The lead up to the first downunder concert in 17 years was met with a buzz to say
of Wellington (which had already delighted in winning the location over
Auckland) was widely promoted across New Zealand as the concert centre.
The chosen venue - Westpac Trust Stadium - indicated that Bowie and his
promoter had confidence in drawing a very large crowd and this particular
concert was set to be Bowie's biggest audience for a singular billed show
in over 10 years.
To start the ball rolling, in December 2003 Bowie set a national record
for internet sales - outselling Springsteen, Robbie Williams and all other
artists who had toured the nation previously.
selected stadium was primarily a venue for New Zealand football and it
was carefully divided up between Gold ($99) seating both in the stands
and on the playing surface as well as Diamond ($175) for the choice seating
near the stage.
With the stage facing to the east side of the stadium
and the seating in front, the usual capacity was reduced from approx.
38000 to 28000 for the event.
for Westpac Trust Stadium
In the days leading up to the event, numerous Bowie fans descended upon
the capital city. Concurrently, music stores became stocked with Bowie
albums and displays, articles appeared in newspapers and billboards were
Most accommodation in the city was sold out well over
a month before.
Display, Wellington Feb 12.
A "David Bowie Holiday" to Wellington 2004. Gullivers
in conjunction with Qantas.
The Spiders From Mars Bars Band
On the night before the concert - February 13, several fans witnessed
'The Spiders from Mars Bars Band' - a band of locals who came together
for the occasion.
For many attendees, it was the only live Bowie event
they'd experience as ticket prices for the main show were out of the range
'The Spiders from Mars Bars Band' played some Bowie classics
before culminating in a extended psychedelic version of 'Magic Dance'.
Spiders from Mars Bars Band, Wellington Feb 13, 2004. Photo by Adam D.
Later that evening back in Courtenay Place, people were seen busking,
singing and literally dancing in the streets to Bowie.
One busker worked
up a crowd with a bluesy impression of 'The Jean Genie' played on electric
the Jean Genie, Courtenay Place, Wellington Feb 13, 2004. Photo by Adam
In the New Zealand Herald, Matt Martel reported that the best thing about
Bowie playing Wellington was in fact that the whole city got excited:
"Every store was playing Bowie all day; the bars and restaurants were packed
and the Air New Zealand trolleydolley sang Space Oddity as our plane landed
Photos by TJNWorldEnterprises. Gerry Leonard (guitarist) and Gail Ann Dorsey (bassist) in Wellington.
Shopfront, Wellington Feb 13, 2004.
As for David Bowie, he kept a low profile in the days leading up to the
concert. He was at one point seen in Wellington's Lambton Quay area.
Photos by TJNWorldEnterprises.
Photo by TJNWorldEnterprises.Mike Garson (keyboardist) in
Wellington 2004. Photos by TJNWorldEnterprises.
Gerry Leonard in Wellington. Photos by TJNWorldEnterprises.
Mike Garson (keyboardist) in Wellington. Photo
Wellington 2004. Photo
sent in by TJNWorldEnterprises.
on the evening of the big event, Ferryman's Bar became host to the first Bowie Downunder meet up in New Zealand.
4:30 PM, The Best of Bowie DVD began playing to a small band of unsuspecting
regulars. As Bowie fans arrived, the focus turned to the huge event that
was only hours away.
Anna - who
arrived in from Christchurch, recalled her Air New Zealand flight announcement
which was to 'enjoy the Bowie concert'. This apparently followed by three
quarters of the passengers applauding.
Mike, Anna, Adam, Rachel and Isabel.
A number of other fans (Louise, Shane, Kristen and her brother Paul) had
just finished interviews for TV NZ whilst Mike Harvey (webmaster of the
Ziggy Stardust Companion) had been
featured in the local print media.
as the rain pelted down outside, the fans never blinked an eyelid. The
anticipation of the first downunder concert in 17 years (albeit an outdoor
one) was enough to kill any real concerns about the weather.
Louise, Adam, Shane and Charly.
Bowie fans at Ferryman's Bar.
PAGE: The First Downunder Concert in over 16 years!
RETURN to Reality Tour Index