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emptysmellmetal
(grinning soul)
05/03/07 05:17 PM
Glass Spider--Spectacular Failure--20 years later  

While 1987's Glass Spider tour no doubt remains Bowie's grandest
folly, it's to his immense credit that certain segments hold up as some
of his most over the top, playful moments. Despite the derision at the
time and the sheer scope of the project there are some "classic"
vignettes in the Avant-Broadway-New Wave-Vegas revue. Dancers,
costume changes, dialogue and an abstract narrative---it's obvious
Bowie was much more involved and focused on the tour than the
transitional, jumbled NLMD.

First, the DISASTERS.
Momentum for the tour deflated by the release of the WRONG first
single from the critically savaged NLMD as well as a high profile
Pepsi commercial with Tina Turner.
The death knell : Performing outside....in daylight....in STADIUMS!

Now for the great moments that somehow got lost in the mayhem :

The effective opening with Carlos Alomar front and center noodling
solo and Bowie singing into a telephone while being lowered from the
gigantic, colorful belly of the spider, fangs rotating.

Bang Bang's clever, playful audience/perfomer hat-trick.

Toni Basil's two-story high dress lowered from the scaffolding while
Bowie mimes blindly in sync with one of his dancers during a powerful
Absolute Beginners.

Frampton's much improved guitar flourishes in Loving The Alien. A
vast improvement to the weak solo heard on the studio version.

The ballsy, likely never-to-be-seen-again, gymnastics during Fashion
and 87 and Cry.

Ethereal moments during Big Brother and NLMD where Bowie is fed an
oxygen mask and turns sci-fi snake charmer on Sons of the Silent Age
where, I don't care what anyone says, Framptons vocal interludes were inspired and very effective.

For the hell of it, Charlie Sexton comes out and jams (with Bowie and Frampton on guitar) during a rollicking version of Iggy's I Wanna Be Your Dog!

All this and Bowie smoking a cigarette on top of the spider wearing
a gold lame' jacket with extendable angel wings singing Time.

I rather liked Bowie's fuck-you set list, initially devoting a large
portion to NLMD and serving up obscure nuggets like All the Madmen,
Big Brother, Sons of the Silent Age and Dancing with the Big Boys.
Bowie's voice was phenomenal throughout the tour, no doubt due
to the fact he didn't allow himself a cig until the encore.

Like NLMD, the tour somehow alienated ALL Bowie fans : too obscure
and theatrical for his pop segment and too cheesy and playful for
followers of his darker, experimental phases.



bowiefanpeter
(the voyeur)
05/04/07 01:07 AM
Re: Glass Spider--Spectacular Failure--20 years later new [re: emptysmellmetal]  

It's fun reading the GS commemorative book(I think it's by David Currie) where it's 80 pages talking about how it was the most successful tour of Bowie's career.

The only downside that the rain that "followed" the tour during the outdoor European shows.

bfp



russellmael
(crash course raver)
05/05/07 06:24 AM
Re: Glass Spider--Spectacular Failure--20 years later new [re: bowiefanpeter]  

You forgot his shit hair.



WildWind
(acolyte)
06/17/07 00:20 AM
Bowie and his GS hair are hanging in my bathroom new [re: emptysmellmetal]  

Call me an aberration, but I thought Glass Spider kicked crazy ass. 'Course it was my first Bowie show, and I was 12 years old at the time, so do what you will with those variables.

emptysmellmetal's great moments are what I remember most vividly from the live show, save the Charlie Sexton performance, which didn't happen in Denver.

Board members: who saw the Glass Spider show live? Where? Did you hate it? Which Bowie shows had you seen prior to GS to compare it to?

Sometimes I feel the need to move on. So I pack a bag and move on.

trendy rechauffe
(acolyte)
06/17/07 06:22 AM
Re: Bowie and his GS hair are hanging in my bathro new [re: WildWind]  

In reply to:

Board members: who saw the Glass Spider show live? Where? Did you hate it? Which Bowie shows had you seen prior to GS to compare it to?


I saw Glass spider live in Sydney (though not the show that was filmed). I loved almost every minute of the show, especially the enormous drum sound on Loving the alien (which unfortunately doesn't sound anywhere near as good on the video). Previously I'd only seen Bowie live at the Sydney Serious moonlight show in 1983.

The Glass spider show was no where near as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

bye tr

trendy's trainpage is at http://www.geocities.com/trendy_rechauffe

"No peachy prayers, no trendy rechauffé
I'm with you so I can't go on"



EJ
(byroad singer)
06/17/07 06:45 AM
Eyewitness new [re: WildWind]  

In reply to:

who saw the Glass Spider show live?


I did. And I very much enjoyed it. Not the dancers and all that show stuff - but the music was good. Some excellent choices of songs like "All The Madmen" or "Sons of the Silent Age" (though Frampton seriously damaged the track forever, right, Ziggfried?) and though the sound certainly had a strong 80s pop touch it still rocked.

