Local journalist Melita Dennett recalls the life-changing moment when she saw David Bowie at Brighton Dome
23 May 2018
Imagine, or re-live, the moment David Bowie performed Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane at Brighton Dome, on this day in 1973, with help from Melita Dennett's wonderfully detailed recollection of the show (even down to the nail varnish she wore)
“And then came the news I'd been awaiting: Bowie was playing in Brighton. Off we all packed in the car for the day, my mother and little sister off on an extended shopping trip while my father waited patiently as we queued for five tantalisingly long hours in New Road for the box office.
And what a queue. Men-not-men seven feet tall in their platforms, some screaming camply in sequins, glitter and makeup, others in denim flares with kohl-eyed girls in Biba outfits, purple lipstick and white tights, or "dead legs" as my mother would call them. These people were freaks, the un-normal, from another world, Bowie World.
It was looking like we'd be unlucky, but we got two of the very last tickets, in the back row of the circle, £1.20 each, then we went to the Lyons Corner Shop on the corner with North Road for a well-deserved cuppa.
£1.20. Might as well have been worth a million pounds. I had a ticket to see David Bowie!
And finally the day came. 23rd May 1973. I wore my green denim flares with bullet-shaped shiny silver studs down the side seams and raised studs on the flap over the flies, and silver nail varnish (an experiment that didn't last too long, albeit a bit longer than the brown lipstick). My father drove to Brighton and as he and I made our way up to our seats in the gods, the excitement was almost unbearable.
A film came on with some odd dream-like sequences, and a bit where a woman's eye was sliced with a razor led the whole Dome to let out a collective "Urrrhh!" then some weird fairground music and oh this was getting annoying... Then suddenly the Spiders from Mars appeared and as Bowie rushed onto the stage, the crowd below surged forward frantically down the aisles and across the seats, raising their hands to the leper messiah. I managed not to be sick with excitement as the Spiders tore into the set, trying to dance in between the seats and taking as much of this whole scene in as I could, Bowie resplendent with his golden disc on his forehead, Ronson's electric blowjob, Garson bashing the piano discordantly in the Aladdin Sane solo, Bowie's outrageous Japanese suit ripped in two, and the almighty collective roar that resonated round the domed roof when he sang on Drive In Saturday about "the strange ones in the dome"....
It was over all too quickly, but this was it: I knew there was another life, another world because I'd seen it, here in Brighton Dome. It wasn't just about Bowie, it was the realisation that you could step outside of stifling conformity, normality and find that other world for yourself. It was just Bowie who lit the way for me and innumerable others.
After that, nothing could be, would be, should be the same ever, ever again -- at least for this strange one in The Dome.”