Regular readers of this blog will know not only that I am a massive David Bowie fan, but I am also a bit of a Bowie snob. I have never been a particular fan of tribute bands. I have seen many and a handful have been very good, but the majority were mediocre at best. However just over a year ago at the fabulous Fibbers music venue in York I reluctantly decided to go and see Absolute Bowie. This is an act that many in the industry refer to as the best Bowie tribute by far and many of the reviews bear that out. Click here to read my review of that gig. I loved last years York show so much that I had to come back again in 2018. This time I persuaded my good friend and fellow Bowie fan Simon Hernaman and his wife Marie to join me. Was last year a one off or is the magic still there? You should read on to find the answer to that question.
The first set was a Ziggy set with John O’Neill in fine form as Bowie’s earliest and probably most iconic character. The costumes, the mime driven dance moves and most importantly for me the authentic sounding Bowie vocals from O’Neill. None of this would of worked however without the support of the excellent band; Chris Buratti on guitar, makes an excellent Mick Ronson in the first set, Fabio Cashio a stunningly talented bass player, Alex Paollilo on keyboards and drummer Alessandro Ricardi. There were many highlights in the Ziggy half of the show and it sounded great from where I was in the crowd although there seemed to be some problems with at least one of the monitors. Particular highlights were “Moonage Daydream“, ” The Man Who Sold The World“, a truly majestic “Life On Mars” and “Starman” which had everyone in Fibbers la-la-la-la-ing like lunatics. First set closer was “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide“, what else could it be? I do not believe that there was a single person in the crowd that didn’t sing along to every song with 100% passion.
Which Bowie would we get from John O’Neill in the second set? It was Serious Moonlight Bowie; bleached blond hair, wearing a pastel suit, unfastened bow tie and braces. In terms of where these songs were drawn from it was a much wider period than the Ziggy set ranging from 1974 to 1983. This band match their talent with confidence, to open with “Station To Station” would not have been attempted by lesser tribute acts, but Absolute Bowie pulled it off completely and followed that with a mesmerisingly funky version of what in my opinion is one of the finest cuts on the ‘Station To station’ album, “Stay”. Whilst we are on funk I have to mention “Fame”, I think Mr Bowie himself would have enjoyed that. We were treated to “Ashes To Ashes”, Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” from the 80s. The encore was for me perhaps the finest part of an amazing night. We were hit with “Space Oddity” which was introduced with a blast of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra” which was used as the theme to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey‘, “Heroes” and a stonking version of “Rebel Rebel” that may well have brought the ceiling down had it gone on any longer. If you have seen Absolute Bowie before then I know you will see them again, I certainly will. If you have never seen them before what are you waiting for?
Public service announcement – all videos found via YouTube but all the pictures are from the delightful Mr. Simon Hernaman’s mobile phone 🙂