When Bowie Came To Leeds – Kirkstall Rolarena

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NEW YORK - JANUARY 1973: Singer David Bowie poses for a portrait at RCA Studios in January 1973 in New York City, New York. (Photo by David Gahr/Getty Images)

Although David Bowie was proud of his Yorkshire heritage, which he fondly spoke about in several interviews throughout his life, he only ever performed in Leeds once. 

What’s more, he came to a relatively unusual venue! One that no longer exists.

On Friday, June 29th, 1973, Bowie performed at the Kirkstall Rolarena, a converted ice skating rink, which stood where the ITV studio is found today.

But how did Bowie end up performing at such an unlikely venue?

The gig was originally scheduled at the University of Leeds, however, Bowie reportedly cancelled the show hours before he was due to go on stage, stating that the stage was not big enough for his flamboyant style of performing.  

However, this comes under dispute when considering that the likes of Led Zepplin, The Who and even Pink Floyd had all performed there without complaint…

This has led to speculation surrounding the real reason for the reschedule, some people believe that Bowie and his band had been out the night before and were unfit to perform.

We don’t know which version of history to believe… if you have any further information… We’d love to hear it!

Needless to say, Bowie’s show was rescheduled at the Kirkstall Rolarena, where he came to perform two shows in one day, costing just £1.25 per ticket. Here’s a photo of the ticket:

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Paul, who was at the gig told the Yorkshire Evening Post “It was one of the strangest couplings of performer and venue in rock and roll history. 

“Possibly the real reason for the cancellation lay in the rumour that the band were indisposed at their hotel, the Post House at Bramhall. “Bowie’s tour itinerary that June lists cancelled shows at Portsmouth and Coventry as well, which may give a clue as to the level of ‘tour fatigue’.”

“Bowie’s tour itinerary that June lists cancelled shows at Portsmouth and Coventry as well, which may give a clue as to the level of ‘tour fatigue’.”
“I can only imagine I was saving the battery by recording some, rather than all, of the gig!” he said. “It was fantastic right from the start. The Spiders came on to the Walter Carlos’ version of Beethoven’s Ninth from the film Clockwork Orange, and went straight into Hang On To Yourself.

“The crowd, even without skates, moved like tigers on Vaseline and never stopped until the end of the encore – White Light, White Heat. “What I’d give for that crackly

“What I’d give for that crackly audio cassette tape now. All these years later, it’s still one of the most memorable gigs I’ve ever attended.”

 

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