Diamond Dogs Tour

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Diamond Dogs Tour
Tour by David Bowie
Bowie performing at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina on 5 July 1974
Associated album Diamond Dogs
Start date 14 June 1974
End date 2 December 1974
Legs 3
Number of shows 73
David Bowie concert chronology

The Diamond Dogs Tour was a concert tour by David Bowie in North America in 1974 to promote the studio album Diamond Dogs (1974). The end of the tour was also called The Soul Tour, which included some songs from the forthcoming album Young Americans (1975).

Tour preparation and details[edit]

Bowie during the Diamond Dogs Tour on 5 July 1974 at the Charlotte Coliseum

Two months of rehearsals were required to get the tour ready, in part due to the elaborate set & props required for the show (reported to cost $275,000 per set,[1] or about $1,320,000 today).[2] Originally the tour was planned to appear in a city for 5 nights before moving on to the next city, but that plan was abandoned early on. The tour started in June 1974 in Montreal, Canada as the "Diamond Dogs Tour" (although producer Tony DeFries demanded the tour be referred to as "The Year of the Diamond Dogs" when speaking with the press). Bowie recorded radio and television commercials for the tour, which played in advance of the tour's arrival in each city.[3] The tour took the month of August 1974 off, during which time Bowie began recording his follow-up studio album, Young Americans. On 10 October 1974, after the tour had resumed, Bowie abandoned the extravagant theatrical set and re-branded the tour "The Soul Tour," which would continue through the end of the North American leg in December.[1]

In 1987, Bowie recalled how difficult the tour was early on before changing it into the 'Soul Tour', saying "I was in a bad state of mind to have attempted that. It was pretty exciting, but I was so blocked [laughs], so stoned during the entire thing that I'm amazed I lasted with it even that one trip across America before I ditched it."[4]

Set design[edit]

The set for the theatrical Diamond Dogs tour, which was built to resemble a city (called "Hunger City"),[3] weighed 6 tons and was incorporated over 20,000 moving parts including a variety of props (such as streetlamps, chairs and catwalks). The props themselves weren't ready for use until a mere 6 days before the show opened, which led to a variety of technical problems during the tour: a movable catwalk collapsed once during the tour with Bowie on it.[3] In 1990, while preparing for this Sound+Vision Tour, Bowie recalled the difficulties faced by the show, saying it "was good fun and dangerous, with the equipment breaking down and the bridges falling apart on stage. I kept getting stuck out over the audience's heads, on the hydraulic cherry picker, after the finish of 'Space Oddity.'"[5]

Other props worked as expected: for the song "Big Brother", Bowie sang from inside a multi-mirrored glass "asylum," emerging during the next song ("Time") from a giant hand.[1]

The show in Tampa, FL, was performed without any of the stage props because the truck driver driving those components was delayed after being stung by a bee.[1]

In 1987, while preparing for the Glass Spider Tour (which picked up theatrically where the Diamond Dogs tour left off), Bowie recalled about the extraordinary nature of the set he used during the Diamond Dogs tour, saying "We had four skyscrapers on stage, with bridges that went backwards and forward and would go up and down. The whole things was built on a city pretext. I had dancers working with me and it was choreographed and was a real fantastic musical event. I thoroughly enjoyed working like that.[6]

Live recordings[edit]

Main article: David Live

A live album was culled from July 1974 performances at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia. It has been said that Bowie's refusal to pay the musicians more than scale wages led to a revolt by the band, who refused to play until they were paid $5000 a piece. Bowie acquiesced only 20 minutes before curtain time.[3]


Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
14 June 1974 Montreal, Quebec Canada Montreal Forum
15 June 1974 Ottawa, Ontario Ottawa Civic Centre
16 June 1974
(two shows)
Toronto, Ontario O'Keefe Centre
17 June 1974 Rochester, New York United States Rochester Community War Memorial
18 June 1974 Cleveland, Ohio Public Auditorium
19 June 1974
20 June 1974 Toledo, Ohio Toledo Sports Arena
22 June 1974 Detroit, Michigan Cobo Hall
24 June 1974 Trotwood, Ohio Hara Arena
26 June 1974 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Syria Mosque
27 June 1974
28 June 1974 Charleston, West Virginia Charleston Civic Center
29 June 1974 Nashville, Tennessee Nashville Municipal Auditorium
30 June 1974 Memphis, Tennessee Mid-South Coliseum
1 July 1974 Atlanta, Georgia Fox Theatre
2 July 1974 Tampa, Florida Curtis Hixon Hall
3 July 1974 Casselberry, Florida Seminole Jai-Alai Fronton
5 July 1974 Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte Coliseum
6 July 1974 Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro Coliseum
7 July 1974 Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk Scope
8 July 1974 Upper Darby, Pennsylvania Tower Theater
9 July 1974
10 July 1974
11 July 1974
12 July 1974
13 July 1974
14 July 1974 New Haven, Connecticut New Haven Coliseum
16 July 1974 Boston, Massachusetts Music Hall
19 July 1974 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden
20 July 1974
2 September 1974 Los Angeles, California Universal Amphitheatre
3 September 1974
4 September 1974
5 September 1974
6 September 1974
7 September 1974
8 September 1974
11 September 1974 San Diego, California San Diego Sports Arena
13 September 1974 Tucson, Arizona Tucson Convention Center
14 September 1974 Phoenix, Arizona Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
15 September 1974 Anaheim, California Anaheim Convention Center
16 September 1974
5 October 1974 Saint Paul, Minnesota Saint Paul Civic Center
8 October 1974 Indianapolis, Indiana Indiana Convention Center
11 October 1974 Madison, Wisconsin Dane County Coliseum
13 October 1974 Milwaukee, Wisconsin MECCA Arena
15 October 1974 Detroit, Michigan Michigan Palace Theater
16 October 1974
17 October 1974
19 October 1974
20 October 1974
22 October 1974 Chicago, Illinois Arie Crown Theater
23 October 1974
28 October 1974 New York City, New York Radio City Music Hall
29 October 1974
30 October 1974
31 October 1974
1 November 1974
2 November 1974
3 November 1974
6 November 1974 Cleveland, Ohio Public Auditorium
8 November 1974 Buffalo, New York War Memorial Stadium
11 November 1974 Landover, Maryland Capital Centre
14 November 1974 Boston, Massachusetts Music Hall
15 November 1974
16 November 1974
18 November 1974 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Spectrum
19 November 1974 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Civic Arena
25 November 1974 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Spectrum
28 November 1974 Memphis, Tennessee Mid-South Coliseum
30 November 1974 Nashville, Tennessee Municipal Auditorium
1 December 1974 Atlanta, Georgia The Omni



  1. ^ a b c d Kamp, Thomas (1985), David Bowie: The Wild-Eyed Boy 1964-1984 (1st ed.), O'Sullivan, Woodside & Co. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Edwards, Henry; Zanetta, Tony (1986), Stardust: The David Bowie Story, ISBN 0-07-072797-X 
  4. ^ "David Bowie Opens Up - A Little" by Scott Isler, Musician Magazine, August 1987, pp 60-73
  5. ^ Clarke, Tina (1990), "David Bowie: Ornament - Oddity - Artist - Survivor", Elle (magazine) 
  6. ^ Morse, Steve (July–August 1987), "David Bowie (Cover Story)", In Fashion magazine 3 (10): 151, 153