by Hannah Furness / Telegraph
13th May 2013
Any live performance by David Bowie these days would be met by thousands of screaming fans and rave reviews worldwide.
But unseen footage from a 1972 concert suggests his fame was not always so assured, with an audience made up of his adoring young wife and “two men and a dog”.
Video from the small concert, to be broadcast as part of an upcoming BBC documentary, shows a screaming Angie Bowie surrounded by just a handful of other fans as she looks up at a Ziggy Stardust performance.
Her support, it has been claimed, helped transform Bowie into a global phenomenon, as the world aligned with the “rock star” persona he adopted.
The footage is just one of the unseen clips from David Bowie: Five Years, which focuses on 1971, 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1983 as the “critical” moments of the artist’s career.
John Harris, an author and journalist interviewed as part of the programme, said the early footage of Bowie showed how his then-wife helped to build his reputation.
“What Ziggy Stardust does is it projects him as a rock star,” Mr Harris said. “He sings about the imagined experience of being a rock star, and in doing that becomes a rock star.
“There’s a story about his wife Angie in the front row screaming about him as if he was a rock star, despite the fact that two men and a dog were there.
“What happens then is really the world fulfils his fantasy; it aligns itself with what he wants to be. Which I think is what psychologists calls self-actualisation. Not many people can do it but he did.”
The 90-minute documentary, which also features interviews with some of Bowie’s closest collaborators and friends, will be broadcast on BBC Two on May 25.
As well as outtakes from video shoots, press conferences and fans, the programme also features archive footage from Bowie giving insights into his life.
On one occasion, he talks about being “very, very worried” about his life prior to moving to Berlin, saying he had “come close several times to overdose”.
“It was like being in a car going towards the edge of a cliff,” he said in an interview. “I had almost resigned myself to the fact I’m going over the edge and I’m not going to be able to stop.”