EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY!
Hello Hippies, Hipsters, Rockers, Live Music Lovers and anyone interested in archived rock concert reviews, real-life experiences and observations made during the magical and surreal 1960s and 1970s!
I present true archival reports and reviews on the concerts, music and culture in and around Los Angeles during the Classic Rock Concert Era of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
My life, heart and soul couldn’t have been at a better place in time than in my late teens in the late ’60s in L.A.
Imagine the fun, fresh, thrilling and wonderfully strange impact the artists, their music, the LPs and the concerts had on us upon hearing it all for the first time!
Each countdown is published in asscending chronological order. Enjoy!
All Time Top 10 Historic Rock Concerts 1972 -1975 #10
Santa Monica Civic, Santa Monica, CA (Capacity: 3,000)
This was Bowie’s first ever tour of the US – and of L.A. Regardless that history was being made, I had to be there!
I had both “The Man who Sold the World” and “Hunky Dory” LPs and like most who appreciated Bowie I was under the spell of this unique artist and these wonderful songs. But it was “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” LP that totally won me over as a die-hard Bowie fan. That album puts a smile on my face whenever I see the cover or hear a song; this Ziggy shit kicked ass!
I loved the concept and was ready for a space alien rock star and I got my wish. The songs rocked; Mick Ronson was a hot guitarist/arranger and the whole Spiders band; Woody Woodmansey, drums and Trevor Boulder, bass made for some serious powerful and beautiful rock “n” roll.
This new androgynous hard rock was so good that it made homophobes embrace gay, or at least bi-sexual, culture. Bowie/Ziggy’s music was that good! OK, maybe I exaggerate a little, but Bowie did have the power in the Ziggy persona, to not only take androgyny and rock to higher ground, but also made it all highly accessible – and fun! And even if the Ziggy persona came easy for Bowie, you have to give the dude major due; rock was getting boooring before Ziggy! His sound was refreshing, hard rockin’ and inventive! And since Ziggy was an alien, his look and behavior was welcomed; we could relate to the performer/persona as we were aliens in our own land, therefore, he was a compatriot.
The anticipation and expectation for this concert was higher than usual and for good reason as history has proven, here was the beginning of a true Rock Icon. Bowie “the Chameleon” had it all as a singer, songwriter, performer, producer, actor and savvy businessman as well as the master instigator / pioneer / leader of new forms and styles of music!
Try and come up with someone who has led the change to super cede the times (which is what any true artist must be; ahead of the curve, not a lot, just enough) the list is short.
Or maybe it’s just longevity; if Bowie had died tragically in ’72, so would his history. Bowie might give us a glimpse of what we might have seen from Hendrix, Morrison or Cobain, each in their own way, had they not left so early in their careers and life.
During this time period I was a Record Store Manager, then a Rack Jobber and then back again working at a great specialty record store in Westwood Village just below UCLA. I was getting an insider’s view of the state of rock in the early to mid-‘70s and rock was struggling and losing its edge and spunk. And at a pivotal time too; positioned between the emerging disco and singer / songwriter “Love Songs of the ‘70s” rock was getting marginalized.
So, Rock needed a kick in the nuts and Bowie delivered. Here was something and someone we could get excited about seeing; an outrageous performer with a powerful tight rockin’ band that delivered beautiful punkish songs of hard rock in crystalline-quality recordings and live performances, all wrapped in weird ethereal alienesque goodness. We were saved.
This concert was broadcast live and televised to fans at select theaters for all music fiends who made it their pleasurable duty to witness this Rock “n” Roll Classic!
Unfortunately, the venue’ had bolted-down rows of seats which was not right for this concert – however, I’ve been back since to see White Zombie and later Underworld and they’ve wised-up and the seats are gone – only balconies in the back.
Another cool thing happened during Ziggy’s Reign; I found that to bring up Bowie in any different group of people or with any individuals was a good test of their sincerity or hypocrisy about other issues. Their reactions created a clear way to bring people out in the open. Remember, while seeing images and/or videos of Bowie from back then may still seem outrageous it hardly elicits the same response today as it did then and has since been run into the ground by wannabes decade after decade, after decade.
