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1983 Serious Moonlight Tour (AUS/NZ)

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Sydney: November 19-20

To finish up the Australian leg of the tour, David Bowie played two back to back shows at Sydney's RAS Showgrounds.

As in 1978, the venue was once again going to pose a problem with noise emission - and in turn, the local council and residents once agan objected.

Paul Dainty considered the (newly built) Entertainment Centre as an alternative but it was deemed too small.

After a lengthy, well publicised hearing, the Sydney concerts were given the go ahead ... but with restrictions (for example - no rehearsals were allowed and the concerts had to be over by 10:15 PM).

 

 

The Queue

At the first Sydney concert, thousands apparently lined up from 9 AM.

As the morning went on, TV cameras were sent to film the scene for the evening news, and radio stations gave bulletins.

It was a long, hot wait until the gates opened at 2:00 PM.

By 4:00 PM the crowds were so thick that members of the road crew, and David's entourage were coming on stage with cameras to capture the scene.

Above: Sydney RAAS Showground, 1983. Photo by Geoffrey Schuck

Models

At 6:00 PM, the support band - the Models - were due to go on. They apparently performed a good show although the crowd remained subdued.

"At one point someone with very bright blonde hair walked out....and screams erupted.

People stood up, but the poor man stood still, shocked. He shook his head, waved and left. He was the drummer from the support band.

~ Starzone.

Above: Models in their 1983 video 'I Hear Motion'

 

 

David Bowie

 

By the time Bowie was set to go on stage, it was nearly dark.

The large video screen lit up clearly on a clear, balmy night, complete with a full - and serious - moon.

Minutes before going on stage, Bowie presented members of an Aboriginal dance school a cheque for an unspecified amount. Present were the stars of the 'Let's Dance' video, and it was a welcome boost for the school as funds were running out.

Bowie then walked up the stairs and strode on to the Sydney stage.

 

 

Above: Photo by Dennis O'Reagan, 1983 - from his book Ricochet. Buy this stunning book here.

 

 

The first chords to "Look back in Anger" played and David ran out.

The crowd went wild.

 

Above: Sydney, 1983. Photos by Geoffrey Schuck.

 

A large group standing a few rows from the front began to push sending those near the stage further forward.

 

People were fainting from the heat and closed atmosphere.



The crowd were mostly recent fans who had caught up with the 1983 Bowie, and this was evident at the reception he received for his new material after "Heroes".

 

It was a stunning performance, the same as the shows in the other cities. Practice had certainly made perfect."

 

~ Starzone.

Above: Sydney, 1983. Photo by Geoffrey Schuck.


In exhaustion everyone prepared to file out.

But there was a surprise - the sky lit up to a magnificent fireworks display.

 

 

The Second Concert

 

On the final night, the concert began extra early to avoid disturbing the nearby residents. This meant that the show was half over before the video screen was able to be seen.


Regardless, the second show was reportedly even better than the first and Bowie was in fine voice - strong, pure and carrying all around the grounds.

 

Above: Sydney, 1983. Photos by Recy Kypri via Bruce Butler.

 


A 25,000 strong crowd stamped and clapped for an encore as fireworks split across the night sky to spell out:


"Goodnight Sydney and Thank You Australia".

Sydney Set list
20 Nov, 1983


1 Look Back In Anger
2 "Heroes"
3 What In The World
4 Golden Years
5 Fashion
6 Let's Dance
7 Breaking Glass
8 Life On Mars
9 Sorrow
10 Cat People
11 China Girl
12 Scary Monsters
13 Rebel Rebel
14 White Light White Heat
15 Station To Station
16 Cracked Actor
17 Ashes To Ashes
18 Space Oddity
19 Young Americans
20 Fame
21 TVC-15
22 Star

Encore
23 Stay
24 The Jean Genie
25 Modern Love

 

Above: Sydney, 1983. Photo by Recy Kypri.

 

 

Around Sydney

Whilst in Sydney, Bowie went on a hired boat ride in Sydney Harbour to alegedly "write some new songs, and to get away from it all".

The previous night, he had been 'nightclubbing' at Jamison Street disco.

The press told stories of how Bowie keeps fit by boxing, and mentioned that he often went to beaches to practice. Early risers were told they would get a chance to see him practice if they could guess which beach he went to.

Fans kept a vigil outside his hotel and newspapers carried stories of those lucky enough to meet him and receive autographs.

According to Starzone, 1983 wasn't the awed welcome of 1978 but more like "a special hello to an old friend".

Above: Record store display Sydney, 1983. From David Bowie's Serious Moonlight The World Tour


 

Leaving Australia in 1983

Above: David Bowie departs Sydney airport (almost) unnoticed on 22 November 1983.

 



 

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