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Stage is David Bowie's second live album, recorded on the Isolar II Tour, and released by RCA Records in 1978. First UK pressings were on translucent yellow vinyl and some European pressings were also available on blue vinyl. Though it was rumoured[citation needed]at the time that this would be his final outing with the label, following dissatisfaction over the promotion of Low and "Heroes", Bowie remained with RCA until 1982.

Stage album cover.jpg
Live album by
Released8 September 1978
Recorded28–29 April, 5–6 May 1978
Length73:17 (original LP release)
77:17 (1991 CD version)
85:31 (2005 CD reissue)
94:30 (2017 version)
David Bowie chronology
Singles from Stage
  1. "Breaking Glass" b/w "Art Decade" / "Ziggy Stardust"
    Released: November 1978
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[1]
Blender2/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[3]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork Media7.9/10[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[8]
Uncut3/5 stars[10]

The recording was culled from concerts in Philadelphia, Providence and Boston, US, in late April and early May 1978. It primarily included material from Bowie's most recent studio albums to that date, Station to Station, Low and "Heroes" but also five songs from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Aside from Bowie's core team of Carlos Alomar, Dennis Davis and George Murray, band members included ex-Frank Zappa sideman Adrian Belew on guitar, Simon House from Hawkwind on electric violin, Roger Powell, best known for his work with Todd Rundgren in the group Utopia, on keyboards and Sean Mayes on piano, string ensemble and backup vocals. All would reunite the following year on Bowie's next studio LP, Lodger.

Generally considered more relaxed than Bowie's previous live album, David Live, Stage was praised on its initial vinyl release for the fidelity with which the band was able to emulate in concert the electronic and effects-filled numbers from Low and "Heroes", as well as for the singer's vocal performance. However, it was criticised for lacking a 'live' atmosphere, thanks to the recording being largely taken from direct instrument and microphone feeds which increased sound quality but minimised crowd noise. The original concert running order was also changed, with fades between tracks similar to a studio album. In a review of the 1991 rerelease, Mat Snow of Q stated that "performances are faster than the studio originals and suffer for it; what they gain in live jauntiness – not exactly a quality they were crying out for – they lose in power and intensity."[11]

As Bowie rarely tampered with the arrangements – in contrast to his method on David LiveStage added little to what was available on the original albums, and was seen by some commentators as simply a marketing exercise that did not do justice to a memorable series of live concerts. Even the cover picture came in for criticism, more so because the rest of the package contained only variations of the same shot.

Stage was a commercial success. In the UK, it reached No. 5 and was subsequently certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It also reached No. 44 on the US charts.

"Breaking Glass", which originally appeared in shorter form on Low, was released as a 3-track EP and reached number 54 on the UK singles chart. In the US, "Star" was released as a 3-track EP, but failed to chart. In Japan "Soul Love" was released, with "Blackout" on the B-side, but also failed to chart.

A 2005 reissue saw most of the criticisms of the original LP addressed. In his review of the reissue, Chris Roberts of Uncut said that the combination of Low/Heroes-period material and songs from Ziggy Stardust resulted in a live album that was an "eerie clattering between two stools". He said that the improvements in sound carried out by Tony Visconti and the addition of "Stay" and "the brilliant 'Be My Wife'" made the new version of Stage "essential for Dave-freaks, anyway".[10]

The album is included in The Quietus' list of its writers' "40 Favourite Live Albums".[12]


Track listingsEdit

All tracks written by David Bowie, except where noted.

Original 1978 LPEdit

Side one
1."Hang On to Yourself"3:26
2."Ziggy Stardust"3:32
3."Five Years"3:58
4."Soul Love"2:55
Total length:16:22
Side two
1."Station to Station"8:55
2."Fame" (Bowie, Carlos Alomar, John Lennon)4:06
3."TVC 15"4:37
Total length:17:38
Side three
1."Warszawa" (Bowie, Brian Eno)6:50
2."Speed of Life"2:44
3."Art Decade"3:10
4."Sense of Doubt"3:13
5."Breaking Glass" (Bowie, Dennis Davis, George Murray)3:28
Total length:19:25
Side four
1.""Heroes"" (Bowie, Eno)6:19
2."What in the World"4:24
4."Beauty and the Beast"5:08
Total length:19:52 (73:17)

The cassette release places "Speed of Life" between "Fame" and "TVC 15".


Stage has been rereleased on CD four times to date, the first being in 1984 by RCA Records, then in 1991 by Rykodisc (containing a bonus track), later in 2005 by EMI, and most recently in 2017 by Parlophone (also on vinyl). The running order of the 2005 and 2017 editions reflects the actual performance, removing fades between tracks, and including previously unreleased performances as bonus tracks.

The 2005 EMI release of this album was copy protected with CDS 200 in the EU.

