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Aladdin Sane in America

February 1973


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Songs performed: Space Oddity, The Width of A Circle, The Supermen, Changes, Five Years, Soul Love, Moonage Daydream, Hang Onto Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Rock n Roll Suicide, John, I'm Only Dancing, Watch That Man, Aladdin Sane, Drive-In Saturday, Panic in Detroit, Cracked Actor, Time, The Prettiest Star, & The Jean Genie.

Other artists songs: My Death (Jacques Brel) & Lets Spend the Night Together (Jagger-Richards)

Set lists: Songs from Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust made up three quarters of the set now. Bowie played all but one song (Lady Grinning Soul) from the Aladdin Sane album on this tour. There was no typical setlist for this tour with Bowie experimenting and changing with different line-ups.

Support musicians: Jazz pianist Mike Garson re-joins the Ziggy Stardust entourage. In addition the musicians Brian Wilshaw and Ken Fordham - on saxophone, Geoffrey MacCormack as back-up vocalist and John Hutchinson on rhythm guitar are added to the band. The cities for this tour were those where Bowie had done best in his last tour of the US.

Feb-6-12th 1973

Studio: RCA Studios, New York. Rehearsals start and finish.

Feb-13th 1973

Concert Hall: Radio City Music Hall, New York. Rehearsal.

Feb-14th 1973 (St. Valentines Day)

KEY CONCERT: Radio City Music Hall, New York. This is Bowie's big breakthrough in the US. The show was becoming even more outrageous with many new costume changes and more bizarre make-up. Both shows are a sell-out of 6,200 people each. Attending celebrities include Truman Capote, Salvador Dali (a fan who has attended other Bowie performances), Johnny Winter and Todd Rundgren. Bowie faints on stage after a fan leaps on the stage during "Rock n Roll Suicide" and embraces him. He is diagnosed by an attending nurse as suffering from exhaustion (blocked pores from the makeup is also blamed) and sleeps 12 hours straight the next day. Rumours suggest that gunshots rang out before Bowie collapsed but audience tapes do not support this fanciful theory.

"The giant auditorium was filled with Walter Carlos' recorded cybernetic music from Clockwork Orange, as several layers of curtains parted to reveal a giant screen on which was projected an animated film of the cosmos rushing at light speed at the viewer.  A single spotlight opened up on a set of large concentric spheres welded into a cage and suspended 50 feet above the floor of the stage, in the middle of which was standing a stern and staring Bowie clad in a black silver silk garment, the first of what would be five different costumes that night.  It was truly an amazing sight: Bowie the noted acrophobe, who won't fly in planes or ascend above a certain level in buildings, coolly gazing at his adoring fans, while his band, The Spiders From Mars, augmented by six additional musicians on horns and percussion, cranked into "Hang Onto Yourself"....  At times Bowie acted out his role as a straight pop singer, a sort of hyperthyroid Anthony Newley; at others he would change into a progressively more skimpy costume and whip his arse around, a campy gamine leg-throw here, a cute barefoot pirouette there.  Those songs dealing with Bowie's starkly paranoid themes of rock-star death, impending planetary doom and coming suicide were treated as little theater pieces, playlets recited and acted rather than sung and played."  - Stephen Davis - Rolling Stone Magazine.

"I attended the Feb 14, 1973 Bowie Show at Radio Music Hall. I couldn't sit still, it was amazing. The intro with David being lowered onto the stage and the band & equipment being raised from below the stage, the giant screen showing stars shooting through space being raised and then it was truly Hang on to Yourself.
About three-quarters the way through the concert I told my girlfriend that I had to try to get onstage, so I made it to the right of the stage, the same side as the horns were. I jumped onto the stage and ran behind the horns. There was a stagehand carrying a clip board there so I stood beside him. At times David would scamper over to the horns and conduct them...he would motion "you up"..."you down" was phenomenal...David right in front of me. Later, when the two bodyguards came out to each side of the stage, I thought that I would be ushered out but when the bodyguard pointed at me, the guy with the clipboard motioned that I was with him. I thanked him quietly and continued to watch the rest of the show.
Then came Let"s spend the Night Together (wearing a pink boa) and then Rock N Roll Suicide. After the curtain closed, I started running across the Radio City Music Hall stage to get the boa that David had just dropped on the stage but just as I got there a roadie or stage hand picked it up. It was too late to stop running and I was just about to run into David when he turned around quickly (he heard me coming) and I stuck out my hand and said "Great show David. Next thing I knew I had an arm around my shoulder. I thought I was busted, until I looked up and saw Mick Ronson. He looked at me and said "So, you enjoyed the show?" and he smiled. Then the three of us started walking across the stage, David on one side of me and Mick Ronson on the other (still with his arm around my shoulder). I will never forget the next line that Mick said. He looked at David & said "David, I think we"re really going to like America".
We walked into the dressing room, Mick took away his arm & walked away & David was walking away too when one of the road crew stopped me and said that I would have to leave. My greatest memory from possibly the greatest live show of all time. Thanks David" - Douglas McRae

