live shows to make them a wider entertainment package. The tour generated significant press coverage, drawing positive reviews and launching Bowie to stardom.

The tour covered the UK, the US and Japan. It moved from small pub and club gigs at the beginning, to highly publicised sold-out shows at the end. At the tour's last gig at the Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973, Bowie shocked fans by announcing that it was the last show he would do with the Spiders from Mars.


The tour lasted a year and a half and included three legs in the UK, two in the US and one in Japan.[1]


The first show was on 29 January 1972 at the Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury, and featured Bowie with his backing group the Spiders from Mars: guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey.[2] Audio engineer Robin Mayhew had started working on the PA and sound equipment since the end of the previous year, and was the principal sound engineer for the entire tour.[3]

Unlike typical rock concerts at the time, the shows featured a theatrical element with a rough storyline, and several make-up and costume changes.[4] Bowie wanted the shows to be entertainment and to be outrageous, which the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had been at one time, and collaborated with mime artist Lindsay Kemp with the on-stage choreography.[5] Looking for a change of image, Bowie asked local hairdresser Suzi Fussey to cut his long blond hair, later dyeing it red.[6][7] Some group members were unsure about the stage clothes Bowie asked them to wear, but quickly changed their minds after they realised the attention it gave them with female fans.[8]

The second show was at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth on 10 February, where Bowie unveiled his "Ziggy Stardust" persona for the first time in front of an audience of around 60.[9][10] Early shows had a similar attendance, but this increased as the tour progressed. The 20 April show at the Manchester Free Trade Hall was only attended by a few hundred people, but at the end of the show, Bowie was carried out into the audience by fans.[11] At the 17 June show at Oxford Town Hall, Bowie simulated fellatio on Ronson's guitar. The scene was photographed by Mick Rock and was published on the front cover of Melody Maker, greatly raising Bowie's profile in the UK.[12] The 15 July show at the Friars Aylesbury included several US music journalists in the audience, including Dave Marsh and Lillian Roxon. Bowie's management spent $25,000 to fly them, along with US representatives of their record label RCA Records, to preview his live work before starting a major US tour that autumn.[13][8]

After several months on the road, Bowie took a break to revisit and re-rehearse the live show, to include greater theatrics and costume changes.[13][14] Rehearsals took place at the Stratford Royal Theatre.[15] The first concert after this was at the Rainbow Theatre on 19 August, where Bowie was simply billed as "Ziggy Stardust".[14] A second show was added for the following day after the first one sold out.[13] Pianist Nicky Graham was added to the band line-up for these shows.[16]

The first leg of the US opened in September 1972. Bowie travelled to the US by boat as he did not like flying.[17] Bowie and the Spiders from Mars played their first US show in the Cleveland Music Hall on 22 September. It was also pianist Mike Garson's debut. Six days later, Bowie played a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall. The concerts drew rave reviews from the press and led to the tour being extended for a further two months.[18] A concert on 20 October at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was broadcast on radio, and heavily bootlegged before finally being released in 1994.[19] The press coverage of the tour turned Bowie into a star in the US and he was featured on the front cover of Rolling Stone.[20]

The year ended with a short UK leg, which carried over into the start of 1973. Bowie played two shows at the Rainbow just before Christmas, and asked the audience to bring toys along to the concert that could be redistributed to children. The mid-show acoustic set that had been part of all the gigs until then was discarded, and Bowie with the Spiders played just an electric set.[21]


At the start of 1973, Bowie called his friend Geoffrey MacCormack, saying he wanted to expand the musical line-up on stage, and asked if he would be a backing vocalist and travel with him.[22] Another friend, John Hutchinson was recruited as an additional rhythm guitarist; the pair had previously collaborated on the demo of "Space Oddity".[23]

The second US leg began in early 1973 with a sell-out show at the Radio City Music Hall, New York, on 14 February, which saw fans queuing at 2:30 pm for an evening show.[24] Bowie's costumes were designed by Kansai Yamamoto. During the end of set, he collapsed and had to be assisted.[25] The tour subsequently moved to Japan.[26] Bowie then travelled by ferry across the Sea of Japan to Vladivostok, and travelled on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow in order to get back to Britain.[22][27] During this time, the Spiders from Mars complained they were still on the same wages as when they had started playing with Bowie despite multiple sold-out shows. They re-negotiated their fees with Bowie's manager Tony Defries, but this caused a rift in the band.[28]

