From 2013: David Bowie’s Norwich visits remembered

File photo dated 31/12/1973 of David Bowie, who has died following an 18-month battle with cancer. P

File photo dated 31/12/1973 of David Bowie, who has died following an 18-month battle with cancer. Photo: PA Wire - Credit: PA

In 2013, we published the below article on David Bowie's Norwich visits following the release of his album Where are We Now? We are re-publishing the article today following the death of the Thin White Duke.

Orford cellar plaque in Norwich which mentions the performance of David Bowie and other major artist

Orford cellar plaque in Norwich which mentions the performance of David Bowie and other major artists.

David Bowie is one of the few people whose visit to Norwich was marked by a plaque.

The blue plaque outside the former Orford Cellar in Red Lion Street commemorates his performance there during the 1960s.

Along with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Elton John, Bowie is referenced in the plaque as one of the star names to have performed at the city centre venue.

Kingsley Harris, of the Norwich-based East Anglian Music Archive, said: 'Many legendary artists played the Orford Cellar in Norwich, including David Bowie and the Buzz on September 10, 1966.

'At one point, before his Bowie days, he changed his name to David Jay, inspired by Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers who were formed at Norwich City College.

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'He loved the act and it's also true that he took to wearing brightly coloured suits in his early 80s tours – another Jaywalkers inspired idea as they all wore brightly coloured suits.'

Produced by long-term collaborator Tony Visconti, Where Are We Now? was written by Bowie, and was recorded in New York, where he was last reported to be living with his wife and daughter.

The single is accompanied by a video directed by Tony Oursler which harks back to Bowie's time in Berlin, with his face projected onto the body of a puppet.

Mr Harris added: 'David Bowie is a visionary. One of the first big stars to embrace the digital world which has seen him double his wealth. He is an artist of the highest calibre. He is the biggest art-rock star in the world.

'He has no trouble reinventing himself and has the fanbase to do it successfully. Long live Bowie!'

Bowie also performed at Norwich Theatre Royal on May 21, 1973, where Peter Steward was one of the lucky people to get a ticket, to review the second of Bowie's shows at the venue that day for the Evening News.

Mr Steward, now 60 and living in Hethersett, listened to Bowie's new track 'probably 15 times' yesterday and is excited to see an artist he has seen perform live several times returning to his songwriting roots.

Describing Bowie's 1973 visit, Mr Steward said: 'He was a big name by that point, all the Ziggy Stardust stuff had come out. Norwich was at the cutting edge of the arts then, and it still is to some extent, but it was extremely exciting to have Bowie in the city.

'I think I saw his second show and I think his voice was actually a bit off and he had a bit of a throat problem.

'But if my memory serves me right, I think I remember Deep Purple, Bowie and Monty Python's Flying Circus were all in Norwich that week, so that was three huge acts at the time!'

The new director of Norwich Arts Centre, Pasco Kevlin, is just one of the many Norfolk Bowie fans excited to her the musician's new material.

Mr Kevlin said: 'I remember reading that Bowie turned down Danny Boyle, who invited him to contribute to the Olympics opening ceremony and thinking that was probably it, one of my heroes has retired.

'Bowie was always keen to push the boundaries between art and popular culture, to embrace the unexpected, inspiring generations of artists and fans to go out there and experiment, he would be missed.

'Where Are We Now?, released on his 66th birthday, is a lovely song, reflective, reassuring, and still questioning.

'I am really looking forward to the album release in March and know that it will be full of surprises.'