Cast your minds back to 1996. The internet was still in its infancy and trading/selling options like Amazon and eBay were also not even on the agenda for most of us. Buying your records and collectables meant a trip to town and sifting through the vast rows of vinyl, walls of cassette tapes and trays of compact discs. It was always an adventure and often, you had no idea what you might turn up.
One afternoon, I was visiting The Record Exchange and whilst having a chat to the counter staff, a lady came in looking to sell on her David Bowie collection. With her box of treasures were the hard to find yellow and green 12″ pressings from New Zealand of Underground, a small handful of RCA LPs with orange labels, two scrap books, other bits and bobs along with a wallet containing around 60 images that her father had taken of Bowie during his run of shows in Sydney during November 1987.
Right place at the right time it seemed. The boys behind the counter offered her $60 but that seemed a little harsh. I stepped in and offered her whatever she wanted. “Is $100 ok for you?” She enquired. If offered her $200 and we shook hands. At the time, I had just turned 19 and had very little spare money so I arranged to meet at her place in a few days to complete the transaction.
The following Tuesday, I caught the bus to her place where we chatted about Bowie (she had, like many fans, lost interest during Tin Machine which I still think is a great shame) and exchanged cash for goods. Then I was off! Needless to say, my bus journey home was one of great excitement. It was also on this journey that I realised how beautiful the photos of Bowie were. As I scanned over each image, I realised how lucky I was to have gotten hold of these. Unlike today where we are able to take multiple photos before editing and filtering them, these were straight from the hip if you could say.
Over the coming days, I poured over the images whilst listening to some live bootlegs from the Glass Spider tour to keep the mood in check. It had only been 9 years since this tour and I remember thinking how much I wish I had been just a few years older and have been able to see the tour. Then again, different pathways of life may have seen me watching Bon Jovi in 1987 and not Bowie. Shudder at the thought of that if I may?
The photos are still in my possession and I have shared some online over recent years but they have not garnered a great deal of interest so I have yet to bother uploading the rest. I find it a great shame that our digital society appears unable to truly appreciate beautiful things because we are too busy moving onto the next thing. Then again, perhaps rare photos of David Bowie playing in Sydney during the summer of 1987 aren’t that interesting to too many people? Either way, I’ll always cherish them and the moment that I was fortunate enough to have them fall into my lap.
The Glass Spider tour itself was an interesting show to say the least. Whilst Bowie tried a little too hard in some areas, there were elements that still take ones breath away. Take for instance the intro. The red suit, Bowie being lowered from the belly of the spider. Then Heroes was always something I enjoyed watching over. It’s just a shame the full concert has yet to see the light of day. Somehow I doubt it ever will.
If you would like to see more of the shots from this collection, get in touch and I will happily send you links. For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of David Bowie!