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Serious Moonlight Tour

The Serious Moonlight Tour (96 Shows) was launched in May 1983 in support of David Bowie’s album Let’s Dance (1983).

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David Bowie on stage during the 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour
Tour by David Bowie
Associated albumLet’s Dance
Start date 18 May 1983
End date 8 December 1983
Legs 8
Shows 96

The David Bowie Serious Moonlight Tour was thus far Bowie’s longest, largest and most successful concert tour. The tour opened at the Vorst Forest Nationaal, Brussels, on 18 May 1983 and ended in the Hong Kong Coliseum on 8 December 1983; 16 countries visited, 96 performances, and over 2.6M tickets sold. The tour garnered mostly favorable reviews from the press.

Tour development
Bowie himself had a hand in the set design for the tour, which included giant columns (affectionately referred to as “condoms”) as well as a large moon and a giant hand. Some of the musicians from his 1978 tour were re-hired for this tour, including Carlos Alomar, who was the band leader for the tour. Earl Slick was drafted as guitarist a few days before the commencement of the tour due to problems with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s management demanding a contract renegotiation.
The band rehearsed for the tour in Dallas, Texas. Each band member wore a costume which was designed “down to the smallest detail.” Two sets of each person’s costumes were made and worn on alternate nights, and everyone got to keep one set at the conclusion of the tour as a souvenir.
One song that was on the rehearsal’s song list that never actually got to the rehearsal stage was “Across the Universe,” which Bowie had covered in 1975 on his Young Americans album.

Tour performances
Earl Slick November 1983 during the Serious Moonlight Tour
On 30 June 1983 the performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in London was a charity show for the Brixton Neighbourhood Community Association in the presence of Princess Michael of Kent. The 13 July 1983 Montreal Forum performance was recorded and broadcast on American FM Radio and other radio stations worldwide. The concert on 12 September in Vancouver was recorded for the concert video Serious Moonlight, that was released in 1984 and on DVD in 2006.
At the Canadian National Exhibition Stadium – Toronto, ON performance on 4 September 1983, Bowie introduced onstage special guest, Mick Ronson, who borrowed Earl Slick’s guitar and performed “The Jean Genie” with Bowie and band. Mick had only been asked to play the day before, and he later recalled:
I was playing Slick’s guitar … I had heard Slick play solos all night so I decided not to play solos and I just went out and thrashed the guitar. I really thrashed the guitar, I was waving the guitar above my head and all sorts of things. It was funny afterwards because David said, ‘You should have seen [Earl Slick’s] face…’ meaning he looked petrified. I had his prize guitar and I was swinging it around my head and Slick’s going ‘Waaaa… watch my guitar’, you know. I was banging into it and it was going round my head. Poor Slick. I mean, I didn’t know it was his special guitar, I just thought it was a guitar, a lump of wood with six strings.
The last show of the tour (8 December 1983) was the third anniversary of John Lennon’s death, whom both Bowie and Earl Slick had worked with in the studio previously. Slick suggested to Bowie a few days prior to the show that they play “Across the Universe” as a tribute, but Bowie said, “Well if we’re going to do it, we might as well do “Imagine.”” They rehearsed the song a couple of times on 5 December (in Bangkok) and then performed the song on the final night of the tour as a tribute to their friend.

Tour legacy
The tour was a high point of commercial success for Bowie, who found his new popularity perplexing. Bowie would later remark that with the success of Let’s Dance and the Serious Moonlight Tour, he had lost track of who his fans were or what they wanted. One critic would later call this tour his “most accessible” because “it had few props and one costume change, from peach suit to blue.”
Bowie later specifically tried to avoid repeating the formula for success from his Serious Moonlight Tour with his 1987 Glass Spider Tour.

