What did David Bowie play at his last gig?

10 January 2021, 20:00

David Bowie performs his last full gig in the UK: closing the Isle Of Wight Fesival, 13 June 2004
David Bowie performs his last full gig in the UK: closing the Isle Of Wight Fesival, 13 June 2004. Picture: Louise Wilson/Getty Images

After a lifetime of epic live performances, how did Bowie bring down the curtain on his career?

This week marks the fifth anniversary of David Bowie's death on 10 January 2016.

Two days before he died, the icon left us a parting gift in his Blackstar album, but he hadn't actually performed live for almost 10 years.

While the last decade of his life was littered with rumours of headline performances and festival slots, Bowie kept himself away from the stage, preferring to live a simple life with his wife Iman and daughter Lexi in New York, while releasing surprise albums.

But what was his last ever show? And what did he play?

READ MORE: Bands that may not have existed without David Bowie

Technically this is Bowie's last performance - introducing Ricky Gervais onstage at New York's Madison Square Garden, 19 May 2007
Technically this is Bowie's last performance - introducing Ricky Gervais onstage at New York's Madison Square Garden, 19 May 2007. Picture: G. Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images

True Bowie fans will know the actual answer to this question is threefold.

On 19 May 2007, Bowie introduced his friend Ricky Gervais to the stage live at Madison Square Garden by singing Little Fat Man from Gervais' Extras series, in which he featured.

See his this video, which Gervais shared on Twitter back on 2016 with the caption: "David Bowie's last ever live performance. Introducing me on stage at Madison Sq Garden. Rock God & Hero".

Watch Ricky Gervais talk about his relationship with David Bowie:

David Bowie's last proper live performance also took place long before he left us. On 9 November 2006 he took to New York's Hammersmith Ballroom for the Black Ball fundraiser, playing three tracks.

Alicia Keys and David Bowie performing at at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, 9 November 2006
Alicia Keys and David Bowie performing at at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, 9 November 2006. Picture: KMazur/WireImage/Getty Images

His cover of Johnny Mathis' Wild Is the Wind was followed by 1979 track Fantastic Voyage, but most notably, his last ever song during the charity show was a rendition of Changes, which featured Alicia Keys.

Watch the grainy video footage, which was shared by Sssimone on YouTube, below:

Despite this being his last ever public performance, it was his gig two years previous which saw Bowie play his last ever official set. The superstar set out on a massive world tour in the autumn of 2003 to support his Reality album. Along the way, he played his last ever full gig on British soil when he closed the 2004 Isle Of Wight Festival on 13 June.

But the tour came to an abrupt end on 25 June 2004, when Bowie and his band stopped off at t Germany's Hurricane Festival in Eichenring, Scheeßel.4

Bowie backstage with Anthonhy Kiedis and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles on 22 April 2004
Bowie backstage with Anthonhy Kiedis and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles on 22 April 2004. Picture: L. Cohen/WireImage/Getty

His career-spanning set kicked-off with Rebel Rebel and included Ashes to Ashes, Changes, The Man Who Sold The World and Life On Mars?

Also on the set were his covers of Iggy Pop's Sister Midnight, Pixies' Cactus and his Queen collaboration Under Pressure.

After suffering from chest pains throughout the gig, Bowie is known to have collapsed off-stage after he played Ziggy Stardust- the last track on his encore.

The star was sent to hospital where it was determined he had suffered a heart attack after an acutely blocked artery, which required an emergency angioplasty in Hamburg.

Bowie cancelled the remaining 14 dates on A Reality Tour and retreated significantly from the spotlight, never formally touring again. His remaining live appearances were at benefits, performing the odd song, and in May 2006, he even joined Pink Floyd man David Gilmour on stage at the Albert Hall in London to perfom the band's classic song Arnold Layne - which Bowie had previous covered on the album Pin-Ups in the 1970s.

Even the release of his album The Next Day on 8 January 2013 (his 66th birthday) couldn't coax Bowie back onto the stage.

Bowie of course always knew that his Blackstar album, which was released on his 69th birthday (just two days before his passing) would never be toured, but he gave us some amazing art to remember him by.

Bowie bids farewell to his British fans at the end of the Isle Of Wight Festival, 13 June 2004
Bowie bids farewell to his British fans at the end of the Isle Of Wight Festival, 13 June 2004. Picture: Louise Wilson/Getty Images

Setlist for David Bowie's final official gig at Germany's Hurricane Festival, 25 June 2004:

Rebel Rebel
Fame
Battle for Britain (The Letter)
Sister Midnight (Iggy Pop cover)
New Killer Star
Cactus (Pixies cover)
All The Young Dudes
China Girl (Iggy Pop cover)
Modern Love
Station to Station
The Man Who Sold The World
Changes
The Loneliest Guy
Under Pressure (Queen collaboration)
Ashes to Ashes
Quicksand
I'm Afraid Of Americans
"Heroes"

Encore:
Life on Mars?
Suffragette City
Ziggy Stardust

Watch Bowie walk off stage at the end of the concert:

Read more: What did Queen play at their last gig with Freddie Mercury?