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Isolar II – The 1978 World Tour

Isolar II – The 1978 World Tour
Tour by David Bowie
David bowie 05061978 01 150.jpg
David Bowie performs in Oslo, Norway, 5 June 1978.
Associated albumLow & "Heroes"
Start date29 March 1978
End date12 December 1978
No. of shows78
David Bowie concert chronology

The Isolar II – The 1978 World Tour,[1] more commonly known as The Low / Heroes World Tour or The Stage Tour,[2] was a worldwide concert tour by David Bowie. The tour opened on 29 March 1978 at the San Diego Sports Arena continuing through North America, Europe and Australia before reaching a conclusion at the Nippon Budokan in Japan on 12 December 1978.

Tour development and song selection

Originally, Brian Eno planned to be a part of the tour band, but had to drop out due to health reasons. The band only had two weeks to rehearse for the tour. Carlos Alomar was the tour's band leader and drove the rehearsals.[3]

The set list for the performances consisted of material from the previous years' albums, Low and "Heroes", with the second half of each performance opening with a five-song sequence from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album. Bowie had the band learn the entirety of the Ziggy Stardust album in rehearsals, although most of the songs were never performed live on the tour. The instrumental track "Art Decade" typically followed the Ziggy Stardust tracks, a mellow track to follow the energy of the Ziggy Stardust material.[3] Tracks from the 1976 album Station To Station were the closing numbers. In the late 1980s, Bowie regarded some of the songs he performed live on the tour as a bit "ponderous", referring specifically to some of the long instrumental performances such as "Warszawa."[4]

A short intermission split a typical night's show into two parts, and for the second Bowie wore a snakeskin drapecoat and "huge baggy white pants."[3]

Set design

The stark fluorescent tube lighting approach of the previous 1976 tour, was further developed and expanded to create a large cage of tube lighting, which enclosed the stage with the ability to pulsate moodily during the slower instrumental pieces and flash frantically during the faster songs.

Tour incidents

The show in Marseille was disrupted by a blown PA (coincidentally during the song "Blackout").[3]

The Australian leg of the tour included Bowie's first concert performances in Australia and his first large-scale outdoor concerts.[2] For the first two dates, keyboardist Dennis Garcia substituted for Roger Powell, who had a previous commitment with Utopia.

Live recordings

The performances at Providence Civic Center, Boston Garden and Philadelphia Spectrum were recorded for the live album Stage. Tour pianist Sean Mayes recalled that for the show that night, they slowed the tempo down (of most songs) for the recording, the only night such a change was made.[3]

The performance on 10 April 1978 at the Dallas Convention Center was filmed for a television special titled "David Bowie on Stage", where six songs were broadcast: "What in the World", "Blackout", "Sense of Doubt", "Speed of Life", "Hang On to Yourself", and "Ziggy Stardust". The performances at Earls Court in London, England were filmed by David Hemmings, with extracts broadcast on a British TV programme, The London Weekend Show. The film has yet to be released. The performance at the NHK Hall in Tokyo, Japan on 12 December 1978 was filmed and broadcast on Japanese TV's The Young Music Show.

The final night of the Earls Court performance was recorded by the RCA mobile unit with the live performance premiere of the song, "Sound and Vision", later released on the 1995 compilation album, Rarestonebowie. The song was not performed live again until the Sound+Vision Tour in 1990.

Record Store Day on 21 April 2018 saw the release of Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78). It was recorded at Earls Court on 30 June and 1 July 1978.[5][6]

The tour band remembered that "every show was taped" for Bowie's private use, and the tapes were carefully guarded by Alomar.[3]


This is the typical setlist for all tour dates except for some dates. Originally, the whole album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was set to be performed in the middle of the setlist.

  1. "Warszawa"
  2. ""Heroes""
  3. "What in the World"
  4. "Be My Wife"
  5. "The Jean Genie"
  6. "Blackout"
  7. "Sense of Doubt"
  8. "Speed of Life"
  9. "Breaking Glass"
  10. "Beauty and the Beast"
  11. "Fame"
  12. "Five Years"
  13. "Soul Love"
  14. "Star"
  15. "Hang On to Yourself"
  16. "Ziggy Stardust"
  17. "Suffragette City"
  18. "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide"
  19. "Art Decade"
  20. "Station to Station"
  21. "Stay"
  22. "TVC 15"


  1. "Rebel Rebel"

Tour band

Band road management, road crew, showco crew, personal staff

  • Jan Michael Alejandro – Band Tech (Pre Jan-Al Cases)
  • Vern "Moose" Constan – Band Tech
  • Rob Joyce – Stage Manager
  • Leroy Kerr – Band Tech
  • Edd Kolakowski – Piano and Keyboard Tech (Australia, New Zealand and Japan dates)
  • Buford Jones – FOH Mixer
  • Townsend Wessinger– Showco Sound Crew
  • Billy King– Showco Sound Crew
  • Russell Davis– Showco Sound Crew
  • Randy Marshall– Showco Sound Crew
  • Glenn George– Showco Sound Crew
  • Lonnie McKenzie – Showco
  • Warren Cunningham – Showco Lighting Crew
  • Dirk Arnold - Showco Lighting Crew
  • Rick Hunnicuut – Showco Lighting Crew
  • John Mitchell – Showco Lighting Crew
  • Juan Gonzales – Showco Lighting Crew
  • Kevin Di Piazza – Showco Lighting Crew
  • Richard Brown– Showco Lighting Crew
  • Kevin Randall– Showco Rigging Crew
  • J. Smith– Showco Rigging Crew
  • Lyle Centola– Showco Rigging Crew
  • Morris Lyda – Production Consultant/ Advance Mgr
  • David Bernstein – Cargo Guru (Pre Rock-it Cargo)
  • Tony Macia – Mr Bowie's Driver / Bodyguard
  • George, Stuart (Stuey) -Mr Bowie's Bodyguard
  • Eric "B" Barrett –Tour Manager / Lighting Designer
  • Ronn Roberts – Asst To The Tour Manager
  • Pat Gibbons – Tour Manager / Accountant
  • Truck Drivers (Europe) Richard Boote & Gwyn Lawrence
  • Coco Schwab – Mr Bowie's Personal Assistant