The final leg of the tour covered the UK and began on 12 May 1973 with a concert at Earls Court Exhibition Centre in front of an audience of 18,000. Police forced the show to stop for 15 minutes while they battled with fans trying to storm the stage. Mick and Bianca Jagger attended the show.[29] The concert was fraught with technical difficulties and an inadequate PA system, leading to disgruntled fans.[30]

The last performance was at the Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July and was filmed by D. A. Pennebaker.[31] Woodmansey recalled the show was one of the best the band had played, because it was close to their London base and almost the end of an exhausting tour.[32] Towards the end of the show, Bowie announced "not only is it the last show of the tour, but it's the last show that we'll ever do".[1][33] Ronson had been told in advance by Bowie that the Spiders from Mars would split, but the announcement took Bolder and Woodmansey by surprise.[28]



The Spiders from Mars
Other musicians
Other musicians on the 1973 legs
  • John Hutchinson – rhythm guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar
  • Geoffrey A. MacCormack – backing vocals, percussion
  • Ken Fordham – saxophone[2]
  • Brian Wilshaw – saxophone, flute[2]

Tour dates

Date City Country Venue
29 January 1972 Aylesbury England Borough Assembly Hall
10 February 1972 London Tolworth, Toby Jug
11 February 1972 Wycombe Wycombe Town Hall
12 February 1972 London Imperial College London
14 February 1972 Brighton Brighton Dome
18 February 1972 Sheffield University Rag
23 February 1972 Chichester Chichester College
24 February 1972 London Wallington, Public Hall
25 February 1972 Eltham, Avery Hill College
26 February 1972 Sutton Coldfield Belfry Hotel
28 February 1972 Glasgow Scotland Glasgow City Halls
29 February 1972 Sunderland England Locarno Ballroom
1 March 1972 Bristol Bristol University
4 March 1972 Portsmouth South Parade Pier, Southsea
7 March 1972 Yeovil Yeovil College
11 March 1972 Southampton Southampton Guildhall
14 March 1972 Bournemouth Chelsea Village
18 March 1972 Birmingham Birmingham Town Hall
24 March 1972 Newcastle upon Tyne Mayfair Ballroom
17 April 1972 Gravesend New Lord's Club
20 April 1972 Harlow The Playhouse
21 April 1972 Manchester Free Trade Hall
29 April 1972 High Wycombe Wycombe Town Hall
30 April 1972 Plymouth Plymouth Guildhall
3 May 1972 Aberystwyth Wales Aberystwyth University
6 May 1972 London England Kingston Polytechnic
7 May 1972 Hemel Hempstead Pavilion
11 May 1972 Worthing Worthing Assembly Hall
12 May 1972 London Polytechnic of Central London
13 May 1972 Slough Slough Technical College
16 May 1972 London Unknown venue
19 May 1972 Oxford Oxford Polytechnic
20 May 1972
25 May 1972 Bournemouth Chelsea Village
27 May 1972 Epsom Ebbisham
2 June 1972 Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle City Hall
3 June 1972 Liverpool Liverpool Stadium
4 June 1972 Preston Preston Public Hall
6 June 1972 Bradford St George's Hall
7 June 1972 Sheffield Sheffield City Hall
8 June 1972 Middlesbrough Middlesbrough Town Hall
10 June 1972 Leicester Leicester Polytechnic
13 June 1972 Bristol Colston Hall
16 June 1972 Torquay Torquay Town Hall
17 June 1972 Oxford Oxford Town Hall
19 June 1972 Southampton Southampton Guildhall
21 June 1972 Dunstable Dunstable Civic Hall
24 June 1972 Guildford Guildford Civic Hall
25 June 1972 Croydon Greyhound
30 June 1972 High Wycombe Royal Grammar School
1 July 1972 Weston-super-Mare Winter Gardens Pavilion
2 July 1972 Torquay Rainbow Pavilion
8 July 1972 London Royal Festival Hall
14 July 1972 King's Cross Cinema
15 July 1972 Aylesbury Friar´s Club
19 August 1972 London Rainbow Theatre
20 August 1972
27 August 1972 Bristol Locarno Electric Village
30 August 1972 London Rainbow Theatre
31 August 1972 Boscombe Royal Ballroom
1 September 1972 Doncaster Top Rank Suite
2 September 1972 Manchester Hard Rock
3 September 1972
4 September 1972 Liverpool Top Rank Suite
5 September 1972 Sunderland Top Rank Suite
6 September 1972 Sheffield Top Rank Suite
7 September 1972 Hanley Top Rank Suite
