Glass Spider

Glass Spider
Video by David Bowie
Released 1988
Recorded 7 & 9 November 1987[1]
Genre Rock
Length 110:00
David Bowie chronology
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture
Glass Spider
Bowie – The Video Collection
Alternative cover
2007 Special Edition cover

Glass Spider is a video album by David Bowie, recorded during the 1987 Glass Spider Tour at Sydney Entertainment Centre. The tour was launched in support of his album Never Let Me Down.

Glass Spider Tour

Main article: Glass Spider Tour

The Glass Spider Tour was a world wide concert tour launched in May 1987 in support of Bowie's 1987 album Never Let Me Down.[2] The tour was well attended[2] and profitable,[3] but was poorly received by contemporary critics.[2] The video, released in 1988, is a recording of nearly two hours of performances from the tour recorded in Sydney, Australia in November 1987.[4]


Initial video release

Originally released in 1988 on VHS, the concert features dance choreography by Toni Basil and features Peter Frampton on guitar.[4] The running time of the VHS is approximately 110 minutes.[5]

DVD re-release

The video reissued in 2007 on DVD. A regular edition includes the DVD of the same concert as released on VHS, while a special edition also includes a 2 CD live album from the same tour, recorded at Montreal Olympic Stadium on 30 August 1987. The 2007 re-release was originally planned to include a live recording of the song "Glass Spider" from an altogether different show (recorded in Vienna), but these plans were dropped for unknown reasons.[5]

The DVD includes Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 sound and is released in the program's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.[6][7]

TV special

A 1-hour edit from the original release was aired on US prime-time television in early June 1988 on American Broadcasting Company-affiliated stations.[8][9] This was the first ABC concert special since 1973's Aloha from Hawaii starring Elvis Presley.[10]

Critical reviews

Professional ratings
Review scores
Pop Matters (2007 re-release)[13]
Record Collector magazine[14]

The home video's original 1988 release received positive reviews from sources such as Variety magazine, the Houston Post and the Toronto Star. Some reviews were more ambivalent, such as The Boston Globe's review stating simply that "there's a lot to digest."[15]

The Chicago Tribune said the originally 1988 video release "offers all of the excitement, spectacle and music" of one of 1987's "most visually engrossing" shows.[16] The Allmusic review called the release "brilliant" and credited the performance with "stunning" live performances that are frequently on par with their studio counterparts.[7]

The Los Angeles Times had a mostly negative review of the 1-hour ABC special, calling the show "surprisingly lame" and the stage "silly."[17]

One critic found that the video release rendered the show's intended meaning ("rock vs reality") nonsensical for two reasons: First, by the time the show was recorded, Bowie had already dropped some parts of the show that elaborated the point; and six songs (and at least one vignette) that were performed in the show were removed from the video itself.[6] The 1-hour ABC special also "obliterated" the show's meaning.[8]

Track listing

All songs were written by David Bowie, except where noted.

VHS (1988 release)

  1. "Glass Spider"
  2. "Day-In Day-Out"
  3. "Bang Bang" (Iggy Pop, Ivan Kral)
  4. "Absolute Beginners"
  5. "Loving the Alien"
  6. "China Girl" (Bowie, Pop)
  7. "Rebel Rebel"
  8. "Fashion"
  9. "Never Let Me Down" (Bowie, Carlos Alomar)
  10. ""Heroes"" (Bowie, Brian Eno)
  11. "Sons of the Silent Age"
  12. "Young Americans/Band Introduction"
  13. "The Jean Genie"
  14. "Let's Dance"
  15. "Time"
  16. "Fame" (Bowie, John Lennon, Alomar)
  17. "Blue Jean"
  18. "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (Dave Alexander, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, Pop)
  19. "White Light/White Heat" (Lou Reed)
  20. "Modern Love"

Although they are not mentioned on the sleeve the original VHS edition does contain the same "Intro/Up the Hill Backwards" and band introduction segments that feature on the DVD reissue.

