Live: Civic Arena, Pittsburgh

David Bowie performed at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh on 26 April 1978, during the Isolar II Tour.

It was the 20th date of the tour, which began on 29 March in San Diego.

Bowie’s guitarists were Carlos Alomar and Adrian Belew. Simon House was on electric violin, Sean Mayes played piano, and Roger Powell was on keyboards and synthesizers. George Murray played bass guitar and Dennis Davis was on drums.

It was a long flight to Pittsburgh. I nibbled a little of the meal then later turned white, then green and nearly passed out. There was a pharmacy at the hotel so I took their best stuff and went straight to bed. The phone was on the other side of the room and that night I got several calls from kids who just hung up.

Next morning I was too weak to stand. I crawled to the phone and asked for a doctor. The hotel telephonist sounded like a friendly mum and I felt really pathetic and far from home. The floor manager came up and I was taken out to a cab in a wheelchair. At the hospital I had various unpleasant tests then the doctor told me I’d picked up a bug from drinking tap water – even ‘safe’ water can make you ill if you’re from a different continent. It couldn’t be food poisoning – it wasn’t bad enough! It made Milwaukee very memorable… next time I’ll stick to beer. Promising the doctor a couple of tickets, I returned to the hotel and bed with a bottle of pills. Everyone phoned to see how I was and ‘Mum’ would always ask too, which was nice.

That night I was excused the sound-check. A limo took me to the hall just before we went on. Somehow I rallied and coped with the show, feeling quite a hero.

Sean Mayes
Life On Tour With Bowie

Bowie had previously played at the Civic Arena on 19 November 1974 during the Diamond Dogs Tour, and on 11 March 1976 during the Isolar Tour.

The venue closed in 2010 and was demolished in the following two years.

The setlist

Last updated: 16 October 2023
Live: MECCA Arena, Milwaukee
Live: Capital Centre, Landover
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