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Saturday January 29th 1972

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

first world performance of ziggy stardust

exclusive friars interview with trevor bolder


David Bowie
Grand Canyon
related friars history (click on date)
David Bowie Saturday September 25th 1971 Saturday July 15th 1972

Friars Dunstable Wednesday June 21st 1972

Iggy Pop (David Bowie) Tuesday March 1st 1977

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:

'Some authorities will tell you that it all started at the Toby Jug, Tolworth on the 10th February but that was still twelve days away. Friars was where it really began. Almost everything was in place, from the new image with its attendant publicity, to the new songs. There was just a six month wait until the album was released.

We piled into the Borough Assembly Hall full of eager anticipation. So fast in fact that Ronno, still on stage fiddling with his pedals, had to exit rapidly as we staked out an area at the front and settled down to wait. Things seemed to be shaping up for a great night but unfortunately there was a serpent in the garden in the form of support band Grand Canyon. Where this ghastly bunch of sub Stones chuggers came from and what they were doing sharing a bill with DB will remain one of life’s mysteries. The best that can be said is that amongst the tired riffs and sock stuffed split white trousers (weakened seams one assumes), there was an overdose of arrogance which just about got them through, although even this failed to save them from being a pile of llama dung. Anyway, these empty vessels came and went, all bluster and bull, no substance. Ian Hunter once described the fate of many support bands as “a passing irritation before the headliner”. Let that serve as Grand Canyon’s footnote in history

The almost named Spiders looked a little uncomfortable in their new stage gear and Trev had yet to grow his sidies to their full silver sprayed garden gnome glory but Bowie and band were tight and well rehearsed which was just as well with the teething problems that followed. It started with the pickup falling off Bowie’s new guitar which was quickly gaffa taped on for the rest of the set, but worse was the intermittent fault that caused Ronno’s guitar to cut out continuously. He had a brief respite when he switched to piano for Life On Mars but this gig was clearly full of frustrating moments for him.

Eventually Bowie and Ronno swapped amps which seemed to solve the problem. An enduring memory comes from the end of the set during Waiting For The Man with Ronno producing an uncharacteristically clean sound from his Les Paul while Bowie, thrashing great fuzztoned washes of sonic chaos from his twelve string, thrust and gyrated the neck lewdly in the direction of his guitarist’s hindquarters. All great stuff and an amusing precursor to the ‘electric blow job’ which became a regular feature after its debut at Oxford Town Hall that summer. The set finished with Rock & Roll Suicide and I have a clear memory of seeing a magazine photo some time later, of a friend, instantly recognisable by her long blonde hair and bright yellow floor length cardy, clutching Bowie’s hands as he reached down from the stage.

This was a huge leap forward for Bowie and a massive change made in only four months. Rebirth? Metamorphosis? Your choice. And so, unlike Yeats’ rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem to be born, Ziggy came sashaying out of Beckenham fully formed and in the process made our little corner of the world a better brighter place."

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.

Grand Canyon despite extensive research, we've no idea who they were or what they are doing now

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