Tuesday, February 15, 2011

David Bowie: September 12, 1987

Everybody loves Bowie, right? The great thing about being known as a musical chameleon is that everyone is bound to enjoy something you've done sooner or later! Needless to say, my 15-year-old self was excited to see him. I have to admit I'm not fond of Bowie's more recent work, but in 1987 he hadn't made too many missteps yet. On this, the Glass Spider Tour, he was supporting the album Never Let Me Down which, somewhat ironically, was a letdown. I was excited about the tour, however, since it was being billed as a return to theatricality after the more traditional Serious Moonlight shows. Toni Basil was the choreographer and Peter Frampton, former golden-tressed arena rock god of the '70s, would be playing guitar.

This was the pre-Internet age when you actually had to go stand in line for concert tickets and my friend's super cool mom, who as a Bowie fan herself would accompany us to the show, camped out a few hours ahead of time for ours. She completely shocked our teenage sensibilities at the concert by correctly identifying the pot smell near us and jumping up to dance during "Rebel Rebel."

It was great to hear Bowie sing his hits, but for the most part the show was a failure. As the local paper pointed out the next day, the audience reaction was so dismal that it seemed Bowie altered the show, sending the dancers offstage at one point to go it alone for a few numbers. But you know what? Bowie on a bad night (or a bad tour) is still David. Damned. Bowie. And I got a nifty T-shirt with spiders all over the back out of the deal.

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