The video comes and goes from YouTube. Sometimes there are multiple copies of the entire show, and some excerpts for those without 20 minutes to spare, while other times it disappears completely from view. But it's there now. Because no one can make David Bowie disappear forever.
It was recorded April 10, 1978, at the Dallas Convention Center, during the so-called Isolar II tour in support of Low and Heroes. It's a bootleg containing but six songs -- "What In The World," "Blackout," "Sense Of Doubt," "Speed Of Life," Hang On To Yourself " and "Ziggy Stardust" -- spread out over an extraordinary at-the-time-career-spanning setlist. It has long been regarded as one of Bowie's finest performances -- that moment when he transitioned from outré to"pop."
Of course, it's no illicit fan-made offering. The video was recorded professionally, either for broadcast of promotional reasons. Stories vary. Says here and elsewhere it aired on television as David Bowie on Stage, the title given at the start of the video; only, no one can pinpoint where or when. Looks like November 1978, maybe. Probably late at night.
Just last October, Dangerous Minds' Richard Metzger wrote that "when this first started making its way around the VHS tape-trading underground, it was described as something that RCA did actually produce with the notion of releasing it to the consumer market, but in 1978 this would have been too early for anyone but the earliest adopters."
Here, from our archives, is the review that appeared the following day in The Dallas Morning News, wrong song title and all.
There's no shortage of bootleg audio from that tour. Carlos Alomar, the tour's guitarist along with Adrian Belew, has said all shows on the '78 jaunt were recorded. Here's a taste from some soundboards along the road.
A silent home movie, shot by Austin filmmaker Alan Frye, sits in the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Amazing, even without the audio. Because Bowie.