When I was a teenager a surefire way to become one of the cool kids was to jump onto a musical trend before any of your friends. That was pretty handy for me as I had an elder cousin who was ahead of the game when it came to music. She introduced me to David Bowie about three months before the iconic Top of the Pops performance of Starman.
Back in the day before all of this Internet and YouTube TOTP was how we kids consumed our music. A performance on TOTP could make a band, many successful music careers were launched on a Thursday night.
It’s fair to say that on Thursday 6th July 1972 David Bowie became a star.
It’s hard to explain how big an impact that performance had on popular music. Bowie looked like someone from a distant galaxy. Our parents hated him.
We loved him 😻
For the last few months, I’d been playing Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars to anyone within earshot so on the 6th of July I officially became a cool kid with all of my peers.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve 1972. Bowie was playing the Rainbow and we managed to get tickets.
The Rainbow Theatre Finsbury Park was the Mecca for Rock concerts throughout my teenage years. It felt like I was there every Saturday. I saw some fantastic bands, Roxy Music, Genesis, King Crimson even Pink Floyd but I have to say Bowie‘s performance was the best that I had experienced.
And no concert that I have been to since has topped it.
The band kicked off with a cover of the Rolling Stones, Let’s Spend the Night Together, it was electric. The classics just kept coming. Hang on to yourself, Changes, Life on Mars, Starman, The Jeanie Genie.
Mick Ronson, probably one of the most underrated guitar payers ever was just stunning. His guitar solo on Moonage Daydream, my personal favourite track from Ziggy Stardust, took my head off my shoulders and sent it to Mars.
The band were tight but the star of the show was David Bowie. He was mesmerising. The concert finished with Rock and Roll suicide. Bowie had every one of us in the spellbound audience in the palm of his alien hand.
The set lasted about 45 minutes it was over far too quickly. By the end, I was completely obsessed with this Popstar from another galaxy.
My love for David Bowie has lasted throughout my life. He has produced an amazing body of work but for me, nothing touches this period of Bowie’s musical career.
And I was there at the start of
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. 🙏