David Bowie’s (live) rare performance from the 80s – Carson Tonight Show

David Bowie

On September 5th, 1980, David Bowie made a rare appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, showcasing his undeniable talent with two mesmerizing performances of “Life on Mars?” and “Ashes to Ashes.”

David Bowie

The one-off band, cobbled by Carlos Alomar in the absence of Dennis Davis and George Murray, provided a stunning accompaniment to Bowie’s vocals. After four days of rehearsals, the band flew to Los Angeles for the taping of their performance at NBC Studios. A large contingent of fans had camped outside for the tickets.

By morning, the crowd had swelled to 200, eager to see Bowie’s first US performance in nine months. The Tonight Show performance was Bowie’s only live appearance in 1980 and the only time Scary Monsters material was performed in the year the album was released.

David Bowie

The English singer-songwriter is introduced by Carson with a plug for his new album and speaks about his upcoming performance in The Elephant Man. The audience’s excitement is palpable as Bowie began his first performance with “Life on Mars?” a song from his 1971 album Hunky Dory.

His blissful voice impresses the audience & captures the essence of the song’s poignant lyrics. The talented singer clearly connected with his music, and he effortlessly conveyed the song’s emotion. Bowie’s second performance, “Ashes to Ashes,” is a popular song released in his 14th studio album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).

David Bowie

The song’s electronic sound and beautiful lyrics showcase Bowie’s mesmerizing voice and incredible stage presence. Bowie’s performance on The Tonight Show is a testament to his musical genius. In addition, his ability to connect with his audience is incredible.

Bowie’s rendition of his famous songs on The Tonight Show is a testament to his musical genius. He instantly connects with his fans with a pleasant smile. The live audience on the show would roar with joy after every song. His unique style and powerful stage presence left an unforgettable mark on the music industry.

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David Bowie\'s (live) rare performance from the 80s - Carson Tonight Show