David Bowie – Serious Moonlight (live ’83)

David Bowie - Serious Moonlight Tour 1983 (thedailybeast.com)

David Bowie – Serious Moonlight Tour 1983


Artist David Bowie
Album Serious Moonlight
Year of release 2019


David Bowie - Serious Moonlight - Tour poster (eil.com)

David Bowie – Serious Moonlight – Tour poster


By 1983 David Bowie had, finally, become a world star. His latest album Let’s Dance was extremely successful and his tour, initially planned for mid-size indoor venues, exploded and moved to outdoor stadiums. In 1984 the tour was released on video (on dvd in 2006)). Last year, on October 12th, the boxset Loving The Alien (1983-1988) was released, of which the audio recordings of the video were a part (and were released on cd/vinyl for the very first time). On February 15th, 2019, the recordings were released as a stand-alone item.

Serious Moonlight Tour

David Bowie - Serious Moonlight (live '83) - Backcover (bol.com)

David Bowie – Serious Moonlight (live ’83) – Backcover

The Serious Moonlight Tour, his first tour since his artistical triumph Isolar II five years earlier, was en route from May 18th until December 8th, 1983, consisted of 96 concerts and was seen by over 2.6 million people. It was the longest, largest and most successful tour of his career thus far and was largely very well received by audiences and critics alike.

Initially the concerts were staged in smaller venues with a maximum of 10,000 seats available), but the phenomenal success of Let’s Dance made the demand for tickets explode. The tour moved outside to stadiums and sold out everywhere.

The band largely consisted of the same musicians that were part of his previous band(s). The talented and upcoming guitar player Stevie Ray Vaughan was supposed to be part of the band as well, but he and his cocaine habit and his entourage all wanted the same thing: lots and easy access to drugs. Bowie had been clean for a while and didn’t want anything to do with it: Vaughan didn’t join. A pity.

The tour started in Europe and opened in Brussels, Belgium. Next up was North America, Asia, Oceania and it ended in Asia again.

The concert on September 12th in Vancouver was filmed for the video release and has now ended up on the (double) cd release.


David Bowie - Serious Moonlight (live '83) (davidbowie.com)

David Bowie – Serious Moonlight (live ’83)

At the time it struck me as odd, and it still does to this day, that only four songs of the big hit album Let’s Dance album were part of the setlist. The album was the main reason behind the phenomenal demand for tickets.

The show’s opening is rather remarkable as well, a non commercial single, off the album Lodger, which, after a beautiful rendition of “Heroes”, is followed by an obscure track off masterpiece Low, of which Breaking Glass is also played, but Sound And Vision isn’t. The setlist is great and is very well performed. Bowie’s voice is strong throughout the entire show and he is audibly having fun playing live and enjoying his success.

The estate of Bowie have found a way of releasing tasteful and fine sounding releases after Bowie’s passing, and this is yet another example. After truly fantastic releases like Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 (2017), Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) (2017), Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) (2018), Glastonbury 2000, this time it’s Serious Moonlight (live ’83). Homage to Bowie and the estate!


  • Look Back in Anger
  • “Heroes”
  • What in the World
  • Golden Years
  • Fashion
  • Let’s Dance
  • Breaking Glass
  • Life on Mars?
  • Sorrow
  • Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
  • China Girl
  • Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
  • Rebel Rebel
  • White Light/White Heat
  • Station to Station
  • Cracked Actor
  • Ashes to Ashes
  • Space Oddity
  • Young Americans
  • Fame
  • Modern Love

Oddly, the songs TVC15StarStay and The Jean Genie are missing. They were part of the setlist that night, fitting in between Fame and Modern Love.

In closing

What’s your take on Serious Moonlight (live ’83)? Let me know!

1 comment

    • Ricardo da Silva Reis on 01/04/2022 at 2:30 PM
    • Reply

    The Serious Moonlight is the best tour ever, even than Madonna series after the Party Disco Ball Your Confessions Tour 2006 !!!

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