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

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Sydney (Fri, Nov 24 - Sat Nov 25)

Back in Sydney, Bowie and the band again stayed at the Sebel Town House at Elizabeth Bay. In it's day, the Sebel was Australia's most recognised celebrity hotel.

A detailed documentary can be heard here.



Left and centre : Bowie relaxing at The Sebel. Photos sent in by Tim from Perth. Right: The Sebel when it was first designed in the 1960s.


Bette Midler


On the night of their arrival, Dennis Davis and Roger Powell jammed with Bette Midler's band in nearby King's Cross.

The gig took place at the Manzil Room which was a popular live venue and the 'in place' back in the 70s.

The following evening, Bowie, Coco and Sean Mayes saw Bette Midler live at the State Theatre.

"It was a marvelous, hilarious and dazzling show. I was amazed how Bette had managed to get familiar with all the local jokes and put-downs" said Sean.  


Bette Midler in Australia, 1978.
Photo by Bruce Butler




Peter Frampton


Peter Frampton was also in town and Bowie visited him remarking:

"He's very friendly. Just as sweet as he used to be in school!".



Sydney Showgrounds

The Sydney concerts were peformed at the original Showgrounds (est. 1882) - situated close to the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Known for the Royal Easter Show and as a speedway venue, several rock concerts took place there over the years including Led Zeppelin in 1972 (25,000 attended), ABBA (1977), KISS (1980) and the annual Big Day Out Festival (1992 - 96).

The venue closed in 1996 and has become the site of the The Fox Studios and Sydney's Entertainment Quarter. The main member's stand has been kept and converted to offices.
Above: Surviving showground buildings (from wikipedia). The venue hosted four Bowie concerts on two different tours ( 1978 and 1983).


The Concerts

The first Sydney show was reportedly subdued, but the final one was a stunner - and one of the best of the whole tour.

Sydney 1978. Photo sent in by Tim from Perth


Above:
Ticket set in by Bruce Carter.

Left and Right: Sydney 1978.

Photos sent in by Tim from Perth.


For the second encore, Bowie returned to the stage alone. Leaning on the mic stand, rapturous noise broke over him like heavy surf.

"What would you do if I sang out of tune! NO!!!"

He then started singing along to a beer commercial:

"I feel like a Tooheys, I feel like a Tooheys, I feels like a Tooheys or two"....."We'll be back next year, I promise".


Sydney. November 25, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.


Sydney. November 25, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.


Sydney. November 25, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.

 

Reviews

 

Reviews of the Sydney shows were ecstatic.

Stephen Dowse's review for an English newspaper concluding that Bowie was "undoubtedly the total master of his environment and physically and intellectually the most exciting performer in the world today".

 

 

Article sent in by Mike from England.



Tickets



Ticket scans from Peter Green via Harry Williams.



Sydney. November 25, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.


Sydney. November 25, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.


Sydney. November 25, 1978. Photos by Bruce Butler.


In 1978, tickets for David Bowie's Sydney concerts cost $12.50 AUS (equal to 8 pounds UK at the time). There were over 40,000 tickets snapped up for the two shows.

While in Sydney, Bowie was awarded a plaque for "Outstanding sales" by the Australian office of RCA. It was later given to charity.

On their last day in Australia, Bowie and the band spent time at Dennis Garcia's retreat in Gosford
, NSW.


Left: Photo by Jo Bateson. Othr Sydney photos by John Larkin. To see full versions, visit John's page.


Sydney photos by Jo Bateson.


Sebel News Conference


Whilst staying at the Sebel in Sydney, a news conference with David Bowie took place.

The following footage has been uploaded to youtube by Nacho Video.

Towards the end of the interview, you can also see Peter Green's piece of Sydney Showgrounds (Nov 24) footage, correctly synced to the Nov 24 boorleg audio thanks to Nacho Video on youtube.

This is the only known live footage from the Australia tour.

 

 

 

A bit from Peter Green [the bootleg cameraman]....
 

 

"I found an old movie camera at my parents, didn't know if it worked. I went [ton the concert] with my best friend Mark, we really wanted front row so pretended to be part of the Pony show at the 2nd showgrounds next to the one where Bowie played, walked around with the horses for 30 mins and sneaked over a metal fence, pretended we were meant to be at the show, and basically hid in the toilets for 2 hrs till a minute before gates opened and ran to the front row.

Sadly [there is no more footage]. I was very young and we didn't even know if the camera worked, the first roll of film was used to cover Bowie, Cheap Trick, The Angels, Skyhooks and some mates... and the cartridge only ran for 3 minutes".

 



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