Tour dates

Date City Country Venue Attendance Revenue
North America
29 March 1978 San Diego United States San Diego Sports Arena 9,837 $93,286[8]
30 March 1978 Phoenix Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
2 April 1978 Fresno Selland Arena 4,953 $42,592[8]
3 April 1978 Inglewood The Forum 44,415 $402,307[9]
4 April 1978
5 April 1978 Oakland Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
6 April 1978 Inglewood The Forum
9 April 1978 Houston The Summit
10 April 1978 Dallas Dallas Convention Center
11 April 1978 Baton Rouge LSU Assembly Center
13 April 1978 Nashville Municipal Auditorium 7,096 $59,749[10]
14 April 1978 Memphis Mid-South Coliseum
15 April 1978 Kansas City Municipal Auditorium
17 April 1978 Chicago Arie Crown Theatre 8,555 $87,022[11]
18 April 1978
20 April 1978 Detroit Cobo Arena
21 April 1978
22 April 1978 Richfield Richfield Coliseum
24 April 1978 Milwaukee MECCA Arena 7,015 $50,691[12]
26 April 1978 Pittsburgh Civic Arena
27 April 1978 Landover Capital Centre
28 April 1978 Philadelphia The Spectrum
29 April 1978
1 May 1978 Toronto Canada Maple Leaf Gardens
2 May 1978 Ottawa Ottawa Civic Centre
3 May 1978 Montreal Montreal Forum
5 May 1978 Providence United States Providence Civic Center
6 May 1978 Boston Boston Garden
7 May 1978 New York City Madison Square Garden
8 May 1978
9 May 1978
14 May 1978 Frankfurt West Germany Festhalle Frankfurt
15 May 1978 Hamburg Congress-Centrum
16 May 1978 Düsseldorf Philipshalle
West Berlin Deutschlandhalle
18 May 1978 Essen Grugahalle
19 May 1978 Cologne Sporthalle
20 May 1978 Munich Olympiahalle
21 May 1978 Bremen Musikladen
22 May 1978 Vienna Austria Wiener Stadthalle
24 May 1978 Paris France Pavillon de Paris
25 May 1978
26 May 1978 Lyon Palais des Sports de Gerland
27 May 1978 Marseille Parc Chanot
Palais des Sports de Marseille
31 May 1978 Copenhagen Denmark Folketeatret
1 June 1978
2 June 1978 Stockholm Sweden Skansen
Kungliga Tennishallen
4 June 1978 Gothenburg Scandinavium
5 June 1978 Oslo Norway Ekeberghallen
7 June 1978 Rotterdam Netherlands Rotterdam Ahoy
8 June 1978
9 June 1978
11 June 1978 Brussels Belgium Forest National
12 June 1978
14 June 1978 Newcastle upon Tyne England Newcastle City Hall
15 June 1978
16 June 1978
19 June 1978 Glasgow Scotland The Apollo
20 June 1978
21 June 1978
22 June 1978
24 June 1978 Stafford England New Bingley Hall
25 June 1978
26 June 1978
29 June 1978 London Earl's Court
30 June 1978
1 July 1978
11 November 1978 Adelaide Australia Adelaide Oval
14 November 1978 Perth Perth Entertainment Centre
15 November 1978
18 November 1978 Melbourne Melbourne Cricket Ground
21 November 1978 Brisbane Lang Park
24 November 1978 Sydney RAS Showgrounds
25 November 1978
29 November 1978 Christchurch New Zealand Queen Elizabeth II Park
2 December 1978 Auckland Western Springs Stadium
6 December 1978 Osaka Japan Koseinenkin Kaikan
7 December 1978
9 December 1978 Banpaku Kaikan
11 December 1978 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
12 December 1978 NHK Hall



  1. ^ Sean Mayes, Life on Tour with David Bowie: We Can Be Heroes, Independent Music Press, 2003, ISBN 978-1-897783-17-7
  2. ^ a b Nicholas Pegg, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2004, ISBN 1-903111-73-0
  3. ^ a b c d e f David Currie, ed. (1985), David Bowie: The Starzone Interviews, England: Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-0685-8
  4. ^ Isler, Scott (August 1987), "David Bowie Opens Up – A Little", Musician magazine: 60–73
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Rare and unreleased David Bowie albums set for Record Store Day 2018 - NME". 1 March 2018.
  7. ^ Jones, Dylan (2017), David Bowie: A Life, Crown/Archetype
  8. ^ a b "Billboard Box Office 15 April 1978" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Billboard Box Office 22 April 1978" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Billboard Box Office 29 April 1978" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Billboard Box Office 6 May 1978" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Billboard Box Office 13 May 1978" (PDF).


  • Pimm Jal de la Parra, David Bowie: The Concert Tapes, P.J. Publishing, 1985, ISBN 90-900100-5-X
  • Kevin Cann, David Bowie: A Chronology, Vermilion, 1983, ISBN 0-09-153831-9
  • David Buckley, Strange Fascination: The Definitive Biography of David Bowie, Virgin Books, 1999, ISBN 1-85227-784-X

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