With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Absolute Bowie – Fibbers, York – Friday 19th January 2018 January 20, 2018


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 🙂

 

Absolute Bowie – Fibbers, York Friday 13th January 2017 January 15, 2017


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I have often seen myself as a bit of a Bowie purist, particularly as I saw the Dame himself ten times from 1976 to 2004. I have also never been a big fan of tribute acts. However I had heard some very good things about Absolute Bowie. But I do believe that this might have been perhaps one of the first gigs I had ever been to where I set out to not really enjoy myself. However I had a little word with myself about not being such a miserable git and to get on and enjoy the show and indeed that is what I did!

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The first set focused on the Ziggy period, John O’Neill is a very convincing Bowie in both vocals and mannerisms. How much more authentic can you get than a 12 string guitar on a marvellous set opener “Space Oddity“. Those early songs were all nailed down perfectly, my particular favourites were “The Man Who Sold The World“, “Moonage Daydream“, “All The Young Dudes” and “Starman”. The band is clearly a very talented bunch, Chris Buratti is a stunning Mick Ronson with supreme guitar skills. There was even time for the obligatory Bowie of old costume change from the glittery jumpsuit into what was a very good approximation of one of Bowie’s Japanese outfits. The audience was in full vocal flow throughout the evening and Fibbers was rocking to the rafters. Close your eyes and you could imagine that you were at Friars in Aylesbury in 1972 or the Hammersmith Odeon in 1973. By now all my doubts had disappeared and I was looking forward to the second set with relish.

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I had wondered which Bowie era would be next on the agenda. I felt that it might jump straight to Serious Moonlight (more of that later!) but we were treated to classic Thin White Duke. The set opened with stupendous and rumbling work out of “Station To Station”. So great that it wasn’t just the all the usual hit singles, although there were plenty of those too. My favourite track from the second set was easily “Stay” which in my opinion never gets played enough. That said though “Fashion”, “Ashes To Ashes” and “China Girl” were all brilliant. “China Girl” is not even one of my favourite Bowie songs! We were even treated to another costume change during the second set, this time from Thin White Duke to the Serious Moonlight Bowie from 1983. Strangely I felt O’Neill looked more like Bowie in the Serious Moonlight segment, which is pretty special given the lack of make-up compared to his take on Ziggy. “Rebel Rebel” was a massive encore moment and the crowd went totally wild at this point.

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If like me before this you consider yourself a bit of a Bowie purist (actually maybe snob would be better) just lose that attitude and lose yourself in the Absolute Bowie experience. I will definitely go and see Europe’s finest Bowie tribute act again. You will never see the real thing again, but this is as close as you’ll get without it being the real thing to paraphrase Woody Woodmansey.

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Public Service Announcement: Obviously none of these excellent photographs or videos were taken or filmed by me, just so you know!

 

 
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