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Saturday September 25th 1971

friars aylesbury phase two - borough assembly hall, market square, aylesbury

first world performance of hunky dory

exclusive friars interview with trevor bolder


David Bowie
mick softley   lol coxhill
related friars history (click on date)
David Bowie

Saturday January 29th 1972 Saturday July 15th 1972   Friars Dunstable Wednesday June 21st 1972

Iggy Pop (David Bowie) Tuesday March 1st 1977

Mick Softley Monday February 23rd 1970 Monday March 16th 1970 Monday April 20th 1970  Monday May 4th 1970 Monday June 1st 1970

Lol Coxhill  Monday June 9th 1969  Monday June 16th 1969  Monday June 30th 1969

Hunter Ronson Band (Mick Ronson) Wednesday March 19th 1975

 Fill Your Heart, Buzz The Fuzz, Space Oddity, Amsterdam, The Supermen, Oh You Pretty Things, Eight Line Poem, Changes , Song For Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Queen Bitch, Looking For A Friend, Round And Round, Waiting For The Man
band line up
David Bowie
David Bowie (guitar/vocs)  Mick Ronson (guitar) Trevor Bolder (bass)  Woody Woodmansey (drums)
gig poster and flyer (click to enlarge flyer)



Woody Woodmansey:   The Aylesbury Friars Club gig sticks in my mind as one of Bowie and the Spiders favourite gigs. I remember the first time we played we'd spent weeks working out the show and it was the first airing of a Bowie and Spiders concert that we then took around the world! The audience reception was the best.

Rick Pearce, Friars fan from Aylesbury: Above everything else I really remember a sense of occasion. I had heard the singles, Space Oddity, Prettiest Star (with Marc Bolan) and Memory Of A Free Festival. I had also heard chunks of Man Who Sold The World on the radio so I knew that whatever happened this was going to be something special.

Having arrived at the Borough Assembly Hall and seated ourselves on the floor (as one did back then) we heard that America would not be appearing as support were being replaced by Mick Softley and Lol Coxhill. It was shaping up to be an interesting evening, although this anticipation was not shared by the two girls seated in front of us who were loudly complaining that they had only come to see America (by this time Middle England was well into its infatuation with almost anything Californian and acoustic)

Mick Softley was on first and did not go down well with some sections of the audience. The two girls in front were becoming more strident with every song. Incensed by the background noise and lack of attention, he walked off briefly but was persuaded to return. The only song I really remember was Time Machine, which reminded me of Roy Harper in some ways. Mick deserved a better audience.

Lol Coxhill came on stage almost immediately. Wearing a granddad vest and longjohns (or maybe a set of combinations of the kind one was sewn into for the winter back in the glorious days of Empire), Lol perched on a stool with his Soprano Sax and made it clear that he was just there to improvise and we could listen, go to the bar or talk amongst ourselves and he wouldnít mind a bit

We did all three but Iím afraid most of the music went right over my head. These days I know Iíd really appreciate all the textures subtleties and nuances but back then I was just a simple rockophile. Meanwhile the two girls in front kept up their ceaseless complaint.

Bowie arrived on stage to a collective OOOH! worthy of Frankie Howerd. Iím not sure what some people were expecting. Major Tom, or a drag act or something of both, but he certainly looked different. Wearing huge dark blue oxford bags, a white satin jacket and the red and black platforms seen on the   reissue of the Space Oddity album, he was light years away from your average beardy, shaggy muso bloke. Mick Ronson, who was accompanying on bass and acoustic guitar also looked fairly individual in a grey smock thing with pleats that looked like a schoolgirlís gymslip, white shirt, jeans and girlís shoes

Moving on from the fashion notes and getting to the music, Bowie and Ronson were an awesome duo. Doing Biff Rose and Jacques Brel covers and, of course Space Oddity they made the hall as intimate as your living room. Eventually they brought on the other two soon to be Spiders, who did look like beardy, shaggy muso blokes, and later someone who had been in The Animals. They played a quiet and thunderous version of Supermen and a nicely unadorned Oh You Pretty Things/Eight Line Poem and Changes. Even the two girls in front had shut up and started to take notice. I had recently discovered The Velvet Underground and was delighted to hear the band and Lou Reed eulogised from the stage as part of the between song chat before Queen Bitch. Bowie did some great Lou impersonations that night finishing the set with Waiting For The Man. From memory it was all very similar to the BBC In Concert from earlier in the year but without the guest vocalists.

t was a brilliant evening and I could never run out of superlatives describing it. Almost everyone I knew at the time was there and most of us agreed that we had been given a glimpse of something truly wonderful and very different. Although Iím afraid hindsight always helps at times like these.One thing I do like to imagine though, is the two girls in front forgetting all about America, lost in the desert with their nameless nag, and instead spending the last three decades dining out on how they saw the pre Ziggy Bowie for 50p

Melody Maker got in on the act (sorry about the quality)

Melody Maker press cutting (thanks Neil Storey)

odds and trivia
what happened?
Do we need to actually say anything? Bowie unleashed Ziggy Stardust in 1972 at Friars and never looked back. Has been on a hiatus for a few years but re-appeared singing with David Gilmour in London on his last tour in 2006.

Surprised everyone with a new album in 2013 with no prior clues or warning and then released Blackstar on January 8th 2016, his 69th birthday, and passed away from cancer two days later, the world unaware he had been ill.

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