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Live: David Bowie and Hype, Star Hotel, Croydon

David Bowie and Hype performed at Croydon’s Star Hotel on 30 March 1970.

At this time Hype were guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Tony Visconti, and drummer John Cambridge. This, howoever, was Cambridge’s last show with them; on 6 April Bowie informed him he wanted a new drummer, and the following day Cambridge returned to Hull.

We had a gig the end of March at The Star Hotel, Broad Green, Croydon. One afternoon, a few days before the gig, David and I went over to check it out and see the size of the stage. We stood at the bar having a shandy (we weren’t really drinking much at the time, and there was no drug taking while we were at Haddon Hall) and started talking to two pretty girls. David was a master at chatting up girls and he was winning them over for us.

‘Who are you?’ asked one of the girls, looking at me.

‘I am The Light.’ I cleverly quipped, not to be outdone by David.

‘Sure, light and bitter,’ David quickly added.

This turned out to be the last show with John Cambridge on drums. Although he had introduced his mate Mick Ronson into our band, Mick confided in David and I that he knew a far better drummer in Hull – the one that had replaced John when he went off to join Junior’s Eyes. David and I were considering replacing John anyway, but this was a surprise coming from Ronson. We liked John very much, his presence was very uplifting, but he wasn’t the adventurous drummer we needed to go to the next level. It was done very quickly and before John’s spot on the gallery floor cooled off, Woody Woodmansey moved into Haddon Hall.

Tony Visconti
Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy

The support act for the Croydon show was Ugly Room. This was Hype’s final show until 21 May 1970 – the band’s focus turned instead to recording Bowie’s third album, although he played a handful of solo gigs in between sessions.

Last updated: 29 March 2023
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