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
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