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Ziggy in Japan 1/2

Bowie arrives in Yokohama, Japan. 

April 1973


"Ziggy Stardust...was very much Japanese Theatre meets American Science Fiction" - Bowie (1978)

Songs performed: Space Oddity, The Width of A Circle, Changes, Five Years, Moonage Daydream, Starman, Hang Onto Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Rock n Roll Suicide, John, I'm Only Dancing, Watch That Man, Time & The Jean Genie.

Other artists songs: Round & Round (Chuck Berry) & Lets Spend the Night Together (Jagger-Richards).

Set lists: Bowie dropped some songs from Aladdin Sane for this tour and the acoustic set again was absent from this tour.

Support musicians: Mike Garson on piano is joined by John (Hutch) Hutchinson on rhythm guitar; Geoffrey MacCormack on percussion and backing vocals; Brian Wilshaw on sax and flute and Ken Fordham on sax.   Hutch had played with Bowie in the Buzz and Feathers & MacCormack was a childhood friend who did backup vocals on five Bowie albums.

Decca reissue The World Of David Bowie (1970) compilation album in a new "Ziggy" cover. Decca SPA 58 (UK) and Decca 210039 (France).

Apr-5th 1973

 japan2.jpg (17193 bytes)

At 4pm Bowie arrives in Yokohama, Japan on the SS Oronsay having sailed from from Los Angeles.  He is then driven the half-hour journey to the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The rest of the Bowie entourage, having returned to London in the interim, arrives by plane the next day. At this stage "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars" is selling very well and will stay in the Japanese charts for more than two years. While looked down at by the high-brow press, Bowie is incredibly popular with contemporary Japanese culture largely due to his theatrical approach to rock music.  Bowie is even popular with the Japanese government who view him as a desirable, in contrast to the Rolling Stones whose Japan Tour was cancelled due to previous drug charges. Before Bowie's arrival a huge 60 foot by 90 foot poster of Bowie was hung from a Tokyo building which in this period was the largest photo poster in the world.

In Japan Bowie will undertake 10 concerts (with a guaranteed return of $6,000 per concert) and do some sightseeing including attending fashion shows and traditional Japanese theatre.   Backstage, at one of these, he meets one of Japan's most popular Kabuki stars, Tamasaburou Bandou, who provides him with some advice on make-up.

"It was a great experience, I found them absolutely fascinating.  There was an awful lot, particularly in the outlying villages and provinces, of very strange ritual dance performances that I hadn't seen before.  A lot of them were from Shintoism." - Bowie

Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, whom Bowie had met in New York, had been commissioned to create nine Aladdin Sane stage costumes based on traditional Japanese dramas, and he presented these to Bowie in Tokyo.  Some of these simulated Noh and Kabuki theatre by being able to be torn apart, revealing yet another costume underneath. While in Japan, the Kansai Yamamoto designed costume variously called "Spring Rain" or "The Rites of Spring" had to be taken back to Kansai's shop in Tokyo and repaired often due to hard wear after Bowie's mobbed performances. While in Japan Bowie, Angie and Zowie spend time with Kansai's family and two year old daughter Rose.

Another Japanese acquaintance, Masayoshi Sukita, who photographed him in London in August 1972, and February 1973 in New York, accompanied the tour from start to finish with his assistant.

Apr-6th 1973

"Drive in Saturday" 7" single from ALADDIN SANE (1973) is released and immediately goes to #5 in the UK.

"Drive in Saturday/Round and Round" RCA 2352 UK. Highest chart position = #3

"Drive in Saturday/Life on Mars?" RCA 310936 Spain

Apr-8th 1973

Tokyo Press conference

Concert: Shinjyuku Kouseinenkin Hall, Tokyo.  Sold out well in advance.

"Musically he is the most exciting thing to have happened since the fragmentation of the Beatles, and theatrically he is perhaps the most interesting performer ever in the pop music genre." - Japan Times Review

Apr-10th 1973

Concert: Shinjyuku Kouseinenkin Hall, Tokyo.

Apr-11th 1973

Concert: Shinjyuku Kouseinenkin Hall, Tokyo.

Apr-12th 1973

Concert: Nagoya-shi Kokaido, Nagoya.

Apr-13th 1973

Bowie entourage travels on bullet train to Hiroshima and stays at a hotel overlooking Peace Park - the site of the atomic bomb explosion in 1945.

ALADDIN SANE (1973) is released to advance orders of 150,000. It receives mixed reviews from critics expecting the earth after the Ziggy Stardust album.

Side One: Watch That Man / Aladdin Sane / Drive In Saturday / Panic in Detroit / Cracked Actor
Side Two: Time / The Prettiest Star / Lets Spend the Night Together / The Jean Genie / Lady Grinning Soul

"John, I'm Only Dancing" 7" single is "re-released" in the UK.

The A-side was actually a new version from the ALADDIN SANE (1973) recording session known as the "Sax Mix" (and not the previous 7 September 1972 single). Strangely it was released by RCA with the same matrix number as the earlier version and no notice that it was a new recording.

"John, I'm Only Dancing/Hang Onto Yourself" RCA 2263 UK.

"Time" 7" single from ALADDIN SANE (1973) is released in the US and Japan

"Time/Prettiest Star"RCA APBO 0007 US in picture sleeve.

"Time/Panic in Detroit" RCA 552299 Japan in picture sleeve

Apr-14th 1973

Concert: Yubin Chokin Hall, Hiroshima.


 Ziggy In Japan Part Two (continued)

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

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)