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1978 Low / Heroes Tour (AUS/NZ)

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Melbourne (Sat, Nov 18)


Now on to the east coast where a further four shows were to be played - one each in Melbourne and Brisbane and then two final Australian shows in Sydney.

On November 18, Bowie played an outdoor gig at the iconic home of Australian cricket and football.







Melbourne Cricket Ground

Colloquially known as 'the G' (or 'MCG'), the Melbourne Cricket Ground boasted a capacity of 40,000 for the Bowie concert making it easily the largest concert of his career thus far.

Arriving a day before the concert, the band stayed at the Hilton Hotel which was - and still is - located just opposite overlooking the venue.



Above: View of the MCG and Hilton Hotel in 1979.

Apart from it's sheer size, the MCG is notable as the site of the first international cricket match between England and Australia, the 1956 Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games among numerous other national and international events.

Above: The Hilton Hotel.


Above:
'A broken nosed (media) mogul are you!'. Kerry Packer at the same venue, the same year - we are fairly sure this wasn't the Bowie concert!!


The Queue

Determined to make the most of Bowie's first visit to Australia, fans in Melbourne began a major feat no longer seen in the era of online ticketing and allocated seating.

The camp outside the MCG began 3 weeks before the actual concert. This was a follow up from the first queue that began at 6 pm on September 16, 1978 - a week before the actual tickets went on sale.

Eventually the effort was picked up by the local press and by Bowie himself.

A fictionalised version of the queue was later depicted in the film Dogs in Space starring Michael Hutchence.

We have a new page on the Melbourne Queue here.

Right: Melbourne Bowie Queue, 1978. Photo sent in from Bruce Butler.
Left: Advertisement for the Bowie show. From Mike Jewell's collection.


Above: Melbourne Bowie Queue, 1978. From Bruce Butler's collection.
Above: Melbourne Bowie Queue, 1978. Photos by Kath Murray.

Venue Setup



Above and Right: Melbourne Cricket Ground set up for the 1978 David Bowie concert.

Photos courtesy of Kath Murray.




Concert Map


The Concert


Finally the Melbourne show began. Billed "come rain or shine" - it poured!


Bowie's guitarist Adrian Belew enthused:

"Oh that was an incredible show. There was a huge expectation and everyone's waiting for you to come".


Bowie fan Sharon Coults recalls:

"Instead of singing 'Fame' Bowie sang 'rain' and was in a jovial mood. He threw his microphone into the crowd at the end of the concert and nearly caused a riot. The girl that caught it put it down her underpants to keep it safe."
 



Sean Mayes, Bowie's keyboardist, recalled:

"It was pouring and the bedraggled fans had a punk look with their ruined hair and streaky make-up. But the mood was fantastic - when you're soaked you don't give a damn".


During the second half of the show, the crowd went wild. In the encore, crowd members let fireworks off.


The band left Melbourne the day after the concert heading for Brisbane. It was still raining as they left.

Melbourne tour poster. Sent in by Bruce.

Melbourne 1978. Photo sent in by Bruce Butler.
The guy with the bleached hair is Phill Calvert, drummer for Nick Cave's band The Birthday Party.

Melbourne 1978. Photo sent in by Bruce Butler.

Melbourne 1978. Photo sent in by Bruce Butler.

Melbourne 1978. Photo sent in by Bruce Butler.

Melbourne 1978. Photo by John Bender.

Melbourne 1978. Photos by John Bender.

Melbourne 1978. Photos by John Bender.

Melbourne 1978. Photo by John Bender.

Melbourne 1978. Photo by John Bender.

Melbourne 1978. Photos sent in by Bruce Butler.


Melbourne 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
Above left: Melbourne Ticket stub. Sent in by David Smith.

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