Live: Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

David Bowie performed at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, on 11 December 1978, as part of the Isolar II Tour.

It was the 78th and penultimate 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.

My diary says, Show in big judo hall – it was Budokan of course. This famous arena is the world’s judo mecca, the national stadium of this martial art and sport. It is a modern structure but with traditional styling, the roof flicking up at all eight corners. Inside, over our lighting gantry hung a huge Japanese flag, the red ball of the rising sun on a white background. Eric was very excited to be there as he practices judo. In fact, I think he would have preferred the night’s show to be a judo display!

Back-stage we looked at the official Japanese tour programme. This was a large glossy magazine with excellent photos, some from this tour, some from the past. The band was listed, but we were sorry that no picture of the band had been included in any of the programmes.

This show went very well and the crowd was more responsive than in Osaka, though there was still a feeling of restraint.

Sean Mayes
Life On Tour With Bowie

Bowie returned to the Nippon Budokan on 20, 21, 22, and 24 October 1983 for the Serious Moonlight Tour; 17 February 1992 for Tin Machine’s It’s My Life Tour; 4 and 5 June 1996 for the Outside Tour; and 8 and 9 March 2004 for A Reality Tour.

The setlist

Last updated: 18 October 2023
Live: Expo Commemoration Park, Suita
Live: NHK Hall, Tokyo
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