Feb-15th 1973

Concert: Radio City Music Hall, New York.

Feb-16th 1973

Concert: The Tower Theatre, Philadelphia.

"The opener that week (Seven shows in five days) was a 1950s revival group called Fumble. I remember them opening with "Hello Mary Lou," and also doing "Ebony Eyes." In between songs, the audience kept yelling out "Fumble!" - Chuck Darrow

Feb-17th 1973

Concert: The Tower Theatre, Philadelphia.

David Bowie 1973 "Ziggy" - Fan recollection by Barbara Shewchuk

Feb-18th 1973

Concert: The Tower Theatre, Philadelphia.

Feb-19th 1973

Concert: The Tower Theatre, Philadelphia.

"For the two shows I saw at the Tower in February 1973 ... he did the "Hang Onto Yourself" opening and it was truly a religious experience. The way Mick and Trevor looked in the flashing strobe lights as they stood statute-still, and Bowie's japanese space suit...then they slammed into "Hang Onto Yourself"!! It's pretty much the most thrilling moment I have ever had at a concert.  The second would have to be the jam in the middle of "Width of a Circle," when Mick and Trevor (with the strobes flashing again), faced each other at center stage and slowly rocked back and forth as they both kept riffing higher and higher on the necks of their axes..." - Chuck Darrow

Feb-20th 1973

Concert: The Tower Theatre, Philadelphia.

Feb-23rd 1973

Concert: The War Memorial Auditorium, Nashville.

"Just thought I'd let you know that I attended the Feb. 23rd, 1973 Bowie show at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tn. The show was great! I noticed you didn't have attendence for that show. The show was a sellout and I believe it seats 1800. It's a great venue, but mostly used for school and political functions nowdays." - Rick

Feb-24rd 1973

Melody Maker magazine predicts a reduction in Bowie's touring due to his expressed interest in a career in film.

Feb-26th 1973

Concert: Ellis Auditorium, Memphis.

Feb-27th 1973

Concert: Ellis Auditorium, Memphis.

Feb-28th 1973

Angela Bowie flys to the US to join David on TWA.



March 1973

Mar-1st 1973

Concert: The Masonic Temple Auditorium, Detroit.

Mar-3rd 1973

Concert: The Aragon Ballroom, Chicago. After the concert Bowie is attacked while dancing with Freddi Burretti at the Rainbow Grill Bar (a man calls him a punk and throws a punch) but is rescued by bodyguard Stuey George. The incident restricts Bowie's movements to his hotel for the rest of the US tour.

Mar-10th 1973

Concert: Long Beach Auditorium, Los Angeles. A number of bootlegs appear from recordings at this concert.

Mar-11th 1973

Concert: Long Beach Auditorium, Los Angeles.

Mar-12th 1973

Concert: Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles.

"I saw Bowie at the Hollywood Palladium.    I was 17 years old at the time. Next door on the same night, Gino Vennilli was playing in concert ("For Your Love" was his #1 hit).  The fans for Gino were older and sophisticated, while the Bowie fans had lighting bolts across their foreheads!  I think the Ziggy era influenced my life the most - it was something out of this world at the time" - Mike

Bowie holds a dinner party for Ringo Starr and Klaus Voorman in Los Angeles.

"In Los Angeles I was surrounded with people who indulged my ego, who treated me as Ziggy Stardust ... never realising that David Jones might be behind it." - Bowie


Ziggy in Japan: The Japanese Tour
April 1973

---This page last modified: 12 Jan 2019---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)