1984 rereleaseEdit

The 1984 rerelease on CD (catalogue number PD89002) contains the same running order as the original LP, and comes on two discs. Some of the European-distributed CDs were manufactured in Japan, but cover and assembling were made in Europe. Most of the CDs were made in Germany.

1991 rerelease track listingEdit

In 1991, Stage was rereleased on CD, with the same running order as the original LP, with "Alabama Song" included as a bonus track.

2005 rerelease track listingEdit

The 2005 CD reissue features a new running order, reflecting the original setlist of the concerts as performed. Two previously unreleased performances were included on the album as bonus tracks.

CD one
1."Warszawa"Bowie, Eno6:46
2.""Heroes""Bowie, Eno6:10
3."What in the World" 4:16
4."Be My Wife" (Previously unreleased) 2:35
5."Blackout" 3:52
6."Sense of Doubt" 3:07
7."Speed of Life" 2:39
8."Breaking Glass"Bowie, Davis, Murray3:22
9."Beauty and the Beast" 5:00
10."Fame"Bowie, Lennon, Alomar4:03
Total length:41:50
CD two
1."Five Years" 3:58
2."Soul Love" 2:55
3."Star" 2:25
4."Hang On to Yourself" 3:21
5."Ziggy Stardust" 3:37
6."Art Decade" 3:01
7."Alabama Song"Brecht, Weill3:55
8."Station to Station" 8:40
9."Stay" (Previously unreleased) 7:17
10."TVC 15" 4:32
Total length:43:41 (85:31)

2017 rerelease track listingEdit

In 2017, the album was included, in two versions, in the A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) box set released by Parlophone. One version contained the original mix and the same list and ordering of tracks that had appeared on the original vinyl album; the other was a new version of the album, based on the 2005 edition but including two previously unreleased songs from the concerts.[13] The latter was also released separately, in 2-CD and 3-LP formats, in 2018.[14]

Side one
1."Warszawa"Bowie, Eno6:53
2.""Heroes""Bowie, Eno6:19
3."What in the World" 4:25
Total length:17:37
Side two
4."Be My Wife"2:49
5."The Jean Genie" (Previously unreleased)6:17
7."Sense of Doubt"3:07
Total length:16:13
Side three
8."Speed of Life" 2:40
9."Breaking Glass"Bowie, Davis, Murray3:22
10."Beauty and the Beast" 5:06
11."Fame"Bowie, Alomar, Lennon4:13
Total length:15:21
Side four
12."Five Years" 3:57
13."Soul Love" 2:56
14."Star"Bowie, Eno2:28
15."Hang On to Yourself" 3:22
16."Ziggy Stardust" 3:30
17."Suffragette City" (Previously unreleased) 3:58
Total length:17:43
Side five
18."Art Decade" 3:01
19."Alabama Song"Brecht, Weill3:55
20."Station to Station" 8:43
Total length:15:39
Side six
22."TVC 15"4:36
Total length:11:57 (94:30)


Additional musiciansEdit

Additional personnelEdit

  • Jan Michael Alejandro – band tech
  • Vern "Moose" Constan – band tech
  • Rob Joyce – stage manager
  • Leroy Kerr – band tech
  • Edd Kolakowski – piano and keyboard tech (Australia, New Zealand and Japan dates)



Year Chart Position
1978 UK Albums Chart 5
1978 Billboard Pop Albums 44
1978 Norway 18
2018 Greek Album Chart 68[15]


Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Breaking Glass" UK Singles Chart 54

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[17] none 139,300[16]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[18] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ David Bowie — Stage at AllMusic
  2. ^ "Stage". Blender. Retrieved 16 June 2009.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 22 February 2019 – via
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press.
  5. ^ "NME Album Reviews - Bowie, David : Stage". Nme.Com. 7 April 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  6. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 151. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  7. ^ "David Bowie: David Live / Stage". Pitchforkmedia. Archived from the original on 30 August 2006.
  8. ^ "David Bowie: Album Guide". Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  9. ^ Collis, Andrew (March 1992). "David Bowie: Stage". Select. p. 75. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  10. ^ a b Roberts, Chris (April 2005). "David Bowie Stage". Uncut. p. 130.
  11. ^ Snow, Mat (March 1992), Q
  12. ^ John Doran (5 February 2013). "The Quietus Writers' 40 Favourite Live Albums". The Quietus.
  13. ^ "A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982)". David Bowie. 12 July 2016. Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  14. ^ Paul Sinclair (19 January 2018). "David Bowie / Remastered 'Berlin' albums available separately next month". Super Deluxe Edition. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  15. ^ "IFPI Charts". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes de CD / Albums "Tout Temps"" [Bestsellers of CDs / Albums "All Time"]. InfoDisc (in French).
  17. ^ "French album certifications – David Bowie – Stage" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  18. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – David Bowie – Stage". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  19. ^ "British album certifications – David Bowie – Stage". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Stage in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

Works cited

  • Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record
  • David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination – David Bowie: The Definitive Story
  • Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie