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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 album Let’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

Europe

18 May 1983 BrusselsBelgiumVorst Forest Nationaal

19 May 1983 Brussels ,Belgium ,Vorst Forest Nationaal

20 May 1983 Frankfurt ,Germany ,Festhalle

21 May 1983 MunichOlympiahalle

22 May 1983 Munich ,Olympiahalle

24 May 1983 Lyon ,France ,Palais des Sports de Gerland

25 May 1983 Lyon ,France ,Palais des Sports de Gerland

26 May 1983 Fréjus ,Les Arènes

27 May 1983 FréjusLes Arènes

29 May 1983 Nantes(Cancelled) Le Beaujoire

North America

30 May 1983 San Bernardino, CaliforniaUnited States ,US 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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