The ZIGGY STARDUST Companion
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I bought the Ziggy Stardust album back in 1972 when I was 15 and immediately became a fan and I have been ever since, however, less so in recent years. I believe that the album had a great effect on my life and, in particular, my youth.
I lived in Cardiff, South Wales, UK at the time. I can recall concert posters in the winter of 1972 for a Ziggy concert elsewhere in the country and I was determined to attend a David Bowie concert but this did not happen until 12 May 1973. I was aged 16.
I traveled with a group of friends to London to see Bowie at Earls Court. We were not dressed wildly but our clothes reflected the period - cord jackets, platforms etc. The atmosphere was extraordinary. I cannot recall ever witnessing such strange, exciting and weird surroundings. There were so many outlandish people, men wearing dresses, masses of silver and gold lame - totally outrageous but all good natured. On arriving at our seats in the Earls Court arena we found that we were halfway back with not a very good view.
After the opening song "Hang on to yourself" we ran down to the front and remained there throughout the entire concert (interval included). To us, having such a good view the concert was electric and we vowed we would see him again. I cannot recall the dismay [about the concert] as described in the musical press e.g the reported fights, etc. Looking back it may have been the first concert of its kind and certainly video screens would have helped.
Bowie fever swept through the UK and Bowie appeared at the strangest venues. Myself and three friends were able to obtain tickets for the final Hammersmith concert. In the meantime I had my Ziggy haircut, dyed it red and decided to dress like Bowie. I had an advantage in that I have two different colour eyes (almost the same as Bowie). Before the concert I can recall us sitting in Hyde Park preparing ourselves for the concert - a good friend of mine applying eye make up etc. I can vividly recall the Hammersmith concert - it was a lot smaller than Earls Court but the atmosphere was equally exciting. However, the crowd were not so outrageous as at Earls Court.
We had seats in the stalls about halfway back - quite a good view. I recall sitting next to an elderly lady who explained that she had seen "Wings" the previous week and had thoroughly enjoyed it. Needless to say as soon as the Clockwork Orange music started we rushed to the front and remained there until the interval. I remember a girl next to me who had a snake painted on her face. There was a lot of pushing and cheering - all good natured. After the interval we ventured up to the circle and caught a glimpse of Lulu.
We sat down on some steps but were removed quickly by the security men. As we could not get near the front we remained in our seats and enjoyed the concert from there. When Bowie announced his retirement the crowd did not fully understand what he meant. My friends and I did not believe it and felt it was a publicity stunt. In my opinion the rest of the crowd felt the same. On leaving the theatre I cannot recall any great reaction to his retirement announcement.
I was fully aware of the cameramen filmimg the concert and can recall looking back (I actually sat/stood in a centre aisle seat) and seeing a very bright light. The acoustics on [the Ziggy Stardust Motion Picture] film appear to be poor and I do not think the film fully captured the event. I am afraid that I did not witness anything like the scenes described in Julie's letter. It was all good fun, however, at Hammersmith there was an air of sophistication.
I have seen Bowie several times since e.g The Thin White Duke Tour (1976), The Glass Spider Tour of 1987 etc. I have no regrets - it was all good fun. I still have these programmes at home. The Aladdin Sane programmes were simply a number of full length photographs of Bowie in the concert outfits. No text. Very novel, mysterious and sophisticated.
---This page last modified: 29 Jun 2002---