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|Previous page||The Rainbow Theatre
(19 August 1972)
Clockwork Orange Theme
Hang Onto Yourself
Life on Mars?
The Width of a Circle
The Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud
Waiting for the Man
Encore - Moonage Daydream
The show started with the customary Walter Carlos theme from a "Clockwork Orange." With perfect timing Bowie appeared out of the darkness strumming a 12-string guitar and singing the opening number "Lady Stardust", while clouds of dry-ice (hundreds of pounds of dry-ice were purchased for the concert) hovered just above the stage floor.
Petticoat Magazine wrote:
"When the spotlights came on the audience gives up a single gasp of utter disbelief. Ziggy's hair is a solid bob of flaming Apricot Gold, made even brighter by a deathly white made-up face. He is wearing a blue Lurex jacket open to the navel and a pair of blue denims tucked into what appeared to be boxing boots. The Spiders...seem ill at ease in their silver jump-suits. The exhibition that follows is of secondary importance. David Bowie made his impact the second he stood there under the lamp, legs apart, hips gently swaying, guitar slung over his back and a limp smile playing on his mouth. There's no getting away from it, the boy is beautiful..."
An image of Marc Bolan was projected onto a screen to the left of the stage while Bowie sang "Lady Stardust" implying that the song was specifically written about him. Throughout the concert hundreds of obscure images were also projected onto the screen to accompany the other songs. The Astronettes wore David Bowie masks for this number, an idea of Lindsay Kemps. This was to be the one and only known live performance of "Lady Stardust" at a Ziggy Stardust concert.
The stage itself consisted of a multi-level arrangement of scaffolding covered in sawdust, much like that typically seen in a circus. Bowie used the many levels of scaffolding after changing his costume, appearing either above or below the dancers. During the performances he moved up and down the levels by way of connecting ladders.
Bowie first changed his costume after "Changes" with Mick Woodmansey playing an extended drum beat (40 seconds worth!) for the beginning of "Five Years" in order to give Bowie time to change. On the tape of the concert, Bowie can be clearly be heard out of breath following his quick dash up the scaffolding to appear high above the stage. Bowie and Ronson's vocal imitation of the blast-off sequence of "Space Oddity" (replaced in later concerts with a synthesiser) drew good natured amusement from the audience. Bowie first addressed the audience after singing "Andy Warhol" (nine songs into the performance):
"This is a Jacques Brel number, but its not "Port of Amsterdam." Its equally as cheerful and its called "My Death."
This was the first time that Bowie performed "My Death." Another highlight, was the first and only full performance of "Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud."
When Bowie sang "Starman", Lindsay Kemp appeared wearing a wig and wings, smoking a cigarette (joint?) and leering at the audience from the stage and rafters as he played the role of the STARMAN. During the song Bowie sang a line from the Judy Garland song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in recognition of the venue:
"There's a Starman
.... over the rainbow
Way up there....
Can you tell me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie...."
After the Lou Reed songs "White Light/White Heat" and "Waiting for the Man", Bowie concluded:
"I'd like to thank you for coming to our little show tonight. I'd like to thank The Astronettes for dancing it, I'd like to thank Trevor Bolder, Woody Woodmansey and Mick Ronson - The Spiders, for playing it. Thanks to my guest artist Mr Lindsay Kemp and lastly I'd like to thank-you. Thank-you and good night."
The encore was Moonage Daydream and was introduced by Bowie:
"This is one of Ziggy's numbers. Its called "Moonage Daydream."
The performance drew huge critical acclaim and sales of the Ziggy Stardust album climbed sharply. There were, however, some dissenters. Some people were uncomfortable with the introduction of theatre to rock. Elton John reportedly walked out before the finale saying "He's blown it now. He'll never mean anything any more!" (an allusion to Bowie's outrageous camp act which Elton found to be an affront as he chose to hide his bisexuality at this time), while Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music remarked "I don't think it worked." However, such comments were in the minority (It was rumoured that Roxy Music had been prevented from rehearsing in the theatre prior to the show and that their representatives had also been prevented from handing out promotional material in the foyer which may have led to some animosity).
The formula of brilliant hard rock combined with stunning theatricality became the staple Ziggy Stardust concert for future concerts.
"It was the last of our real mixed media shows because we were using film footage, scaffolding, the Lindsay Kemp Mime Company and pre-recorded tapes."- Bowie (1990)
"Caught in the Act"
Starman Over The Rainbow - (Plays and Players - November 1972)
Melody Maker review
New Musical Express review
Melody Maker 2 review
The Rainbow Concert Image Gallery
---This page last modified: 14 Dec 2018---