Live: Theatre Royal, Norwich

David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars performed two shows at Norwich’s Theatre Royal on 21 May 1973.

It was the 117th date of the Ziggy Stardust Tour, which had begun on 29 January 1972.

I had never been to Norwich myself before, but I guessed that it would be very much like so many other rural English towns – or cities as they are sometimes allowed to call themselves when they have a large cathedral in their town. Sorry, city. Well it was indeed a very nice, quiet kind of place, and on Monday 21st May 1973 the Theatre Royal Norwich was filled with a lot of a very nice, quiet kind of people. David Bowie was both amused and perplexed, along with the rest of us, we hadn’t seen anything like the Norwich audience anywhere. The crowd enthusiastically applauded David’s opening songs, but nobody seemed to be getting overexcited about the show, and they all remained in their seats. These people were all more like me really, I wouldn’t have been leaping up and down either, given that someone would have had to buy me a ticket and insist that I attend, but this sort of behavior was most unusual on our tour.

David had obviously decided to prove that point, for suddenly in mid-song he dropped over the front of the stage and down into the centre aisle of the Theatre Royal Norwich. Stuey George was obviously considering grabbing David and carrying him back on-stage, but Stuey managed to restrain himself and instead prowled along in a crouch behind David as he made his way up the aisle, still singing. It was one of the most bizarre scenes that we were to witness on our travels, David Bowie aka Ziggy Stardust then just sat down on the floor, legs crossed, half-way up the aisle in the centre of the auditorium and waved back at the band on stage. David did receive a tremendous ovation for his move, but at any of our previous gigs, in any other city, he would have been risking having his clothes torn to pieces. Norwich simply did not do rock and roll hysteria that evening, it was just a pleasant gig and we all had a quiet night.

John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson
Bowie & Hutch
Last updated: 10 May 2023
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