Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Corn Exchange, Chelmsford

David Bowie and the Buzz performed at Chelmsford’s Corn Exchange on 26 February 1966.

Supporting the band were Coltrane Union, a local band.

The Buzz’s set was cut short after Bowie collapsed on stage. A local newspaper report said it was caused by “flu, bordering on pneumonia”.

We played every night for a fortnight and reached The Corn Exchange in Chelmsford on February 26th 1966. The gig was unremarkable except for a ‘nervous exhaustion’ collapse on-stage by our frontman David Bowie at the very end of the last song in the last set. This was followed later backstage by a kind of crying and cuddling clinch involving David and Ralph, and for the new band it was an uncomfortable introduction to the existence of some deep-running emotional currents in our talented singer’s life. It was plain to see that David had been wound up as tight as a drum, and he had quite possibly collapsed with relief that he had managed to form a new band that could do the gigs – the way that he wanted to do them. We never thought any less of David for his small breakdowns during that period – they happened a few times and we all took them in our stride. I did have a lot of sympathy, I could see that there was something very wrong, but also that it was something that David would not or could not discuss with his band. It was then that I realised that I could never commit so much of myself to anything, never mind commit so much to the possibly futile pursuit of success in the music business. David was different; it was more than just music to him.
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson
Bowie & Hutch

The Chelmsford Corn Exchange was situated on Tindal Square. Construction was completed in 1857, and in 1963 it opened as a live music venue. The building was demolished in 1969 to make way for a new town centre development.

Last updated: 16 May 2022
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