The phrase “one of a kind” gets thrown around in music a lot, but few are a more deserving embodiment of the term than David Bowie. Born David Robert Jones, he was a subversive, radical shapeshifter massively ahead of his time, but his appeal and influence was immense—something that doesn’t often happen with musicians who push the envelope in such a dramatic way. Everyone has a favorite David Bowie era, whether the high-concept glam rock of Ziggy Stardust, the provocative art rock of Heroes or the eccentric pop of Hunky Dory. Bowie’s gender-bending, androgynous look was revolutionary, and his multiple musical personas have inspired countless followers.
By 1987, Bowie had a whopping 17 albums under his belt and his sound had grown far beyond the baroque-pop of his 1967 self-titled debut. That year, Bowie embarked on his massive Glass Spider world tour in support of his latest album Never Let Me Down. It became the first Bowie tour to stop in countries like Austria, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Wales. It was the longest and most expensive Bowie tour at the time with what was called “the largest touring set ever.” On this day in 1987, Bowie performed a career-spanning set at Montreal’s Olympic Park, featuring one of his old friends, Peter Frampton, on guitar.
Wolfgang’s Vault writer Alan Bershaw notes the standout moments from that Olympic Park show:
This show is a part of what was unquestionably Bowie’s most adventurous tour. It opens with a recording of The Kronos Quartet’s version of “Purple Haze,” continues with his song “Up The Hill Backwards,” and heavily features material from Never Let Me Down, which was Bowie’s new LP in 1987, The show is stacked with deep album cuts from throughout his career, such as “Loving The Alien,” “Scary Monsters,” “All The Madmen,” “Big Brother,” “Time Will Crawl” and “Beat Of Your Drum.”
Listen to David Bowie’s 1987 Olympic Park show in full below.