David Bowie - Glass Spider - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

David Bowie - Glass Spider Reviews

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½ December 10, 2015
Ruins his best songs. Camp, cliche and a low point of his career.
½ November 28, 2010
Though it lacks the coherence and passion of Bowie's best tours -- Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs, Outside, A Reality -- Glass Spider does have one factor in its favor: It sprang arguably the best concert film ever recorded of Bowie. Although the artist's critical fortunes were at their lowest point in 1987, "Glass Spider" still retains its charm, despite dated production values and less-than-stellar songs, because it keeps things simple.

Although Glass Spider was very much a tour emphasizing the theatrical element of Bowie's live work, his contemporary material was probably the least suited for spectacle. The tour's parent album, "Never Let Me Down," was largely blasted as being a simplistic cash-in. However, it speaks highly of Bowie's work onstage and David Mallet's efforts behind the camera to transform time-killers like "Blue Jean" and a cover of Iggy Pop's "Bang Bang" into something energetic and fun.

Certainly elements of the performance feel labored: The backing dancers' intro and stub of "Up the Hill Backwards," while worth a look, hardly holds a candle to the "Scary Monsters" original, while similar pre-taped dialogue interjections before "Absolute Beginners" are just bizarre tangents. However, for all the pomp, the numbers following are still remarkably entertaining. Sure, Carmine Rojas is no George Murray, and Alan Childs is no Dennis Davis, but the older numbers retain much of their classic sound thanks to reliable rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar, whose avant-garde shredding marks the audience's first sight of the show.

Like his best tours, Glass Spider retained much of the old alongside the new. Due to deficiencies -- perceived by both listeners and the artist himself -- the eponymous title probably kept more old than new for a reason, but the onstage and onscreen results still maintain a modicum of interest, despite the fact that Bowie has done much more substantial, compelling work before and since.
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