David Bowie 1973-05-12 London ,Earl’s Court (DIEDRICH) –
Sound Quality Rating Not good ,much Noise ,very dull
– 01 INTRO.flac
– 02 SPACE ODDITY.flac
– 03 BOWIE TALK.flac
– 04 THE JEAN GENIE.flac
– 05 TIME.flac
– 06 WIDTH OF A CIRCLE – LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER – DRIVE IN SATURDAY – ALADDIN SANE.flac
– 07 QUICKSAND.flac
– 08 LIFE ON MARS.flac
– 09 MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIVAL.flac
– 10 PANIC IN DETROT.flac
– 11 SUFFRAEGETTE CITY.flac
– 12 ENCORE – BAND INTRO – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SUICIDE.flac
Label: No label
Audio Source: audience
Total running time: 1:07:06
Note: Not good ,much Noise ,very dull
This tape has a great historical value: this was the beginning of a long tour through the UK and it was a downright disaster. Since it was a ground level stage most people were unable to see Bowie and the Spiders come on. While Bowie was playing people were getting up from their seats and pressing forward, trying to secure a spot with a better view. This resulted in quite a stampede,with people being trampled under foot and fights breaking out. From the galleries one had a slightly better view,but the sound was rotten too: only nearby could the music be heard; at the back and on the galleries it was not much more than a vague rumbling. All this upset Bowie,and after a couple of numbers he left the stage in upper confusior Someone of the road crew came and tried to calm down the audience.
“This is something from the. Space Oddity album,it’s called Wild Eyed Boy From Freealcoud“ Bowie says,and links it to All the Young Dudes and Oh! You Pretty Things, turning them into a medley. Bowie’s repertory contained yet another medley composed of three numbers,ending with Memory of a Free Festival, which may account for a moment of confusion during the transition from all the Young Dudes to Oh! You Pretty Things when starts singing “We scanned the sky with rainbow eyes … “,but he soon corrects himself. “We have another number from Aladdin Sane and … and this is called The Prettiest Star“ .
After Space Oddity there is a short interruption of the tape; then it continues with a speech from someone of the road crew who had mounted the stage to try and calm down the audience and make them return to their seats, for at that moment the hall was a regular pandemonium: people had been rushing towards the stage,some of them falling and getting hurt; others were naked,jumping up and down on their seats; yet others were crying,yelling “Ziggy,Ziggy!”,etc. There is quite a bit of that speech on the tape:
“Move back and relieve these people here or they’ll get crushed. Now move back. Everybody here has paid money to see the show, and every body here is gonna see the show tonight!” he calls out , followed by rumbling and yelling. “Please go back up the aisle,you must move back. I insist that everybody can see,but if everybody stands in the aisle, then nobody can see,so if you move back,that that’s it, that’s it ,move back, just go right back,just work your way back to your seats . So just move back up here on the side. Come on,let’s move, don’t stand there stare at me,it’s not worth it. If you wake up,you’ll gonna be alright”.
Bowie and the Spiders return to the stage to have another try. They play Jean Genie and it would seem that order has been restored,for there are no more interruptions, After Aladdin Sane which by the way was left out during the rest of the tour, comes the second medley which Bowie had concocted of the some what abbreviated versions of three numbers,Quicksand,Life on Mars and Memory of a Free Festival,melted together. When at the end of Memory of a Free Festival Bowie sings “Sun machine is coming down and we’re gonna have a party”,the audience join in and sing along with him en masse. Bowie,who appreciates this of course , says “This is very good indeed!”. True, the audience kept close for the rest of the show,but still most of them could see nothing and hear as good as nothing!
It surely is odd that for such a big concert the sound could turn out to be so poor. I suppose it was because this was Bowie’s first appearance in a hall of this size,and the sound equipment had not been adequately adapted to the occasion. Moreover,this was Earl’s Court’s first performance as a concert hall. Luckily this tape was made in a part of the hall where the sound was alright, for it is as good as any other tape of this tour.
“Thank you,we love you,thanks” Bowie calls out after Suffragetty City,then leaves the stage. The audience are elated; Bowie lets them have their way and returns. He introduces the Spiders (Ronson is given a real big hand!) and sets in Rock & Roll Suicide,with the audience singing and clapping along to a man. This is the end of the concert,and a tape recording Land of Hope & Glory is played.
For that night a second concert had originally been planned, but it was cancelled: the disastrous events at this concert called for a thorough evaluation.
Colin Richardson (2002)
The eight-week tour of the UK begins at this massive stadium attended by 18,000 fans. This is to be the first use of this venue for a rock concert and the biggest ever in-door rock audience in the UK at the time. Unfortunately the show is marred by poor sound, poor stage visibility (it was very low) and adverse fan behaviour (some drunken members of the audience danced naked and urinated in the aisles and there were outbreaks of violence causing Bowie to ask for calm at one stage). A second show at this venue scheduled for 30 June 1973 is cancelled as a result. Apart from Earls Court, the tour is an enormous success playing 37 towns and cities in 45 days and being sold out in each. Altogether 150,000 fans would attend these concerts.
“The second time I saw Bowie (not forgetting the Spiders) was at Earls Court at start of the 1973 tour…Most memorable moment?…having a seat about 3 miles away from the stage and after crawling over, under and through what seemed like a hundred rows of seats, ending up slap-bang centre of the stage, watching David trying hard to keep his knee length boots up (white mini kimono outfit) and finally giving up with the gold lipstick that was nearly sticking his lips together (he wiped it off on his sleeve!) and him spotting me surrounded by screaming girls, he pointed at me and smiled the most heart warming smile I’ve ever had smiled at me.” –
The LIFE ON MARS? promotional video is shot backstage at Earls Court on this date.