Live: Long Beach Auditorium, Los Angeles

David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars performed at Los Angeles’ Long Beach Auditorium on 10 March 1973.

It was the 101st date of the Ziggy Stardust Tour, which had begun on 29 January 1972. The support act was Fumble.

There had been a lengthy break between the previous show, in Detroit on 2 March, and this date, due to a cancelled show in Chicago.

Our Los Angeles gig, on Saturday 10th March 1973, eventually came around, it felt as though we had been on holiday for too long and we were glad to be playing again. The gig was huge, the Long Beach Auditorium was an 18,000 capacity stadium and we were all set to enjoy the special occasion immensely. The venue was of course located on the seafront at Long Beach, a few miles out of Los Angeles. Our management had decided that we would use a hotel not too far along the beach from the venue as a nearby base of operations, mostly for the benefit of the road crew I believe. We used the hotel during the break between the sound check and concert time, so we didn’t have to hang around the remote venue, or drive all the way back into L.A. and back out again.

David as usual was on top form, we had heard that Mick Jagger was in the audience, and the Long Beach gig was another storming success; it was great fun and as always it was over in no time at all. As the applause and the cheers and calls for ‘more’ following our encore ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’ were dying away, I wondered why everybody, strangely including the sax players (who usually would fiddle around on-stage collecting mouthpieces or whatever), seemed to have left the stage before I had even unplugged my guitar. Just a little puzzled I went backstage with my new Les Paul Black Beauty, the ‘spare’ guitar that I only occasionally used, still around my neck. I was amazed to find our dressing room completely empty. My clothes had all gone, there was no one there – the place was deserted. I walked around backstage and eventually found one of our English roadies, the young Mick Hince. Mick stared at me, looked as surprised as I already was and said to me, “Hutch. What the fuck you doin’ here?” At that point a slightly flustered Tony Zanetta showed up and asked me exactly the same question.

There had been a plan, but for some reason I had not been present when it had been unveiled to the band. Incredibly everybody on the tour, except for me, knew that three limousines, complete with a Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle escort, were to be waiting backstage and would depart the gig through the big backstage double doors at high speed and with sirens blaring, just a matter of seconds after the last chord of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’ had rung out.

John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson
Bowie & Hutch

The setlist

Last updated: 9 May 2023
Live: Masonic Temple, Detroit
Live: Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles
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