Live: Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix

David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars performed at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on 4 November 1972.

It was the 72nd date of the Ziggy Stardust Tour, which had begun on 29 January 1972. The support act was the Spencer Davis Group.

The show was poorly attended, as were many on this leg of the tour.

There were hardly any people there. It was desperate. But that was the only show where I can remember the support working with us.
Trevor Bolder, 1995
Any Day Now, Kevin Cann

Bowie is said to have first performed a solo acoustic version of ‘Drive-In Saturday’ at this show, his first since writing the song.

Poster for David Bowie at the Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, 4 November 1972

Bowie’s manager Tony Defries had failed to secure any bookings in the next week, so he and the Spiders From Mars were forced to stay in Phoenix for six days before the tour resumed on 11 November in Dallas. Due to the intense heat, they spent much of the time inside chalets at their hotel. Bowie blocked out all sunlight in an effort to retain his snow-white tan.

One day he was visited by Defries and George Underwood, a friend since Bowie’s school days.

He suddenly appeared from the bedroom, waiting for a reaction from us. It took me a few seconds to work out his eyebrows had gone. It was very striking.
George Underwood, 2001
Any Day Now, Kevin Cann

Bowie gave conflicting accounts as to why he shaved off his eyebrows. In 1997 he claimed he had got “roaring drunk” one night and woke up with just one eyebrow, so completed the image by shaving off the other – an image which he retained until 1974.

However, in 1999 he claimed it was done in anger that Mott the Hoople had turned down a chance to record the newly-written ‘Drive-In Saturday’.

‘Drive-In Saturday’ was actually written as a follow-up single for Mott the Hoople, who’d had some considerable success with another song that I’d written for them called ‘All The Young Dudes’.

Well they, in their wisdom, decided the time had come for them to write their own singles so it was given back to me!

I was so annoyed that one night in Florida I shaved my eyebrows off. You think I’m joking. I actually am not joking! I got very drunk and shaved my eyebrows off, I was so annoyed that they didn’t do this song. It really taught them a lesson…

David Bowie, 23 August 1999
VH1 Storytellers

Mott The Hoople singer Ian Hunter later denied turning down the song.

David Bowie is fond of saying he offered it to us and we turned it down. To my recollection, that wasn’t the case at all. We never turned it down. We had this arrangement of that song which was completely different and we wanted to do it. The only thing I can think of is that Tony Defries told David one story and us another.
Ian Hunter, Mott the Hoople
Any Day Now, Kevin Cann
Last updated: 2 May 2023
Travel: Seattle to Phoenix
Tony Defries writes to Phil Spector
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