Tour band
David Bowie – vocals, guitar, saxophone
Earl Slick – guitar
Carlos Alomar – guitar
Carmine Rojas – bass guitar
Tony Thompson – drums, percussion
Dave Lebolt – keyboards, synthesizers
Steve Elson – saxophones
Stan Harrison – saxophones, woodwinds
Lenny Pickett – saxophones, woodwinds
George Simms – backing vocals
Frank Simms – backing vocals

Tour dates

Date  City  Country  Venue

Europe
18 May 1983 BrusselsBelgiumVorst Forest Nationaal
19 May 1983 BrusselsBelgiumVorst Forest Nationaal
20 May 1983 FrankfurtWest GermanyFesthalle
21 May 1983 MunichOlympiahalle
22 May 1983 MunichOlympiahalle
24 May 1983 LyonFrancePalais des Sports de Gerland
25 May 1983 LyonFrancePalais des Sports de Gerland
26 May 1983 FréjusLes Arènes
27 May 1983 FréjusLes Arènes
29 May 1983 Nantes(Cancelled) Le Beaujoire

North America
30 May 1983 San Bernardino, CaliforniaUnited StatesUS Festival
Glen Helen Regional Park

Europe
02 June 1983 London ,England ,Wembley Arena
03 June 1983 London ,England ,Wembley Arena
04 June 1983 London ,England ,Wembley Arena
05 June 1983 Birmingham ,National Exhibition Centre
06 June 1983  Birmingham ,National Exhibition Centre
08 June 1983 Paris ,France ,Hippodrome D’Auteuil
09 June 1983 Paris ,FranceHippodrome D’Auteuil
11 June 1983 Gothenburg ,Sweden ,Ullevi Stadium
12 June 1983  Gothenburg ,Sweden ,Ullevi Stadium
15 June 1983 Bochum ,Germany ,Ruhrstadion
17 June 1983 Bad Segeberg ,Freilichtbühne
18 June 1983  Bad Segeberg ,Freilichtbühne
20 June 1983 Berlin ,Waldbühne
24 June 1983 Offenbach am Main ,Bieberer Berg Stadion
25 June 1983 Rotterdam ,Netherlands ,Stadion Feijenoord
26 June 1983 Rotterdam ,Netherlands ,Stadion Feijenoord
28 June 1983 Edinburgh .,Scotland ,Murrayfield Stadium
30 June 1983 London ,England ,Hammersmith Odeon
01 July 1983 Milton Keynes ,Milton Keynes Bowl
02 July 1983 Milton Keynes ,Milton Keynes Bowl
03 July 1983 Milton Keynes ,Milton Keynes Bowl

North America
11 July 1983 Quebec City, Quebec ,Canada ,Colisée de Québec
12 July 1983 Montreal, Quebec ,Montreal Forum
13 July 1983 Montreal, Quebec ,Montreal Forum
15 July 1983 Hartford, Connecticut ,Hartford Civic Center
16 July 1983 Hartford, Connecticut ,Hartford Civic Center
18 July 1983 Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaThe Spectrum
19 July 1983 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ,The Spectrum
20 July 1983 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ,The Spectrum
21 July 1983 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ,The Spectrum
23 July 1983 Syracuse, New York (Re-scheduled) – Carrier Dome
25 July 1983 New York City ,Madison Square Garden
26 July 1983 New York City ,Madison Square Garden
27 July 1983 New York City ,Madison Square Garden
29 July 1983 Richfield, Ohio ,Richfield Coliseum
30 July 1983 Detroit, Michigan ,Joe Louis Arena
31 July 1983 Detroit, Michigan ,Joe Louis Arena
01 August 1983 Rosemont, Illinois ,Rosemont Horizon
02 August 1983 Rosemont, Illinois ,Rosemont Horizon
03 August 1983 Rosemont, Illinois ,Rosemont Horizon
07 August 1983 Edmonton, Alberta,Canada,Commonwealth Stadium
09 August 1983 Vancouver, British Columbia ,Pacific Colesium
11 August 1983 Tacoma, Washington ,United States ,Tacoma Dome
14 August 1983 Los Angeles, California ,The Forum
15 August 1983 Los Angeles, California ,The Forum
17 August 1983 Phoenix, Arizona ,Veterans Memorial Coliseum
19 August 1983 Dallas, Texas ,Reunion Arena
20 August 1983 Austin, Texas ,Frank Erwin Center
21 August 1983 Houston, Texas ,The Summit
24 August 1983 Norfolk, Virginia ,Scope Cultural and Convention Center
25 August 1983 Norfolk, Virginia ,Scope Cultural and Convention Center
27 August 1983 Landover, Maryland ,Capital Centre
28 August 1983 Landover, Maryland ,Capital Centre
29 August 1983 Hershey, Pennsylvania ,Hersheypark Stadium
31 August 1983 Foxborough, Massachusetts ,Sullivan Stadium
03 September 1983 Toronto, Ontario ,Canada ,Canadian National Exhibition Stadium
04 September 1983 Toronto, Ontario ,Canada ,Canadian National Exhibition Stadium
05 September 1983 Buffalo, New York ,United States ,Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
06 September 1983 Syracuse, New York ,Carrier Dome
09 September 1983 Anaheim, CaliforniaAnaheim Stadium
11 September 1983 Vancouver, British Columbia ,Canada ,Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum
12 September 1983 Vancouver, British Columbia ,Canada ,Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum
14 September 1983 Winnipeg, ManitobaWinnipeg Stadium
17 September 1983 Oakland, CaliforniaUnited StatesOakland Alameda Coliseum

