Live: Hammersmith Odeon, London

David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust Tour culminated with two consecutive nights at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. This was the first of the shows.

Ticket for David Bowie at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 2 July 1973

It was the 153rd date of the tour. Attending the show was film maker DA Pennebaker, who had been contracted by RCA to deliver 30 minutes of live footage. However, once the concert began it became clear that a feature film was a far better prospect.

We hurried to the Hammersmith Odeon, where the next-to-the-last concert was about to take place. I had never seen an audience like that… made up of one gigantic group of back-up singers… they were wonderful. We were only supposed to do a half-hour show for RCA. It was supposed to be a thing on this new record they’d invented that could do visual and audio at the same time called SelectaVision and they only wanted half an hour. Five minutes into that night’s concert, I realised that there was a feature film here, crying to be made.

That night we filmed bits of the concert, as well as the audience to check the lighting. It was an incredibly exciting concert experience, a long way from the Dylan concerts I had filmed for Don’t Look Back. And Bowie himself was stunning. I have never seen anyone turn on an audience, men as well as women, the way he did that night. The minute he strode out on stage I could see that he was a character looking for a film.

DA Pennebaker
Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars commentary, 2003

Peter Harvey from the Record Mirror interviewed Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey of the Spiders From Mars, at London’s Hertford Hotel where, among other subjects, they discussed a forthcoming tour of America. That tour never took place, and the following night Bowie sensationally broke up the band.

The first show was brilliant, probably spurred on by it being a London gig and that extra adrenalin you seem to find when the finishing line is in sight. These two gigs had been added to replace the cancelled Earl’s Court gig – the disaster a distant memory by now.
Mick Woodmansey
Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie

Steve Jones, later to become the Sex Pistols’ guitarist, lived in Hammersmith at the time, and sneaked into the Odeon with a friend before the show. They stole Bowie’s microphone, Trevor Bolder’s spare bass guitar amplifier, and two of Mick Woodmansey’s cymbals. Cook confessed the theft to Woodmansey when the drummer appeared on the radio show Jonesy’s Jukebox in April 2016.

‘I want to make amends for that, on aid,’ Steve said. ‘How much do I owe you for the cymbals?’

I still thought he was joking at this point, so with a straight face I replied, ‘A hundred and twenty thousand pounds.’

‘No, I’m serious,’ he said, taking a sheaf of dollars out of his pocket.

‘Two hundred dollars,’ I said, which he promptly handed me.

‘Good, I feel better about that,’ he said. ‘It’s been on my conscience since then.’

Mick Woodmansey
Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie

Bowie returned to the Hammersmith Odeon on 30 June 1983 during the Serious Moonlight Tour, and 2 October 2002 for the Heathen Tour.

The setlist

Last updated: 23 October 2023
Live: City Hall, Newcastle
Live: Hammersmith Odeon, London – Bowie breaks up the band
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