North America
22 September 1972 Cleveland United States Cleveland Music Hall
24 September 1972 Memphis Ellis Auditorium
28 September 1972 New York City Carnegie Hall
1 October 1972 Boston Boston Music Hall1
7 October 1972 Chicago Auditorium Theatre
8 October 1972 Detroit Fisher Theater
10 October 1972 St. Louis Kiel Auditorium
11 October 1972
15 October 1972 Kansas City Memorial Hall
20 October 1972 Santa Monica Santa Monica Civic Auditorium2
21 October 1972
27 October 1972 San Francisco Winterland Ballroom
28 October 1972
31 October 1972 Seattle Paramount Theatre
1 November 1972
4 November 1972 Phoenix Celebrity Theatre
5 November 1972
11 November 1972 Dallas Majestic Theater
12 November 1972 Houston Houston Music Hall
14 November 1972 New Orleans Loyola University
17 November 1972 Dania Pirates World
20 November 1972 Nashville Nashville Municipal Auditorium
22 November 1972 New Orleans The Warehouse
25 November 1972 Cleveland Public Auditorium3
26 November 1972
28 November 1972 Pittsburgh Stanley Theatre
30 November 1972 Upper Darby Tower Theater
1 December 1972
2 December 1972
23 December 1972 London England Rainbow Theatre
24 December 1972
28 December 1972 Manchester Hard Rock
29 December 1972
5 January 1973 Glasgow Scotland Green's Playhouse
6 January 1973 Edinburgh Empire Theatre
7 January 1973 Newcastle upon Tyne England Newcastle City Hall
9 January 1973 Preston Guild Hall
North America
14 February 1973 New York City United States Radio City Music Hall
15 February 1973
16 February 1973 Upper Darby Tower Theater
17 February 1973
2 shows
18 February 1973
2 shows
19 February 1973
2 shows
23 February 1973 Nashville War Memorial Auditorium
26 February 1973
2 shows
Memphis Ellis Auditorium
1 March 1973 Detroit Detroit Masonic Temple
2 March 1973
10 March 1973 Long Beach Long Beach Arena
12 March 1973 West Hollywood Hollywood Palladium
8 April 1973 Tokyo Japan Shinjuku Koseinenkin Kaikan
10 April 1973
11 April 1973
12 April 1973 Nagoya Kokaido
14 April 1973 Hiroshima Yubin Chokin Kaikan
16 April 1973 Kobe Kobe Kokusai Kaikan
17 April 1973 Osaka Koseinenkin Kaikan
18 April 1973 Tokyo Shibuya Kokaido
20 April 1973
12 May 1973 London England Earl's Court
16 May 1973 Aberdeen Scotland Aberdeen Music Hall
17 May 1973 Dundee Caird Hall
18 May 1973
2 shows
Glasgow Green's Playhouse
19 May 1973 Edinburgh Empire Theatre
21 May 1973
2 shows
Norwich England Theatre Royal
22 May 1973 Romford Odeon Theatre
23 May 1973 Brighton Brighton Dome
24 May 1973 Lewisham Lewisham Odeon
25 May 1973 Bournemouth Bournemouth Winter Gardens
27 May 1973
2 shows
Guildford Guildford Civic Hall
28 May 1973 Wolverhampton Wolverhampton Civic Hall
29 May 1973 Hanley Victoria Hall
30 May 1973 Oxford New Theatre Oxford
31 May 1973 Blackburn King George's Hall
1 June 1973 Bradford St George's Hall
2 June 1973 Leeds University of Leeds
3 June 1973 Coventry New Theatre Coventry
4 June 1973 Worcester Gaumont Theatre
6 June 1973
2 shows
Sheffield Sheffield City Hall
7 June 1973
2 shows
Manchester Free Trade Hall
8 June 1973
2 shows
Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle City Hall
9 June 1973 Preston Preston Guild Hall
10 June 1973
2 shows
Liverpool Liverpool Empire Theatre
11 June 1973 Leicester De Montfort Hall
12 June 1973
2 shows
Chatham Central Hall
13 June 1973 Kilburn Gaumont Theatre
14 June 1973 Salisbury Salisbury City Hall
15 June 1973
2 shows
Taunton Taunton Odeon
16 June 1973
2 shows
Torquay Torquay Town Hall
18 June 1973
2 shows
Bristol Colston Hall
19 June 1973 Southampton Southampton Guildhall
21 June 1973
2 shows
Birmingham Birmingham Town Hall
22 June 1973
2 shows
23 June 1973 Boston Gliderdrome
24 June 1973
2 shows
Croydon Fairfield Halls
25 June 1973
2 shows
Oxford New Theatre Oxford
26 June 1973
27 June 1973 Doncaster Top Rank Suite
28 June 1973 Bridlington Spa Ballroom
29 June 1973 Leeds Rolarena
30 June 1973
2 shows
Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle City Hall
2 July 1973 London Hammersmith Odeon4
3 July 1973
1972 tour dates Source: BowieWonderWorld.com
1973 tour dates Source: BowieWonderWorld.com


