Bowie in Hemel: The gig

David Bowie bootleg of Hemel Hempstead gig
David Bowie bootleg of Hemel Hempstead gig

As the music world reels from the death of David Bowie we look back at his infamous gig in Hemel in 1972.

The show, which took place on May 7, 1972 at the Pavilion, was one of the first concerts of the Spiders From Mars tour.

Still seen by some as the definitive David Bowie line-up, the Spiders From Mars formed in early 1970s, and featured Mick Ronson on guitars, Trevor Bolder on bass guitar, and Mick Woodmansey on drums.

They were named after the landmark 1972 Bowie album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders from Mars, and were billed as such on the accompanying tour. The group also played on Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane and tour.

The Ziggy tour took in 182 shows over 18 months, starting in neighbouring Aylesbury on January 29, 1972.

But the Hemel show, only the 22nd concert of the series, has been remembered as a particular highlight, and after many years the bootleg of the show emerged a few years ago with excellent sound quality.

T he World Of Bowie Bootlegs website says: “This show is one of the most sought-after. It was rumoured to be around in 
certain circles for quite a long time and only one song was open to a wider public until now: Gotta Get A Job. So I was really excited when I got it in a trade not so long ago.

“It’s simply another great document of the early Ziggy phase with powerful versions of Moonage Daydream (David shouting all his passion out) or Waiting For The Man with a mind-blowing guitar solo of Mick Ronson.

“Also he performs some tracks only present in the early Ziggy phase like I Feel Free or Gotta Get A Job/Hot Pants.”

Meanwhile, on the Bowie fansite TeenageWildfire, 100PCB writes: “Quality-wise it’s pretty up there with the best of the 72-74 material.

“Setlist-wise pretty much same as Kingston ’72, however this has a full live version of ‘Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud’ which makes the tape pretty unique.”

The full set list:

1/ Hang On To Yourself

2/ Ziggy Stardust

3/ The Supermen

4/ Queen Bitch

5/ Song For Bob Dylan

6/ Changes

7/ Starman

8/ Five Years

9/ Space Oddity

10/ Andy Warhol

11/ Amsterdam

12/ I Feel Free

13/ Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud

14/ Moonage Daydream

15/ White Light, White Heat

16/ You Got To Have A Job

17/ Suffragette City

18/ Waiting For The Man

Were you at the Bowie show in Hemel Hempstead? Email your memories to or comment below.