Isolar II: The 1978 World Tour (AUS/NZ)

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Adelaide (Nov 11)

Interestingly, it was not the entertainment dominant eastern states of Australia that staged Bowie's first ever shows in the Southern Hemisphere - it was Adelaide and then Perth.

The first show took place at Adelaide Oval, also the first open air gig of the tour - and in many respects, the first large scale outdoor concert Bowie had ever played.

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide Oval has long been recognised as one of the most picturesque of the world's major cricket grounds.

During the Bowie concert in 1978, the backstage was reportedly a camp of tents and caravan trailers. In his diary of the 1978 tour, ke
yboardist Sean Mayes suggested that the Oval provided a great relief after many concrete stadiums and catacomb dressing rooms on their more hectic US and European tours.

Sean Mayes also reflected on Adelaide as a city: 

"Adelaide was a strange city to my English eyes. The streets were wide like an American town but the buildings were like a European town" ~ Sean Mayes (keyboardist).

Above: Adelaide and the Adelaide Oval, 1978.
Below: The old scoreboard and 'hill' area of the Adelaide Oval.
More pictures by Rikx on Flickr.

The Concerts

Being the first concert on the new part of the tour, there was the question of what might be played. Despite having tour reports of overseas concerts, it was not certain whether Bowie would maintain something similar...

"As the light began to fade support band, The Angels, who were playing to a home crowd, entertained, and were warmly welcomed.

It seemed an age between The Angels finishing and a group of musicians walking quietly on to stage and the opening bars of “Warsawa” sounding.

At least in youth, there’s a strong impact of seeing someone who has been admired in the flesh for the first time. They seem larger than life, almost magical.

For me, that Adelaide concert on Saturday November 11 was magical. A short visit to Adelaide airport the next day secured autographs of the some of the band."

~ Colin M, Bowie fan, 2011.

As it turned out, the repertoire in Adelaide remained almost identical to the previous leg of the tour - focusing on material from Low and "Heroes", although 'Speed of Life' had now been dropped.
The set was effectively divided in two - Bowie announcing:

"We're just going off for 10 minutes....and when we come back....we won't be wearing any slippers".

Sean Mayes recalled that the crowd was particularly vocal in the second half:

"People were throwing streamers on-stage, also a sparkler, a camera sling ... and a blue puppet wearing a DEVO badge.

Towards the end, Carlos was losing his voice and David forgot some of the words in 'Station to Station'. But we stormed through the encores....".

he blue puppet, incidentally, was Bruce Butler's Grover doll. It sat aloft Sean's piano for most of the concert (having been placed there by Bowie).

Bruce and Grover, 1978

After the gig, the band went to what was described as "a posh but boring nightclub".

Adelaide Set List
1. Warszawa

2. "Heroes"

3. What In The World

4. Be My Wife

5. The Jean Genie

6. Blackout

7. Sense Of Doubt

8. Breaking Glass

9. Fame

10. Beauty And The Beast

11. Five Years

12. Soul Love

13. Star

14. Hang On To Yourself

15. Ziggy Stardust

16. Suffragette City

17. Art Decade

18. Alabama Song

19. Station To Station

20. Stay

21. Rebel Rebel

Adelaide, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.

Adelaide, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.

Adelaide, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.
Adelaide, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.

Adelaide, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.

The Queue

Bowie fan, Colin M recalls:

"The anticipation of waiting several hours in the warm sun on the truly beautiful Adelaide oval among a couple of newly found friends at the front railing after sprinting across the grass of the oval, taking in the enormity of the ground, was magical.

Above, Below and Left:
Fans queuing in Adelaide.
Photos by Bruce Butler.


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