Reviewer: Matt Forrest
The phrases ‘icon’ and ‘legend’ are banded about far too much these days: it would seem you only have to appear in some God-awful reality TV show, and you jump into “legend” status. However, on 10 January this year, the world lost a true icon, and legend of popular culture, when David Bowie passed away.
It has to be something special to try and recreate the magic of a David Bowie concert, and Europe’s number one David Bowie tribute band Absolute Bowie certainly are up to the task. Arriving onstage in full Ziggy Stardust persona, John O’ Neill, instantly grabs your attention. The rest of the band is in full Spiders from Mars costume, with guitarist Chris Buratti donning a rather fetching blonde wig, as he does his best Mick Ronson impression. The band certainly looks the part, but more importantly, do they sound anything like their hero? The simple answer is yes.
They work their way through an hour-long set of Bowie hits, drawing from his classic albums, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Aladdin Sane.This part of the show is outstanding, hit after hit. Stand out tracks includeThe Man Who Sold the World,and a full-throttle rendition of The Jean Genie, which has everyone up singing and sees the band demonstrating just how talented they are. Suffragette City and Changes don’t quite match the dizzy heights of the originals but this a minor quibble. The set draws to a close with a barnstorming version of Queen Bitch, the highlight of the night, and a cracking rendition of Life on Mars?
Following the interval, the band return: There is a change of persona as O’Neill, arrives on stage – the Thin White Duke character. The band plays a few numbers includingGolden Days, Fame, and Fashion. The band seems to have lost some of the momentum gained in the first half, as this part of the show lacks oomph. Just as interest is waning slightly, there is a change in tempo and they launch into Let’s Dance and China Girl, which turn things around and gets the crowd dancing and singing along. Following a brief break, the band arrive on stage for the encore, which is a blistering version of Diamond Dogs and crowd favourite Heroes, which is a suitable way to finish the night.
There will be many in the crowd who got to see David Bowie perform live and many more who didn’t and will never, so Absolute Bowie is the next best thing to seeing this true legend live. Definitely worth a watch.
Reviewed on 5 March 2016 | Image: Contributed