Review by Jasmine Storm with Photos by Bimal Tailor

It was the right week and the right time for Bowie fans to come together from all over the UK to celebrate David Bowie.  What has now become known as Bowie week due to his birthday on 8th January and the anniversary of his passing on 10th, has now meant an annual mecca for all fans to get together and share the Bowie love.

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Celebrating David Bowie was first put together in 2017 and so this is its second outing.  There had been mixed reviews of the 2017 shows but this had not distracted fans from buying a ticket to see Bowie’s band.  Fans were excited and in Bowie t-shirts of all descriptions.

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At this performance, sadly there was no Earl Slick, Bernard Fowler or Gaby Moreno (Gaby has recently performed in the UK for the Mike Garson tour to high acclaim) as they are not performing the UK dates.  Gail Ann Dorsey was also a name missing from last years original line up and this was discussed at length by some fans in the audience.  However, we did have Mike Garson who is a true legend on the piano.  His version of Aladdin Sane was so awesome it gave way to an impromptu standing ovation.  Mike also gave us personal stories about Bowie.  He told us that when Bowie was performing Rock N Roll Suicide during the early 1970’s he fainted on stage and they had to carry him off.  The audience never knew and believed it to be a part of the act.  Mike’s personal stories interwoven between songs made this gig feel special.  Another legend was on guitar.  Gerry Leonard worked with Bowie on Heathen, Reality and The Next Day albums so knows his body of work well.  Gerry gave a flawless performance and shows that he rightly deserved his place on this stage.  Adrian Belew was another Bowie musician who worked with Bowie on Stage and Lodger albums.  Adrian’s performance on DJ was outstanding.

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Angelo Moore provided the main vocals throughout most of the show.  He is best known as lead singer in the alternative rock band, Fishbone.  He is an outrageous front man and as well as changing his outfits several times, he was all over the stage interpreting Bowie’s words with facial expressions and dance.  Regrettably, his vocals were inconsistent at best.  But worse than that, he kept singing the wrong words or mumbling them.  Once would be forgivable but it was almost every song he sung.  It felt like he considered his showmanship more important than actually celebrating David Bowie’s words.  This was disappointing and disrespectful.  Knowing the USA will be getting Moreno and Fowler, it felt the UK audience had been short-changed.  Other vocalists gave a much better experience.  Benjamin Hudson (who has produced Paloma Faith, Pixie Lott and Duran Duran) sung a version of changes that was passionate and moving.  Equally Joe Sumner, (Sting’s son) sung a lovely version of Life On Mars and Paul Dempsey from Something For Kate gave a fantastic performance on Golden Years and Rock N Roll Suicide.

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The set list really was a full body of Bowie’s work from The Man Who Sold The World album right up to Blackstar.  Bowie’s ‘Anthony Newley’ period was not included.  You were guaranteed some classic Bowie during the show. Golden Years, Life On Mars, Starman, Rebel Rebel and Let’s Dance.  Sound And Vision was a much jazzier version using the brass section as well as Garson’s piano.  Some of the track choices were surprising such as opening with The Stars Are Out Tonight.  It was a brave and interesting start to the show.  Other surprises included Little Wonder, Stay and a rare outing for I Can’t Give Everything Away from the Blackstar album.  This track is a hugely sad and poignant song which did deflate the high in the audience as it’s so moving in its desperate plea.  In my opinion it should not have been performed and especially by Moore who at this stage was dressed in a Pierrot clown outfit.  Heroes was the last number of the encore but sadly the audience could not regain its earlier enthusiasm after the sadness of the previous song.  It made the audience realise there was really only one David Bowie and no one can replace him.

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The loss of David Bowie is always felt more at this time of year and Mike Garson said it best when he said ‘David Bowie is the new George Gershwin.  His music will last forever.  I came over to England ‘cause you produced this (Bowie).  I didn’t realise what I had at the time. I do now.’

Mike – we all realise now and miss our starman.

Set List:
The Stars Are Out Tonight
Moonage Daydream
Fame
Golden Years
Heart’s Filthy Lesson
Life On Mars
Starman
Rock n Roll Suicide
Suffragette City
Five Years
The Man Who Sold The World
Changes
Ziggy Stardust
Space Oddity
Ashes To Ashes
Sound And Vision
Oh You Pretty Things
Aladdin Sane
DJ
Boys Keep Swinging
Stay
Scary Monsters
Let’s Dance
Blue Jean
Little Wonder
All The Young Dudes
Rebel Rebel
Encore:
Mikes Love improv
I can’t give everything away
Heroes

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