Stage (David Bowie album)

Stage album cover.jpg
Live album by
Released 29 September 1978 (1978-09-29)[1]
Recorded 28–29 April, 5–6 May 1978
Genre Rock
    • 73:17 (original LP release)
    • 77:17 (1991 CD version)
    • 85:31 (2005 CD reissue)
    • 94:30 (2017 version)
Label RCA
David Bowie chronology
David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf
Singles from Stage
  1. "Breaking Glass" b/w "Art Decade" / "Ziggy Stardust"
    Released: November 1978

Stage is the second live album by English musician David Bowie, 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. Since its original release, Stage has been reissued numerous times, each with expanded track listings.


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 (1976), Low and "Heroes" (both 1977) but also five songs from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). 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 (1979).


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.

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. At the same time, because Bowie had 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. The album 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. Even the cover picture came in for criticism, more so because the rest of the package contained only variations of the same shot.

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."[13]

A 2005 reissue saw many 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".[12]

The album is included in The Quietus' list of its writers' "40 Favourite Live Albums".[14]

Track listings

Original 1978 LP

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

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 1984 rerelease on CD (catalogue number PD89002) contains the same running order as the original LP, and comes on two discs (despite the double-LP release being short enough to fit on a single CD unaltered). 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.

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

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

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.

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

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.[15] The latter was also released separately, in 2-CD and 3-LP formats, in 2018.[16]

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.


According to author Roger Griffin:[1]


Weekly chart performance for Stage
Year Chart Peak
1978 Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[17] 2
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[18] 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[19] 18
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[20] 29
UK Albums (OCC)[21] 5
US Billboard Top LPs & Tape[22] 44
2005 French Albums (SNEP)[23] 162
2018 Greek Album Chart[24][failed verification] 68
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[25] 33

Certifications and sales

Sales certifications for Stage
Region Certification Certified units/sales
France 139,300[26]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[27] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Griffin 2016, chap. 9.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Stage – David Bowie". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 11 February 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Stage". Blender. Retrieved 16 June 2009.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press.
  6. ^ "NME Album Reviews - Bowie, David : Stage". Nme.Com. 7 April 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "David Bowie: David Live / Stage". Pitchforkmedia. Archived from the original on 30 August 2006.
  9. ^ "David Bowie: Album Guide". Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  10. ^ Collis, Andrew (March 1992). "David Bowie: Stage". Select. p. 75. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  11. ^ Sheffield 1995, p. 55.
  12. ^ a b Roberts, Chris (April 2005). "David Bowie Stage". Uncut. p. 130.
  13. ^ Snow, Mat (March 1992), Q
  14. ^ John Doran (5 February 2013). "The Quietus Writers' 40 Favourite Live Albums". The Quietus.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ Paul Sinclair (19 January 2018). "David Bowie / Remastered 'Berlin' albums available separately next month". Super Deluxe Edition. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  17. ^ " – David Bowie – Stage" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  18. ^ " – David Bowie – Stage". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  19. ^ " – David Bowie – Stage". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  20. ^ " – David Bowie – Stage". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  21. ^ "David Bowie | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Stage Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  23. ^ " – David Bowie – Stage". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  24. ^ "IFPI Charts". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2018. 9. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes de CD / Albums "Tout Temps"" [Bestsellers of CDs / Albums "All Time"]. InfoDisc (in French).
  27. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – David Bowie – Stage". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  28. ^ "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

External links