"I had a virtual one-to-one with David Bowie" - Looking back at the music icon's Sheffield performances

Over the course of his illustrious career that spanned more than four decades David Bowie performed all over the world, but did you know he played Sheffield five times and partied into the night at one of city’s hotels?

By Sarah Marshall
Monday, 10th January 2022, 11:26 am

David Bowie’s incredible life came to an end in January 2016, after he lost his 18-month battle with cancer and died surrounded by his family just a few days after turning 69.

He would have celebrated his 75th birthday on January 8 2022.

The impact and influence he had on music is undeniable, and he continued to produce critically-acclaimed albums and songs until the end of his life and his final album, Blackstar, was released a matter of days before his death.

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David Bowie in concert at the Sheffield Arena in 1995

Here, we take a look back over the five occasions he played at venues across Sheffield between 1972 and 1995.

The first time Bowie performed in Sheffield was at Sheffield Students’ Union in February 1972 on his Ziggy Stardust tour, as part of University Rag week.

But he failed to draw much of a crowd on that occasion.

Barry Everand was among the handful of attendees at Bowie’s first Sheffield gig.

David Bowie in concert at the Sheffield Arena in 1995

"I was on the entertainment committee and very excited that he’d been booked...He was not scheduled to go on until about 1.30am. I was quite shocked to get into the room to find a guy manning the bar, and standing next to four drunken lecturers chatting up four slightly inebriated girl students. I found myself the only person paying him any attention. It was amazing that someone who would later be so central, and vital, in music I had a virtual one-to-one with. When every Bowie album came out it was an event,” said Barry in 2016.

The Starman then returned to the city twice more that year, playing at Sheffield City Hill in June 1972, and then at Top Rank Suite the following September.

The Ziggy Stardust tour subsequently performed at the City Hall again in June 1973.

Bowie performed two shows, a matinee and evening performance, in the Oval Hall.

After the shows, he partied into the night at the now closed Hallam Hotel in Broomhill.

Carole Leader, a retired receptionist at the hotel, recalled Bowie making a call from his room late at night.

“He called me late on switchboard, and asked me to send a telex, which had to be dictated an would print out at the other end,” said Carole in an interview in 2012.

She added: “I had to write it all down and read it out to a lady at the Grosvenor Hotel who had to send it from there. It was about him and someone he had met in Sheffield in some intimate detail!”

Following his string of performances between 1972 and 1973, it took Bowie 22 years to visit the city again when he performed at Sheffield Arena as part of his Outside tour in December 1995.

Scores of Sheffield performers and artists paid tribute to the Thin White Duke following his death in 2016.

Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker said: “The fact he managed to make yet another artistic statement when he was obviously ill and knew he was dying – I think that’s incredible.”

Artist Pete McKee said: “Bowie spoke to the misfit kids and outsiders. He made us not feel alone in a world that didn’t understand us.”


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