Asia
20 October 1983 Tokyo ,Japan ,Nippon Budokan
21 October 1983 Tokyo ,Japan ,Nippon Budokan
22 October 1983 Tokyo ,Japan ,Nippon Budokan
24 October 1983 Tokyo ,Japan ,Nippon Budokan
25 October 1983 Yokohama ,Yokohama Stadium
26 October 1983 Osaka ,Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
27 October 1983 Osaka ,Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
29 October 1983 Nagoya ,Kokusai Tenji Kaikan
30 October 1983 Osaka ,Expo Commemoration Park
31 October 1983 Kyoto ,Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium

Oceania
04 November 1983 Perth ,Australia ,Perth Entertainment Centre
05 November 1983 Perth ,Australia ,Perth Entertainment Centre
06 November 1983 Perth ,Australia ,Perth Entertainment Centre
09 November 1983 Adelaide ,Adelaide Oval
12 November 1983 MelbourneVFL Park
16 November 1983 Brisbane ,Lang Park
19 November 1983 Sydney ,RAS Showgrounds
20 November 1983 Sydney ,RAS Showgrounds
24 November 1983 Wellington ,New ZealandAthletic Park
26 November 1983 Auckland ,Western Springs Stadium

Asia
03 December 1983 Kallang ,Singapore ,National Stadium
05 December 1983 Bangkok ,Thailand ,Thai Army Sports Stadium
07 December 1983 Hung Hom, Kowloon ,Hong Kong Coliseum
08 December 1983 Hung Hom, Kowloon ,Hong Kong Coliseum

The Songs
From Space Oddity
“Space Oddity”
From Hunky Dory
“Life on Mars?”
From The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
“Soul Love”
“Star”
“Hang on to Yourself”
From Aladdin Sane
“Cracked Actor”
“The Jean Genie”
From Pin Ups
“I Can’t Explain” (originally non-album single by The Who, written by Pete Townshend)
“Sorrow” (originally by The McCoys, written by Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer)
From Diamond Dogs
“Rebel Rebel”
From Young Americans
“Young Americans”
“Fame” (Bowie, John Lennon, Carlos Alomar)
From Station to Station
“Station to Station”
“Golden Years”
“TVC 15”
“Stay”
“Wild Is the Wind” (originally a single by Johnny Mathis, written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington)
From Low
“Breaking Glass” (Bowie, Dennis Davis, George Murray)
“What in the World”
From “Heroes”
“Joe the Lion”
“”Heroes”” (Bowie, Brian Eno)
From Lodger
“Red Sails” (Bowie, Eno)
“Look Back in Anger” (Bowie, Eno)
From Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
“Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”
“Ashes to Ashes”
“Fashion”
From Let’s Dance
“Modern Love”
“China Girl” (originally from The Idiot by Iggy Pop, written by Pop and Bowie)
“Let’s Dance”
“Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” (originally from Cat People: Original Soundtrack, written by Bowie and Giorgio Moroder)
Other songs:
“Imagine” (originally from Imagine by John Lennon, written by Lennon)
“White Light/White Heat” (from White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground, written

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