Regular readers will know that as a die-hard, life long David Bowie fan it took ages for me to finally cave in and see a Bowie tribute act. That particular tribute act is Absolute Bowie and 2019 marks the third year in a row that I have seen the magnificent spectacle of an Absolute Bowie show. When I first came to see them at Fibbers back in 2017 I was determined not to like them, but I bloody loved them and still do. The show is empathetic, sympathetic and a stunningly well put together tribute to the late, great Dame David. This show was very special as it featured not just the usual two Bowie’s from my experiences, but no less than four different Bowie incarnations. Obviously Ziggy and the Spiders was first, kicking off proceedings with an explosive “Watch That Man” followed by many Ziggy period classics including another from ‘Aladdin Sane’ that I hadn’t heard for a while, “Panic In Detroit”. There were many highlights in that first set particularly the perfect rendition of “Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)” including the warped jazz tinged Mike Garson piano licks from the supremely talented Alex Paolillo. When Bowie (John O’Neill) picked up the 12 string guitar I knew a treat was in store and I was not wrong, first a great version of my favourite Bowie song “All The Young Dudes” and then a crowd pleasing take of “Starman” which had the crowd singing at full volume.
After a brief interval the band returned in full Serious Moonlight mode and smashed 80s Bowie with rousing and authentic early 80s anthems; “Let’s Dance”, “Ashes To Ashes” and “China Girl”. The 80s was never my favourite David Bowie period, but it is impossible to deny that some of the songs are guaranteed party starters and the audience agreed and threw themselves into singing and dancing with gargantuan glee and amazing abandon. I am sure there were plenty of sore throats and aching muscles the next day. John O’Neill left the stage as 80s Bowie while the stupendously talented band carried on before he returned as a 90s Bowie and wowed us with “Hallo Spaceboy” and what you might call a deep cut, “Look Back In Anger” from the 1979 David Bowie album ‘Lodger’. I was intrigued about what the encore might be after the band left the stage. I was blown away. They kicked off the final three songs with a note perfect recreation of “Black Star”, a song that the real Bowie never got to perform live. O’Neill looked the part wearing the bandage style mask with those eerie black dot eyes. Taking on that song was for me one hell of a brave move, but it paid off, it was excellent and beautifully performed. How could Absolute Bowie follow such a mountainous peak? Quite spectacularly actually. Firstly with another outing for the 12 string on “Space Oddity” and a very passionate and moving “Heroes”.
Absolute Bowie were very worthy and deserving winners of the ‘Best Bowie Tribute’ and ‘Best Tribute Band in the UK’ at the Agents Association of Great Britain Awards last summer. On tonights performance they must be in with a good chance of winning many more awards. I should mention the people who form this magnificent band too. Obviously there is John O’Neill as Bowie, Chris Buratti on Guitar and as a very credible and believable Mick Ronson, Alex Face drummer extraordinaire who would almost certainly make Woody Woodmansey proud, Fabio Cascio a bass player who knows his way around classic rock bass lines and the previously mentioned keyboard wizard Alex Paolillo. If you have never seen Absolute Bowie then I urge you to do so. Even if you are like I used to be; a die-hard fan who hated the idea of a Bowie tribute. This lot is well worth the ticket price. My beautiful wife Catwoman joined me tonight and she loved it as did our good friends Nikki and David. I am sure that all four of us will be back next year!
Public Service Announcement: All the pictures, apart from the tour poster, were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If any of the videos are yours let me know if you would like a credit or if you want a video removed.