Is David Bowie Going to Tour or Not? A Review of Evidence

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Ever since The Next Day was announced, there’s been no end of speculation over whether or not its creator would be playing live shows. Clearly, the answer we’re all fervently hoping for is “Yes,” especially if, like your correspondent, you’ve never seen the great man play live. Bowie himself has remained steadfastly silent on the question of whether or not he’ll tour, and as such, the music press has been seizing on any and every utterance from people close to him on the subject. We’re not immune to the excitement, of course, so here’s a roundup of everything that’s been said. And our verdict? It’s looking more promising by the day, put it that way.

January 11: He’s definitely not touring Tony Visconti, who seems to be the Bowie collaborator most inclined to running his mouth on the subject tells the NME that no one should be getting excited about live shows, ever: “He’s fairly adamant he’s never gonna perform live again… One of the guys would say, ‘Boy, how are we gonna do all this live?’ and David said, ‘We’re not’. He made a point of saying that all the time.” Boo.

January 13: He could tour, but he’s not going to A couple of days later, Visconti spoke to England’s Daily Telegraph. Addressing rumors that Bowie was sick or suffering from Alzheimer’s, Visconti insisted that the singer was fit and well: “He’s very healthy, he’s very fit. He had the heart operation and that’s it. He’s long since recovered from that… He doesn’t want to tour any more. He’s had enough of it. But he hasn’t ruled out that he might do a show. It was a relief to me to hear that he was open to that.”

January 15: Look, he might play the occasional show, but seriously, no tour Two days later, Visconti had reconsidered matters further. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed that he’d spoken to Bowie in the interim: “I spoke to him two days ago and he said, ‘I’m really adamant I’m not gonna do a tour.’ And he said, ‘If I might, I might do one show.’ But who knows when… He says that he will only play if he feels like it, but no tour. Like, if [sic] wanted to do the odd show in New York or, I don’t know, London, he would if he felt like it.”

January 25: The band wouldn’t be surprised if he did Rolling Stone have made it their mission over the last couple of months to interview everyone remotely connected to The Next Day, and in late January they spoke to guitarist Earl Slick. He’s as mystified about the possibility of a tour as everyone else, but doesn’t rule it out: “With David, and this has always been the case, he does what he’s gonna do when he’s gonna do it. A lot of the time it just comes from nowhere. I mean, I wasn’t terribly surprised to talk to him about making another record. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did call about live dates.”

February 20: Well, OK, maybe a tour’s not out of the question A month later, Rolling Stone collared guitarist Gerry Leonard, who was substantially more upbeat about the prospect of a tour than Visconti: “”I would say that it’s 50-50… A couple of times, when we played back one of the more kick-ass tunes from the new record, he’d be like, ‘This would be great live!’ Of course, everyone was like, ‘What? Did he just say that?’ But other times he’d just roll his eyes if someone brought up playing live.”

March 13: Hang on, wait, what is Iman talking about? And finally, today’s news, wherein Iman let slip to celebrity rag Grazia that “We have a 12-year-old in school, so we are stuck, we can’t travel. Our schedule is around her, so I don’t know. We’ll have to go visit him, but we won’t be on tour with him because she’s in school.” Visit him where? ON TOUR? Gahhhhhhhhhh stop teasing us already…

In celebration of David Bowie’s first album in a decade, The Next Day – and, you know, because we really love him and will seize any excuse to write about him — we have officially declared David Bowie Week at Flavorwire. Click here to follow our week-long coverage of rock legend, from his new release to a legacy that now spans nearly half a century.