Live: Spectrum, Philadelphia

David Bowie performed at the Spectrum in Philadelphia on 29 April 1978, as part of the Isolar II Tour.

It was the 23rd date of the tour, which began on 29 March in San Diego, and the second of two consecutive nights at the venue.

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.

We had a long rehearsal that afternoon – last night’s tape showed that everything was going too fast, so Carlos re-established the studio tempos. I felt this was too slow. It’s natural for numbers to go a little faster live, as long as they don’t run away with it. Later on, I think we achieved the best feeling – a shade faster than the records, exciting but controlled…

The show felt strange with Carlos holding down the speed of numbers but it was still another crazy, happy night from the first boom of ‘Warszawa’ to the last bounce of ‘Rebel Rebel’. Then we rushed to the cars for the quick spin to the hotel, from the lights of The Spectrum parking lot to the lights of the Hilton parking lot. Kids who hadn’t been able to get tickets were already crowded around the entrance for a glimpse and a skirmish as David, a blue dressing-gown and the massive arm of Tony around his shoulders, swept through the lobby to be beamed up in the elevator. The rest of us followed with less style.

Sean Mayes
Life On Tour With Bowie

It was the second of two consecutive nights at the Spectrum. Bowie had previously performed there on 18 and 25 November 1974 during the Diamond Dogs Tour, and on 15 and 16 March 1976 during the Isolar Tour.

He returned to the venue on 18, 19, 20, and 21 July 1983 for the Serious Moonlight Tour; and 9, 10, 12, and 13 July 1990 for the Sound+Vision Tour.

The setlist

Last updated: 16 October 2023
Live: Spectrum, Philadelphia
Live: Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.

Leave a Reply