Recorded and broadcast 5 September 1980 in Los Angeles, David Bowie performed ‘Life On Mars’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ from the recently released ‘Scary Monsters and Super Creeps’ album, on NBC’s ‘Tonight Show’, hosted by Johnny Carson.
This was the first and only time that ‘Ashes To Ashes’ was performed live in its day, and, despite this prime-time appearance, the single peaked at #101 in the US Billboard chart.
Performing with Bowie on the Tonight Show, was a one-off new band that included Carlos Alomar on keyboards and rhythm guitar, G.E. Smith (of Hall & Oates fame) on lead guitar, John Kumnick on bass and Steve Goulding (The Rumour) on drums.
It has been rumoured that this band was assembled for a possible 1981 tour. But sadly, The Tonight Show was the their only public performance. The same individuals also appear in the fake concert footage in the German movie Christiane F. and in the video for ‘Fashion’.