‘Life On Mars?’ performed live in 1976

A mash-up of footage and recordings of 'Life On Mars?' from David Bowie's 1976 Isolar tour

Another mash-up of footage and recordings by Nacho Video, this time of ‘Life On Mars?’ from David Bowie’s 1976 Isolar tour. Below Nacho explains the origins of the footage.

“Because there is simply no decent quality video material available from the 1976 Isolar tour, of a complete song, anything we can get is valuable, was my rationale. So basically, this video is a rather desperate attempt to use the one-minute of not-that-great footage from the last show of the tour, in Paris. And to make up for the gaps in the Paris footage, I’ve thrown in a little from the Vancouver rehearsals, and Phillipe Bergeron’s Montreal Forum footage.

This live audio was recorded at the Nassau Coliseum, New York on the 23rd March 1976. It is available on Live Nassau Coliseum ‘76 – part of the Station To Station reissue box set, released in 2010.

Perhaps Bowie tired of singing Life On Mars; he dropped it from the set on the latter part of the Ziggy tour, in June ’73, despite it being No. 3 in the UK charts at the time. It didn’t feature at all on the ’74 Diamond Dogs tour.

It reappeared in the set, on the Station To Station tour in ’76. However, it was in a truncated form; at just about two minutes long, only the first half of the song was performed, and after the mid-song guitar break, the band segued into Five Years. Moreover, the performance of Life On Mars on the ’76 shows seem rather cursory to me. Did Bowie regard it as merely a warm up for Five Years?

Whereas, he performed awesome versions of Five Years during that period – check out the mesmerising performance of it on the Dinah! Show.

Bowie didn’t perform Life On Mars on the entire ’78 tour, and we don’t hear him sing it again until the excellent one-off performance on the Tonight Show, in 1980.”