David Bowie performs ‘Lady Stardust’ live in 1972

Rare footage of David Bowie performing 'Lady Stardust' at the Rainbow Theatre, London in August 1972

Supported by Lloyd Watson and Roxy Music, David Bowie’s second UK tour kicked off on Saturday 19 August 1972 with two sold-out shows at the Rainbow Theatre in London, heralded by Record Mirror‘s front page ‘Bowie Sell-Out’.

The Rainbow concerts opened with a screening of Un Chien Andalou, the 1929 silent surrealist show film by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, followed by ‘Ode To Joy’ as Bowie “emerged from shadows” through a cloud of dry ice. With a photo of Marc Bolan projected onto the screen, the band launched in ‘Lady Stardust’.

This video shows rare footage of the performance, as well as clips from other performances in 1972 and some backstage footage from 1973 – all shot by Mick Rock. As the original footage had no audio, it’s been synched to a 1972 radio session version of ‘Lady Stardust’.

The Rainbow set included the forthcoming single ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’ and ‘Starman’, where Bowie acknowledged both the venue and the song’s melodic origin by inserting a snatch of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’.

As the show progressed, the screen showed a series of images of Bowie, landscapes and art compiled by Mick Rock, who filmed the show for his (still unreleased) documentary Ziggy Across The Rainbow, which included interviews with fans and guests such as Elton John.