Remembering when David Bowie entertained intimate crowds at Liverpool
David Bowie was no stranger to entertaining crowds of thousands of adoring fans throughout his breakthrough career.
But when the influential musician set foot in Liverpool, it was almost always a more intimate affair. In just over two months, in June, Bowie history is set to return to Liverpool with the first-ever World David Bowie Fan Convention.
An array of special guests who have played a role in Bowie’s career are set to appear, including guitarist and bandleader of over 20 years Carlos Alomar and longtime bassist and vocalist Gail Ann Dorsey.
READ MORE:The World David Bowie Fan Convention lines up for the Liverpool event
After touring the world, Bowie has done what he does best in the city many times throughout his five-decade long career. Don’t believe us? Just take the word of some of those who had the honor of seeing him perform live. In 2014, ECHO asked its readers to tell us about the best concert they had ever attended.
At the time, Walton native Simon Archer recalled being there when Bowie made an appearance at the town center nightclub, Top Rank Suite, in September 1972. He said: “I didn’t know much- anything about David Bowie apart from Space Oddity and Starman and even less about the Ziggy Stardust tour. What a performance, though. Bowie, with his classic Spiders line-up of Mick Ronson on guitar, Trevor Bolder (bass) and Woody Woodmansey (drums) blew us away.
“Right after the show I called my mum to ask if she could pick us up and she asked what band we had seen. At the time she ran a well-known women’s fashion boutique in Manchester and, when I told her it was David Bowie, she said “it’s a coincidence. He was in my shop today buying women’s sweaters. In the meantime, watch out for a big fat Black Mercedes because she dropped it off and picked it up.
“Bernie and I walked to the back door of Top Rank, a black Merc pulled up and, as Bowie got into the car, we yelled at him. Honestly, I can’t remember what we said, but he waved at us and we sat in the car until the rest of the crew arrived. He couldn’t have been friendlier and was so thrilled that we were so blown away by the concert. Even then I thought it was going to be huge, but I was a little worried about the jumpers, they were very different days.
The next time Bowie set foot on Merseyside was nine months later, when he had established himself as an iconic representative of 1970s culture. His appearances at the Empire Theater earned him a page three of the Liverpool ECHO magazine.
The ECHO critic said: “David Bowie arrived at the Empire before the first show wearing blue trousers and a dazzling silver jacket. As if that weren’t enough to recognize him, his hair was bright orange Her fans also sported Bowie hairstyles and fashions, although no one went so far as to change their hair color to orange.
It wasn’t until 1991 that the Space Oddity singer would return to entertain a crowd in the city. Cheerful Bowie fans lined up to see the star perform a set at the art deco theater in Roe Street as part of his Earthling tour. The show kicked off with Hunky Dory’s Quicksand and also featured fan favorites Fashion, Fame, Jean Genie and Under Pressure.
Bowie would return six years later, with his next choice of venue, at a time when he could easily pack arenas of over 20,000, being the intimate 2,000-seater Royal Court in August 1997.
The day before the highly anticipated show, which was Bowie’s last time performing in Liverpool, an ECHO reporter wrote: “The idea, suggest those who know him, is to reconnect him with his fans, with a real audience that he can see. and interact with, rather than an ocean of faces. he likes eye contact, and that’s not really possible in an arena.
An ECHO reviewer was lucky enough to be part of the small crowd for the performance. They gave the show full marks before writing, “Just Bowie. Not a dot in the distance or a giant image on a video screen. But on stage close enough to touch his audience, plus his excellent musicians, as always…Time may have changed Bowie but it hasn’t changed his genius as a musician and performer.