The Ultimate U.S. David Bowie Tour


On January 10, 2016, the world lost one of the creative giants of the 20th and 21st centuries when David Bowie succumbed to liver cancer. The original Starchild, Bowie launched the Progressive/Glam Rock era and created innovative and unforgettable music spanning the late '60s until his recent passing after releasing his final album, Blackstar. The entertainment giant also starred in and scored classic films like Labyrinth, The Hunger and The Man Who Fell to Earth, leaving behind an incredible creative legacy. Fans mourning the loss of Bowie can honor the legend in many ways. One of the most epic ways, though, is to plan a David Bowie tour, spanning places which resonate with memories of the iconic artist.

Washington-Dulles Airport
Our first stop on the Bowie Tour isn't exactly a musical hotspot. But completists will wish to hit up this Washington hub, because it was the first time the iconic artist touched American soil. Bowie first came to D.C. to visit his publicist in 1971, on his way to Los Angeles. The young artist had just released The Man Who Sold the World and was detained for several hours by customs—possibly due to his androgynous look and the two dresses in his suitcase.

Cleveland Music Hall
DAVID BOWIE as Ziggy Stardust with Mick Ronson at right in 1972Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

September 22, 1972 marked a quintessential day in David Bowie history. It was the opening date of his Ziggy Stardust Tour and the first time he'd toured the United States. On that cool autumn evening, lucky fans caught a glimpse of a musical force taking shape at the Cleveland Music Hall. By the end of the tour, David Bowie was on his way to international superstardom. But it all started here in Cleveland on an otherwise unassuming fall equinox.

Carnegie Hall
Many musicians wait their whole life to play Carnegie Hall. For David Bowie, the legendary music hall served as his New York debut in 1972, on the first U.S. leg of his Ziggy Stardust tour — while his star was hitting an early high note. As a fitting memorial, Carnegie Hall plans to honor the masterful songwriter and performer later this year with a tribute show featuring well-known artists covering his songs (the proceeds will be donated to charity).

On Broadway
Jan 11, 2016 - DAVID BOWIE, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians aZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy

The next leg of the Bowie tour takes us to Denver, Colorado of all places. In addition to his chameleonic talents in the music and fashion world, David Bowie was an accomplished actor. Performing on stage and film since the late 60s, Bowie opened his first show of "The Elephant Man" at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (which later opened on Broadway) on July 29, 1980. A staged version of Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man, Bowie's performance as Joseph (nee John) Merrick — a man whose deformities made him an outcast during Victorian times — received glowing reviews and the play ran on Broadway into 1981.

Glen Helen Regional Park
Scooting across the country, we wind up at San Bernardino, California's Glen Helen Regional Park. The "Serious Moonlight" tour began it U.S. leg at Apple cofounder Steve Wozinak's US Festival. Bowie played classics and selections from his new "Let's Dance" record on Memorial Day in 1983. At the height of his '80s fame, Bowie once again proved his ability to reinvent himself and innovate the sounds of the day.

Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame
David Bowie RememberedGetty Images

Coming full circle, the David Bowie Tour returns to Cleveland, Ohio. On January 17, 1996, the gods and goddesses (or at least, the members of the museum board) of rock deigned the Thin White Duke worthy of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. David Byrne of the Talking Heads presided over the ceremony as Bowie was inducted into the musical museum, although he was unable to attend due to touring obligations and his induction was accepted by Madonna. The Hall of Fame also displays a selection of his costumes and paraphernalia on display among its exhibits.

The Paris Theatre
The acting skills of David Bowie once again provide a stop along our Bowie Tour, bringing us back to the Big Apple. In 1996, Bowie art mimicked life, as Bowie recreated the art and music culture of the late '60s and early '70s which he helped create. He played Andy Warhol in "Basquiat," Julian Schnabel's biopic of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a talented homeless street artist who catches the pop artist's eye and becomes a meteoric celebrity. Bowie was joined at the premiere by his often collaborator Lou Reed at the Paris Theatre in New York on July 31st.

Walk of Fame
The next leg of the tour finds you in LALA land. Throughout the past decades, countless iconic figures have been honored with their own gold star along the Walk of Fame, which stretches for fifteen blocks on Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. David Bowie was awarded his own star in 1997, located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd, currently in front of a fitness center. Fans and celebrities have recently made this section of sidewalk into a makeshift memorial, placing candles and baubles around the star.

New York Theatre Workshop
David Bowie RememberedGetty Images

We now hop back to New York for a slice of David Bowie's brilliance and sadly prescient avant-garde musical, Lazarus. Co-written with playwright Enda Walsh, Bowie attended opening night on December 7th at the New York Theater Workshop. Starring Michael C. Hall, the off-Broadway performance marks the return of Bowie's Thomas Newton (based on The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis), an extraterrestrial who finds life on Earth more complicated than he'd imagined. The performance is still running and is a fitting allegorical swan song for Bowie.

Bowie Residence in SoHo
It may sound a little morbid, but what better way to finish the ultimate David Bowie tribute tour than taking a short drive from a stopover in Manhattan — the very place the pop icon chose to spend his last hours. Bowie was reportedly charmed by America during his many stateside tours and trips. Although he had dwellings around the world, including one on the private Caribbean Island of Mustique, the singer of "Young Americans" spent his twilight hours in his SoHo apartment in New York City.



Andy L. Kubai is a freelance writer and transplanted Austinite who's been exploring the internal and external wonders of his new home for the last 5 years. Find out more about Andy on his website.

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