Ian Dickson recalls 'In 1971-72, I was living in the north-east of England, learning my craft and earning my living as in-house photographer to the University Theatre in Newcastle Upon Tyne. On one particular opening night, I was introduced to a Bob Brown, who turned out to be the manager of City Hall, at that time the major rock venue in Newcastle. Bob gave me an open invitation to come long to the venue with my camera to photograph the many acts who appeared there, instructing his stage doorman to let me in whenever I turned up.
I proceeded to build up a considerable portfolio of work which I eventually took down to London during the summer recess in 1972. I established contact with Gavin Petrie, then the editor of Disc & Music Echo, who told me I was in a good situation, encouraging me to send down photographs from the many first nights of bands who began their tours in Newcastle.
Then, just after New Year in 1973, Gavin rang me to ask if there was any possibility of me getting some shots of David Bowie who was due to appear at the City Hall on the 7th. He explained to me that Bowie’s management had placed a blanket ban on all photographers. I told Gavin I’d see what I could do and went to see Bob Brown. As we settled down in his office, each of us with a glass of Johnny Walker in his hand, I explained the situation.
With a twinkle in his eye, he suggested a plan whereby I would become an usher for the evening, complete with torch and armband, with my Nikon concealed under my jacket.
Came the night of the gig and my temperature was sky-high, but I wanted those pictures and so I turned up fully-wrapped to combat the chills, with my camera and a 105mm lens tucked under my coat. At the time, there were no professional armies of heavy-handed security teams used at gigs. The job marshalling the paying customers fell into a handful of regular kids who were also music fans. As I was a regular feature at the Hall, so there were no raised eyebrows, when I turned up wearing my ‘camouflage’ and I got my pictures without any problems – apart from running out of Kleenex.'
This image is available to buy as a limited edition fine art print here