08-07-72 London


David Bowie live 1964-2004

8. July 1972

London, Royal Festival Hall



David Bowie was the main act for this event organized by The Friends of Earth in order to raise funds to save the whales. Bowie entered the stage with "I'm David Bowie and these are the Spiders from Mars, we can gave a wonderful system in a minute but this is some of our music" referring to the sound problems which appeared during the support band, JSD.

A bit unusual David Bowie was very talkative during the show and introduced many of the songs, ei. he before Andy Warhol he told a long story about the New York painter, and before Amsterdam the silent audience listen to Bowie explanation about the Belgian songwriter and the translation of the lyrics into English.

It was a very good show, but the big surprise came after a splendid version of Moonage Daydream, "He's still playing, and he's now in England, and this is his very, very, very first appearance anywhere in England, ladies and gentlemen: Lou Reed". The audience receive Lou Reed with enthusiasm and together they performed three of Lou's songs: White Light, White Heat, Waiting For The Man, Sweet Jane - the later is the one and only performance by David Bowie on this tour. (However in David Bowies remarkable 50th birthday show 9. January 1997 Lou Reed and David Bowie again performed together White Light, White Heat, Waiting For The Man).


A very good show and Charles Webster wrote a very positive review of the show in Record Mirror: "David Bowie will soon become the greatest entertainer Britain has ever known (...) His talent seems unlimited and he looks certain to become the most important person in pop music on both sides of the Atlantic. He is a real star". Full review please see below. (Record Mirror 15. July 1972)




Reviews, comments and photos


David Bowie will soon become the greatest entertainer Britain has ever known. His performance on Saturday at the "Save The Whale" Friends of the Earth concert was a triumph for the showmanship as well as music. His talent seems unlimited and he looks certain to become the most important person in pop music on both sides of the Atlantic. He is a real star, incorporating the things that made people like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and The Beatles so very special.


The atmosphere that surrounded him at the Festival Hall could be felt so positively that even before he appeared on stage it was obvious that somebody unique was about to take the platform. With his Spiders From Mars band, featuring another man, Mick Ronson, destined for superstardom, he performed a selection of numbers from his "Hunky Dory" and "Ziggy Stardust" albums and added to the delight of the 3,000 strong audience, "Space Oddity" and the wistful "Amsterdam". After a dozen numbers, Bowie was joined by Lou Reed, once of the legendary Velvet Underground, for three numbers, and I had the feeling that as much as David wanted to pay tribute to Reed, the inclusion of the American into the act was quite unnecessary.


The people were there to Save the Whale and to see Bowie, who compere Kenny Everett described as the "next biggest thing to God", - a mere mortal next to our hero from Mars - seemed to destroy the illusion that Bowie had spent the entire evening creating. Marmalade opened the show and suffered amplification trouble from the word go. It was a shame for lead guitarist Hughie Nicholson, who was making his farewell performance with the band. The other act on the bill, the JSD Band were very funny, but I was left with the feeling that they should have devoted more time to playing music than telling humorous anecdotes.


Charles Webster, Record Mirror 15. July 1972



When a shooting star is heading for the peak, there is usually one concert at which its possible to declare, "That's it - he's made it." For David Bowie, opportunity knocked loud and clear last Saturday at London's Royal Festival Hall - and he left the stage a true 1972-style pop giant, clutching flowers from a girl who ran up and hugged and kissed him while a throng of fans milled around the stage. It was an exhilarating sight.


Bowie is going to be an old-fashioned, charismatic idol, for his show is full of glitter, panache and pace. Dressed outrageously in the tightest multicoloured gear imaginable, Bowie is a flashback in many ways to the pop star theatrics of about ten years ago, carrying on a detached love affair with his audience, wooing them, yet never surrendering that vital aloofness that makes him slightly untouchable.


On Saturday, the magic was boosted by an unadvertised appearance by Lou Reed. The American jammed with David and his group, and although mutual admiration societies like this are often disappointing ego trips, an electrifying heat came across the stage as David and Lou roared into "White Light", "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "Sweet Jane." Their obvious admiration for each other's style was great to watch. Bowie did the back-up vocal work to Lou's haunting singing, and though his words were hard to pick up, Reed's presence was terrific. In black-sequinned jump-suit and gold shoes, he stood with feet tripping into a neat criss-cross movement at the breaks in his songs - rather like The Shadows used to do in that much-mocked leg-crossing stage movement.


There was something beautifully earthy, cool and all-knowing about Lou Reed, and the crowd who had come mainly to see Bowie were obviously in love with the memory of Lou's Velvet Underground history. Reed now needs to strengthen his simmering popularity here with a full-scale tour of his own. The time is now.


But this concert still belonged to Bowie, legs astride as wide as possible, his face painted incongruously to project a Danny La Rue profile and his diction quite splendid. His music naturally comes mainly from the Ziggy Stardust hit album, but little on this record equals the canny "Changes" from the HUNKY DORY set, or the classic "Space Oddity". At the start, the sound was imperfect, but once this was settled Bowie came over powerfully, oozing with histrionic confidence, with Mick Ronson turning in a potent lead guitar.


"Starman", "Five Years", Andy Warhol", a straight solo on "Amsterdam" and a superb encore, "Suffragette City", were the high-spots of a show which saw Bowie dressed in two outfits, obviously revelling in stardom, strutting from mike to mike, slaying us all with a deadly mixture of fragility and desperate intensity, the undisputed king of camp rock.


The concert, presented by Friends of the Earth to save the doomed whale, also featured Marmalade and the JSD Band...a superb nights music, because all of them have roots. Like Marc, Bowie has been a long time coming, but a more certain Bolan-chaser I never saw. At the end, two "Ziggy" banners were extended by fans over the balcony. Bowie has arrived - a worthy pin-up with such style.


Ray Coleman - Melody Maker Magazine (15 July 1972)




please send us your comments and photos of this show






Hang on to Yourself

Ziggy Stardust

Life on Mars




Five Years

Space Oddity

Andy Warhol


I Feel Free

Moonage Daydream

White Light, White Heat*

Waiting For The Man*

Sweet Jane**


Suffragette City


* Performed with Lou Reed

** Only live performance of this song


Collectors section



75 minutes, good sound quality

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