David Bowie’s drummer has said an upcoming film documenting the late singer’s last gig as his celebrated persona Ziggy Stardust will show new musicians “how committed an artist should be and how they should pay attention to details”.
The pioneering musician, who died of liver cancer in 2016, retired his most notable alter ego in front of a 5,000-strong audience at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on July 3 1973.
Fifty years to the day on July 3, Bowie fans will get a chance to witness the moment again as the venue, now named the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, hosts the global premiere of the newly restored version of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars: The Motion Picture.
Reflecting on Bowie’s legacy, Woodmansey told the PA news agency: “He seemed to know the basics in art – what matters, what’s unimportant, what’s important – so his presentation was impeccable.
“He could hold attention and add to the song – that was already good – with all this other stuff and it just had so much impact.
“I think it’s important for audiences to see where a lot of the current stuff and influences have come from and also for for new artists coming up to see how committed an artist should be and how they should pay attention to details.”
“We had everything grooved in, it felt good, we were having fun, the audience was amazing,” he said.
“Bowie was particularly on form, didn’t put a foot wrong. Not that he ever did but I noticed that night – it could have been just because it was the last two shows, there was an extra effort from everybody and the audience just wouldn’t shut up, which is what you want – encore after encore.”
Geoff MacCormack, another former member of Bowie’s band, said it was “extraordinary” for the singer to retire Ziggy Stardust at the character’s peak.
“Later on, when I’d been involved in other shows with David, you could see that he picked up an idea and ran with it for a season or two and then, out of either boredom or creativity or both, he went on to something else,” he added.
“I think he’s helped people be more daring in what they do, rather than standing there as a band, looking at their shoes.”
Oscar-winning filmmaker DA Pennebaker was behind the original concert film, first released in 1979, which documented Bowie making the surprise announcement that the Hammersmith gig would be his last as Ziggy Stardust.
The film features footage of Bowie and The Spiders From Mars backstage and onstage as well as an appearance from Sir Ringo Starr.
It also includes the previously unseen full set and the late Jeff Beck’s performance, which was cut from the original version.
Before the film screening on July 3, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith will host a red carpet premiere and an on-stage conversation with Bowie collaborators and contemporary musicians to discuss the show’s legacy and how the Ziggy Stardust persona impacted the music world.
The film will also be shown in more than 1,000 cinemas worldwide during July.
Tickets for the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith date are on sale from May 16 with global cinema tickets available from May 18.