Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The First Thing David Bowie Said Was 'Hello, Newcastle."' the Problem Was That the Concert. Was at Roker Park, Sunderland; How Rock Icon's 1987 Outdoor Show Was Marred by Rain, Unfamiliar Songs and a Geography Mix-Up

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The First Thing David Bowie Said Was 'Hello, Newcastle."' the Problem Was That the Concert. Was at Roker Park, Sunderland; How Rock Icon's 1987 Outdoor Show Was Marred by Rain, Unfamiliar Songs and a Geography Mix-Up

Article excerpt

THIS week in 1987 David Bowie touched down in the region for a massive 38,000 sell-out concert.

Newcastle United's St James' Park had hosted the likes of Queen, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, during the early '80s.

Now it was the turn of Sunderland's Roker Park to stage a major show.

Sales of tickets, priced PS15.50, for the June 23 concert had been brisk.

The Chronicle reported hundreds queuing through the night and braving wind and rain at Newcastle City Hall which was one of the ticket outlets.

Sharon Brayson, then 19, of Walker, Newcastle, said: "David Bowie is our favourite star and there is no way we would go to such lengths for anyone else."

At the Roker Park ticket office, Helen Roper, 20, from Whitley Bay said: "It's been an awful night but it's worth it, and I'm really looking forward to the concert."

Bowie, 40 at the time, was in the middle of his Glass Spider tour which would take him to over 100 cities around the world and generate millions of pounds.

Sunderland FC general manager Geoff Davidson said: "I think it's good for the club, as well as the people of the town."

It was estimated the concert would gross a whopping PS600,000, with merchandise on top of that, and the football club would net PS50,000.

Bowie, of course, was no stranger to the region, but this was his first show in the North since a trio of shows at Newcastle City Hall in 1978. The day of the concert, saw clouds in the North East skies and, indeed, Bowie one of pop's great all-time performers, would deliver a below-par performance in the opinion of many who were there.

The Chronicle reported on the show the following night: "David Bowie, who kept fans on tenterhooks when his flight was delayed, left the 38,000-capacity crowd in a subdued mood at the end of his two-hour stint.

June 1987 "Most of the crowds were blissfully unaware of the last-minute delays that occurred when the star's Boeing 747 was grounded for a time in London."

Support came from the Screaming Blue Messiahs and Big Country, before it was time for an over-due Bowie to take the stage.

Our reporter went on: "The show promised to be a spectacular one as the lights went up on the gigantic glass spider set. …

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