35 years ago today: David Bowie brings his massive Glass Spider Tour to Vancouver

    1 of 3 2 of 3

      Thirty-five years ago today--on August 15, 1987--David Bowie brought his huge Glass Spider Tour to BC Place Stadium.

      The added bonus was, the Thin White Duke had Peter Frampton on lead guitar, and that dude can play!

      Bowie and Frampton, childhood friends, were still pals in '87.

      Sadly, I didn't get there in time to see openers the Georgia Satellites, who were one of my fave bands at the time.

      Here's my review, which was published in the August 21, 1987 issue of the Georgia Straight.

      Fans of the Georgia Satellites who were expecting to see the hard-rocking Atlanta band open for David Bowie at the scheduled time of 7 pm last Saturday (August 15) were in for a rather nasty surprise. The Satellites' gig was pushed ahead to 6:30 pm so patrons of the scheduled 5 1/2 hour concert would have time to catch public transportation before the midnight cut-off.

      Despite the efforts of the promoters to let ticket holders know about the last-minute change through radio, TV, and the daily papers, Georgia Satellites fans who didn't hear about the time change got shafted.

      I was one of them.

      Oh well...

      On the positive side, the Duran Duran set was actually quite good--a lot better than I thought it would be. From the press box the sound in the dome still resembled a cheap ghetto blaster, but at least there wasn't that irritating echo you usually get up there, thanks to careful speaker placement.

      Duran Duran started off with the James Bond track "A View to a Kill", and headed through such hits as "Union of the Snake", "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Wild Boys" (during which Simon Le Bon pulled off a rather nifty handstand). They also did a couple of tunes from the band's splinter groups, Power Station ("Some Like It Hot") and Arcadia ("Election Day").

      At about 10 o'clock the 35,000 fans finally got what they'd been waiting so long for, and as the lights went down Bowie's spikey-haired rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar came strolling out, knocking off Van Halen-type guitar licks, while a voice from the scaffolding high above kept yelling, "Shut up!"

      That voice belonged to Bowie himself, who descended from the belly of a huge, translucent, glowing spider while reciting the poetic opening lines of the song "Glass Spider". Dressed in an oversized red jumpsuit and matching suede boots, the 40-year-old pop star was joined by the rest of his band and five dancers.


      In no time at all, a huge throng of fans had assembled at the front of the stage, leaving those who had paid upwards of $300 for front row seats to think about other ways they could have spent their money. From across the stadium, the performers looked like insects, but thanks to two massive video screens, most of the on-stage action was visible.

      With Peter Frampton's inspired guitar freak-outs leading the way, the Bowie band made its way through new material ("Time Will Crawl", Iggy Pop's "Bang Bang") and older stuff ("Heroes," "Rebel Rebel") before the marathon night of rock and roll came to an end, just before midnight.