DVD (2007 release)

  1. "Intro/Up the Hill Backwards"
  2. "Glass Spider"
  3. "Day-In Day-Out"
  4. "Bang Bang" (Pop, Kraal)
  5. "Absolute Beginners"
  6. "Loving the Alien"
  7. "China Girl" (Bowie, Pop)
  8. "Rebel Rebel"
  9. "Fashion"
  10. "Never Let Me Down" (Bowie, Alomar)
  11. ""Heroes"" (Bowie, Eno)
  12. "Sons of the Silent Age"
  13. "Band Introduction"
  14. "Young Americans"
  15. "The Jean Genie"
  16. "Let's Dance"
  17. "Time"
  18. "Fame" (Bowie, Lennon, Alomar)
  19. "Blue Jean"
  20. "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (Alexander, Asheton, Asheton, Pop)
  21. "White Light/White Heat" (Reed)
  22. "Modern Love"

Special edition CD 2007

Disc one

  1. "Intro/Up The Hill Backwards"
  2. "Glass Spider"
  3. "Day-In, Day-Out"
  4. "Bang Bang" (Pop, Kraal)
  5. "Absolute Beginners"
  6. "Loving the Alien"
  7. "China Girl" (Bowie, Pop)
  8. "Rebel Rebel"
  9. "Fashion"
  10. "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)"
  11. "All the Madmen"
  12. "Never Let Me Down" (Bowie, Alomar)

Disc two

  1. "Big Brother/Chant of the Ever-Circling Skeletal Family"
  2. "'87 and Cry"
  3. ""Heroes"" (Bowie, Eno)
  4. "Sons of the Silent Age"
  5. "Time Will Crawl"
  6. "Young Americans"
  7. "Beat of Your Drum"
  8. "The Jean Genie"
  9. "Let's Dance"
  10. "Fame" (Bowie, Lennon, Alomar)
  11. "Time"
  12. "Blue Jean"
  13. "Modern Love"



Dancers and performers



  1. Sinclair, Paul (6 February 2013), Record Collector: David Bowie / Never Let Me Down (1987), retrieved 27 June 2013
  2. 1 2 3 Currie, David (1987), David Bowie: Glass Idol (1st ed.), London and Margate, England: Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-1182-7
  3. Wyman, Bill (6 September 1991), "The Man Who Fell to Earth", Entertainment Weekly, retrieved 8 January 2013
  4. 1 2 Barber, Sally (2010), "David Bowie: The Glass Spider Tour (1987)", The New York Times, retrieved 26 June 2013
  5. 1 2 EMI to Release Glass Spider DVD, 18 July 2006, retrieved 5 June 2013
  6. 1 2 Jacobson, Colin, David Bowie Glass Spider (1987), retrieved 21 May 2013
  7. 1 2 3 Thompson, Dave. Glass Spider (review) at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  8. 1 2 "Special: David Bowie: Glass Spider Tour", TV Guide, 1987
  9. O'Connor, John (3 June 1988), "TV Weekend; 'David Bowie: Glass Spider Tour'", The New York Times, retrieved 28 May 2013
  10. O'Malley, Kathy; Gratteau, Hanke (12 November 1987), "Towing the Line...", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 28 October 2013
  11. Barber, Sally, David Bowie: The Glass Spider Tour (1987), retrieved 7 October 2013
  12. Jarvis, Jeff (6 June 1988), Picks and Pans Review: David Bowie: Glass Spider, retrieved 28 May 2013
  13. O'Neil, Tim (27 August 2007), David Bowie: Glass Spider Tour (Special Edition DVD), retrieved 28 May 2013
  14. David Bowie: Glass Spider (review)
  15. "MPI: David Bowie Glass Spider Promotional Flier" 1988, MPI Home Video
  16. Van Matre, Lynn (21 August 1988), ""Spider" Tour Spins a Web", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 28 October 2013
  17. Willman, Chris (3 June 1988), "TV REVIEW : 'Glass Spider': A Glitzy Special From David Bowie and Friends", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 26 June 2013

External links

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