Bowie varied his setlist throughout the tour. A setlist from the tour would include any of the following songs:[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b Auslander, Philip (2013). Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time. Ashgate. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-409-49354-9.
  2. ^ a b c "Bowie at Earl's Court 45 Years Ago". davidbowie.com. 12 May 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Ambition". Robin Mayhew. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  4. ^ The History of Live Music in Britain, Volume II, 1968-1984: From Hyde Park to the Hacienda. Routledge. 2019. p. 339. ISBN 978-1-317-02883-3.
  5. ^ Charlesworth & Charlesworth 2013, pp. 31,38.
  6. ^ Leigh 2016, p. 114.
  7. ^ "David Bowie: his style story, 1972-1973". The Guardian. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Ziggy Stardust revealed to the world - Friars Aylesbury 1972". Friars Aylesbury. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  9. ^ Woodmansey 2016, p. 300.
  10. ^ "Plan B: The town that fell to Earth". The Planner. Royal Town Planning Institute. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Memories Of Ziggy Live, 30 Years Ago Today!". davidbowie.com. 21 April 2002. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  12. ^ Leigh 2016, pp. 114-115.
  13. ^ a b c Woodmansey 2016, p. 145.
  14. ^ a b Charlesworth & Charlesworth 2013, p. 38.
  15. ^ Woodmansey 2016, p. 147.
  16. ^ a b Woodmansey 2016, p. 128.
  17. ^ Leigh 2016, p. 121.
  18. ^ Lifton, Dave (22 September 2015). "When David Bowie launched his US "Ziggy Startdust" tour". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  19. ^ Ziggy Stardust Tour at AllMusic
  20. ^ Leigh 2016, p. 127.
  21. ^ "Bowie at the Rainbow - 45 years ago tonight". davidbowie.com. 24 December 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  22. ^ a b "'How happy he was': candid David Bowie photographs by his childhood friend". The guardian. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  23. ^ "Spider From Mars John Hutchison on the 50th-anniversary edition of Space Oddity and The Mercury Demos". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Inside Track". Billboard. 24 February 1973. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  25. ^ Eoin Devereux; Aileen Dillane; Martin Power, eds. (2015). David Bowie: Critical Perspectives. Routledge. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-317-75449-7.
  26. ^ "Kansai Yamamoto on designing for David Bowie in 1973". Fashion Telegraph. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  27. ^ Eden, Caroline (31 July 2018). "Bowie, Buddhists and sunken cities: 10 things you didn't know about the Trans-Siberian Railway". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  28. ^ a b Swanson, Dave (25 June 2012). "Original Spider from Mars talks about split with Bowie". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  29. ^ Leigh 2016, p. 131.
  30. ^ Kent, Nick (19 May 1973). "Aladdin Distress". New Musical Express.
  31. ^ "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars". phfilms.com. Pennebaker Hegedus Films. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  32. ^ Woodmansey 2016, p. 217.
  33. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 10 Best David Bowie Deep Cuts". Rolling Stone. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  34. ^ Woodmansey 2016, p. 155.
  35. ^ Thompson, Dave (2006). Hallo Spaceboy: The Rebirth of David Bowie. Ecw Press. p. 59. ISBN 9781554902712.


  • Charlesworth, Mike; Charlesworth, Chris (2013). David Bowie Black Book. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-783-23026-6.
  • Leigh, Wendy (2016). Bowie: The Biography. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-476-76709-3.
  • Woodmansey, Mick (2016). Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-283-07274-1.

External links

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