David Bowie is absolutely, definitely done with touring. That’s the word from John Giddings, the British concerts veteran who can boast to having hosted one of The Thin White Duke’s final shows.
Bowie has stayed off the road and out of the public eye since he endured a medical emergency in 2004. Whispers of a 2014 Bowie tour turned out to be wishful thinking. And it seems Bowie hasn’t changed his mind.
Giddings, who runs the London-based Solo Agency and helms the annual Isle of Wight Festival, shared Bowie’s thoughts when he spoke at the inaugural International Festival Forum (IFF), a two-day event aimed at professionals from the festivals and booking agency space.
“David is one of the best artists I’ve ever worked with. But every time I see him now, before I even speak to him, he goes, ‘I’m not touring’ and I say, I’m not asking,” quipped Giddings, the U.K.’s Music Week reports.
“He has decided to retire and, like Phil Collins, you can’t demand these people go out there again and again and again. I’m really pleased and proud that the last show he ever did in the U.K. was the 2004 Isle Of Wight Festival.”
The British promoter has a long association with Bowie which dates back to the bombastic 1987 Glass Spider Tour dates at Wembley Stadium.
Though Bowie likes to keep a low profile these days, he’s far from inanimate. He’s recently shared “Blackstar,” the theme for The Last Panthers crime drama, and he penned works for the musical stage show Lazarus (the show’s Belgian director Ivo van Hove was moved to describe Bowie’s new works as “like classics”).
Bowie’s last album, 2013’s The Next Day (Iso/Columbia Records), was a critical and commercial hit which reached No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 2 on the Billboard 200, his highest chart position in the U.S. Bowie helped promote the album by releasing five videos from it.
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of “Liza Jane” — Bowie’s first single released as Davie Jones with the King Bees (he adopted the name Bowie to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ British frontman Davy Jones).
Bowie, who is now 68, underwent an emergency angioplasty in 2004 to relieve an “acutely blocked artery,” his reps said at the time.