Glass Spider Live (Immortal 104212)
Sydney Entertainment Centre Nov’ 1987
CD 1: Glass Spider , Day-In Day-Out, Bang Bang, Absolute Beginners, Loving The Alien, China Girl, Rebel Rebel, Fashion, Never Let Me Down CD 2: “Heroes”, Sons Of the Silent Age, Young Americans, The Jean Genie, Let’s Dance, Time, Fame, Blue Jean, I Wanna Be Your Dog, White Light White Heat, Modern Love.
Q: When is a door not a door? A: When it’s ajar. Q: When is an official release not an official release? A: When it’s released only in the Netherlands and happens to be the audio track ripped from the officially released ‘Glass Spider’ DVD.
Still, this hasn’t stopped ‘Glass Spider Live’ being imported in large numbers across the globe. In fact I’m surprised it hasn’t made the charts as most retailers seem to have at least a couple of copies on their shelves. So let’s call it ‘semi-official’.
To confuse matters further, now do please try to pay attention; the official EMI DVD release is available as a special version containing the complete Montreal Olympic Stadium show from August 30th 1987 whilst the accompanying DVD is culled from at least two shows at the Sydney entertainment centre with most tracks originating from the November 7th and 9th shows, although some fans dispute the dates. The DVD is the source of the audio on Immortal’s ‘Glass Spider Live’
The Montreal show has been bootlegged many times as it was broadcast on the radio by both King Biscuit and the BBC plus there were a surprising number of radio station discs in circulation. So I blame the official release rather than the global recession for the sudden loss in value of my previously sought after Radio discs.
‘Glass Spider Live’ was taped towards the end the Glass Spider tour and Bowie’s voice is somewhat horse when compared to earlier dates. However, it doesn’t detract from a generally excellent performance.
For some reason six songs were dropped from the DVD release and so of course don’t feature on ‘Live’ either.
Annoyingly and incredibly (to this reviewer) the missing songs are among the highlights of the tour including a rare ‘All the Madmen’ and a stunning version of ‘Big Brother’ wonderfully infused with Latin rhythms. However, these songs do feature on the official Montreal show.
On the plus side ‘Live’ includes a rocking version of ‘White Light White Heat’ and a cover of an old Stooges number ‘I wanna be your Dog’ which don’t feature on the Montreal show. During both of these songs Bowie is joined by Charlie Sexton on guitar adding some real rock n roll edge to them. Sexton of course, went on to play with Dylan.
The sound quality is, as expected, first rate on ‘Live’ with especially good bass and rhythm guitar. However; Peter Frampton’s lead guitar is somewhat deeper in the mix than on the Montreal CD which is a shame.
‘Glass Spider Live’ is presented in a tri-fold digipack awash with video-grabbed images from the DVD and looks like an official release apart from the superfluous sleeve notes by William Hogeland. You know the type of thing, ‘Born David Jones in 1947…..’
As it’s still available I would have to recommend EMI’s DVD and two CD version above ‘Glass Spider Live’ unless you really need a DVD and a CD of the same show and most fans will. Of course you may think owning both is like a broken pencil, totally pointless……….