And best was the atmosphere. The show I saw was the West-Berlin Open Air by the Reichstag in 1987. An emotionally charged place right next to the wall, with rock fans from East-Berlin trying to get to get as close as possible to their side of the wall though the police tried to stop them - and with Bowie greeting "our friends who are on the other side of the wall", locked away just about 200 meters away from him. Goosebumps. Still.

A warm summer night, some 60.000 people and Bowie high upon the stage's roof top for one of the best Bowie show moments I ever witnessed: "Time", the surprise encore of the night. Bowie had disappeared after "Fame", the stage went dark and only the mighty spider's head on the roof began to glow. Thrilling. After a while which felt like ages and spured the excitement in the crowd the head opend up and Bowie was slowly lifted out wearing a glittering suit, golden boots and golden wings! Then the opening notes of "Time" drove us into a frenzy. We must have looked a tremendous crowd from up there, and he looked simply fantastic. Over the top. Literally. Brilliant. Unforgettable.

I had seen Bowie live before on the Serious Moonlight Tour in Berlin's Waldbühne in the summer of 1983. A great experience - my first Bowie gig in one of the most beautiful venues you could wish for. I loved both events and still do though in either case I had my doubts during and after the show. The Serious Moonlight Show was too middle of the road for me in a some aspects: The band was too "funky" and too little "rocky" for my liking. The two co-singers were dreadful and Bowie himself was too much of an entertainer instead of the a rock star which I had hoped for.

A few days after the show I saw the "Ziggy MoPic" for the first time in my life in a bar in Berlin. It absorbed me. I cried. My Bowie.

"Glass Spider" was good rock music. The show was dreadful as far as the silly dancing was there - and it was most of the time. But to me Bowie seemed more authentic there than at "Serious Moonlight" - in 1983 he was an entertainer, in 1987 he was a showman, an actor. And at that he has always been more convincing.

And I want to believe that a light's shining through somehow


Tristan
(legendary cowboy)
06/17/07 10:12 AM
Re: Bowie and his GS hair are hanging in my bathroom new [re: WildWind]  

In reply to:

Who saw the Glass Spider show live? Where? Did you hate it? Which Bowie shows had you seen prior to GS to compare it to?


Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas, October 10, 1987, Section 11, Row 16, Seat 6, Main Floor.

Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas, October 11, 1987, Section 13, Row 14, Seat 3, Main Floor.

Didn't hate it. Excited to have main floor seats both nights.

Prior shows?

Serious Moonlight Tour, Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas, August 19, 1983, Secton 122, Row 19, Seat 10, Lower Balcony.

Diamond Dog Tour, Memphis, TN., June 30, 1974, Section CC, Row 3, Seat[s] 10 & 11, Main Floor. (Nothing compares to a 3rd row seat on the main floor for a Diamond Dog tour complete with the Hunger City Stage Design).


Trying to navigate TW reminds me of what it was like having dial-up service.


globule2
(crash course raver)
06/17/07 10:45 AM
Re: Bowie and his GS hair are hanging in my bathroom new [re: WildWind]  

I saw the Montreal Glass Spider show after having seen Bowie five times in '83 and once in '78. It was by far the worst show of the bunch and I can honestly say that I have no fond memories of it save for the "Time" finale. I didn't have particularly good seats so I found it hard to connect with the goings on on stage. The sound was so bad that I felt I was hearing some of the songs for the first time when I got my hands on one of the many excellent quality boots from that show. Compounding the misery was the fact that I felt responsible for dragging along four friends to the spectacle. Even though I have the video and my fair share of '87 audios, I basically never bother with them.

{edit}: Tristan, were "Drive in Saturday" and/or "Knock on Wood" played at your '74 show? Please indicate how sure/unsure you are of your answer.

Edited by globule2 on 06/17/07 10:48 AM (server time).



EJ
(byroad singer)
06/17/07 11:44 AM
Re: Bowie and his GS hair are hanging in my bathroom new [re: globule2]  

In reply to:

I didn't have particularly good seats

(Tristan) Excited to have main floor seats both nights.


Did you really sit at those shows?


And I want to believe that a light's shining through somehow


ziggfried
(acolyte)
06/17/07 11:14 PM
Re: Eyewitness new [re: EJ]  

In reply to:

Some excellent choices of songs like "All The Madmen" or "Sons of the Silent Age" (though Frampton seriously damaged the track forever, right, Ziggfried?)


Well, yeah! Damn Frampton. But I can only make that judgement based on video/bootleg CD evidence. I missed the 1987 tour when it was on, 'cause I was only about 5½ years old (and a long way away from Bowie fandom) at the time.

Still, I think the Glass Spider tour is pretty good - I mean, the dancers and spoken-word stuff was shite, but musically, the tour was damn fine. The songs selected for the show, and the musical arrangements, can't be faulted. It's just a shame that some of the more left-field choices ("Big Brother," "All The Madmen") and some of the not-at-all-bad stuff from NLMD ("Beat Of Your Drum," "87 and Cry") didn't make it onto the official video.




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