David Bowie – Last Night Of Low And Heroes Tour (GoodFellas Records GFP V02)


Last Night Of Low And Heroes Tour (GoodFellas Records GFP V02) 

HNK Hall, Tokyo, Japan – December 12th, 1978

Warszawa, Heroes, Fame, Beauty And The Beast, Five Years, Soul Love, Star, Hang Onto Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Station To Station, TVC 15

Last Night Of Low And Heroes Tour contains the complete hour long broadcast of David Bowie’s final show in Japan, and final show of the Stages tour. This comes from a television program called “Young Music Show” meant to showcase contemporary pop acts in concert. The audio was released on vinyl on the rare Merry X-Mas Mr. Bowie (Audio Recording Corporation ARC 1001) in 1984. It has all of the show except for the opening track “Warszawa.”

This was copied on another vinyl release titled David Bowie At Judo Arena (Budokan) (IPS IP-C-8881 A/B) in 1991 and was limited to only fifty copies. In the same year the first compact disc edition of this show was released on Wild Mutation (BOW-006). This contains the entire broadcast and also has a poor sounding audience tape from Dallas. The following year Hoping For A Little Romance (YOU J-002) came out in Japan with better sound quality and with a bonus radio interview with Bowie.

Finally there are at least two other releases of the footage on DVD including Tokyo 78 – Wild Mutation On Video Disc and Two Sides Of A Hero (Southside). Godfather contains the same tape as the others, recorded directly from the television. The picture is clear and the colors are very defined. There are titles before each song (in English) telling the viewing audience which song they are singing, and the lyrics are printed (in Japanese) during the course of each song.

The sound is very good and the picture is presented in 4:3 ratio as per a television broadcast and Godfather produced the DVD in NTSC region-0 compatible with all DVD players. There are annoying shadows on the screen which are more pronounced with the titles and the occasional static lines, but overlooking that the picture is very enjoyable to watch. Some have mistaken the venue of this concert for the Budokan. Bowie played that venue on the previous evening, but the taping of this show is in the more intimate NHK Hall, capacity 3000.

It is a shame the footage of the complete show still hasn’t surfaced yet because this is the final show of the tour and Bowie and the band are determined to have fun. What is present is the first two songs of the show, then about six or seven songs are cut out of the first half of the set. The final two songs of the first half are present, and then most of the second half, which contains the “Ziggy Stardust” suite, is present as is the final song of the evening “Station To Station.”

Finally, only one encore (out of a possible three) is present “TVC 15.” What we don’t have then are: “What In The World,” “Be My Wife,” “The Dream Jeanie,” “Blackout,” “Sense Of Doubt,” “Breaking Glass,” “Art Decade,” “‘Alabama Song,” “Stay,” and “Rebel Rebel.” But what is present is a phenomenal performance with having on DVD.

The tape begins with the somber “Warszawa,” Bowie’s meditation on life behind the (then) iron curtain. Guitarist Carlos Alomar acts as conductor of the orchestra with Bowie on additional keyboards while chanting. “‘Heroes'” is sung with a great amount of passion belying the emotionless façade. The next two come much later in the set and it is great to see “Beauty And The Beast” on video. The band themselves deliver a spirited performance of the piece.

The audience appreciates the second half with the Ziggy material, and it is a revelation watching Adrian Belew hopping around the stage and drummer Dennis Davis wearing a gorilla mask. Godfather package this title in a cardboard sleeve with many photos from the era. The menu is easy to navigate and overall this is worth having.

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