If you look close at the video you can catch me rockin’ in about the sixth row back from the stage – in the center.
Lineup: David Bowie (guitar, vocals), Mick Ronson (lead guitar, bass guitar, vocals), Trevor Boulder (bass), Mick “Woody” Woodmansey (drums), Mike Garson (keyboards).
Setlist: (Beethoven’s The Ode to Joy), Hang Onto Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Changes, The Supermen, Life on Mars?, Five Years, Space Oddity, Andy Warhol, My Death, The Width Of A Circle, Queen Bitch, Moonage Daydream, John, I’m Only Dancing, Waiting For The Man, The Jean Genie, Suffragette City
Encore: Rock n Roll Suicide
5 MONTHS LATER, …
All Time Top 10 Historic Rock Concerts 1972 -1975 #9
ZIGGY STARDUST and the Spiders from Mars
(Farewell Tour – Aladdin Sane Tour)
Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood (Capacity: 3,500)
Too bad about back-to-back Ziggys! Five months ago was Ziggy’s U.S. debut.
This concert was the last time that David Bowie would perform as Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in the U.S. – and – the last gig of this “Aladdin Sane” U.S. tour!
I love those “last gig of the tour” concerts; everyone gets really hyped, it’s like the special of the special – and it was and usually is! Every group wants a terrific send off and the way to insure that is to deliver.
Ziggy and the Spiders’ were no different – their send-off was a joyous, enthusiastic rock ‘n’ roll event!
This concert deserves an All-Time Top Ten award because of the obvious, plus, like the Stones in ’72 at the same venue as this (see: Top Ten Historic Classic Rock Concerts 1968-1972 # 2 and #1), if you get close enough; 20 to 30 feet from the stage, the entire concert takes on the intimacy of a party which once again created a really intimate concert. Rock Out!
The “A Clockwork Orange” Droogie theme was apparent from the start with the Wendy Carlos (then Walter Carlos) synth Intro to the film booming through the speakers! The concert was cool even before it started!
And what a show, yee gawdz! Check out the set list and you can see that he gave us a greatest hits send-off! Among the tunes featured were from the Aladdin Sane LP – Wow! – Bowie was a very refreshing solid rocker and under the glam and gender-bending were the raw rock basics that were being presented and delivered in a new way. I saw it as the natural progression from the shock of the original rocker of the ‘50s, to the shock of the hippie rocker of the ‘60s – so the shock of a gender-bender rocker in the ‘70s seemed just right.
This was a blast! I love David Bowie, what a talent!
All these ’60s and ’70s Rock ‘n’Roll Icons really spoke to me, the whole scene spoke to me and I am so very thankful to have been born exactly when I was – to put me at those historic concerts and here at this concert. Sigh.
So, needless to say, but I will, Bowie was in top form because he and the Spiders knew who they were performing for; 3,500 hard-core fans that made it to this last stop on the “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Farewell Tour” concert. Solid Rock History!
In the videos you can see the level of professionalism increase within just five months – in the confidence and precision of his delivery. Bowie’s a quick learner, duh!
Lineup: David Bowie (vocals, guitar, harmonica, saxophones), Mick Ronson (guitar, piano, vocals),Trevor Bolder (bass), Mick Woodmansey (drums), Mike Garson (piano),
Ken Fordham (saxophones, flutes), Brian Wilshaw (saxophone), Geoffrey MacCormack (back-up vocals), John Hutchinson (rhythm guitar).
Setlist: Let’s Spend the Night Together, Cracked Actor, Hang on to Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Changes, Five Years, The Width of a Circle, Moon age Daydream, John I’m Only Dancing, The Jean Genie, Suffragette City, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide, Soul Love, Space Oddity, My Death, Watch That Man, Panic in Detroit, Aladdin Sane, Drive In Saturday, The Prettiest Star, Time.