Aladdin Sane is often an overlooked album during the 1970's when such a huge range of stunning Bowie albums shone in their own way including Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Station To Station, Diamond Dogs and Young Americans. However, the Aladdin Sane album contains a range of styles from the 50’s inspired Drive In Saturday; the sleazy Cracked Actor; the rockin’ Jean Genie and Panic in Detroit and the jazzy Aladdin Sane; it’s hard not to be inspired by such a masterpiece of an album. This is the first time ever to have the album played in its entirety along with some other Bowie favourites. To be at the first show of the tour of the first time this album was to be played ever was indeed a real privilege.
The support was offered with some original songs from Gillian Glover. There is no doubt this lady can sing and it was a shame that so many people didn’t stop to listen to her as she deserves it. In another environment she could hold court in her own right, but many people were buzzing with excitement of what was to come.
Mike Garson came on to a rapturous applause, opening with Watch that Man and continued its journey along the album, we all sang along and danced and clapped and cheered. Mike was very affable and interjected the tracks with stories about David himself. It was sublime and emotional. The band were altogether and with a bunch of such talented musicians you knew it was going to be a great night. Gaby Moreno sung most of the set and what a voice this woman has. She had a trouser suit on and her style is not unlike Chrissie Hynde. A beautiful strong soul with a voice from deep within. Her range was exceptional and she really gave depth to the songs. Kevin Armstrong played guitar with Bowie and Iggy Pop and along with Ben Ellis on Bass and Mat Hector on drums who both also played with Iggy, they were joined by Terry Edwards on sax and guitar. The list of musicians read like a list of who’s who in the rock world. What a wonderful bunch of talent all together to pay respect to our main man. Of course, the name above the door was Mike Garson and he did not disappoint. His piano playing was beyond anything I’d ever experienced. He was truly awesome. But more was to follow. This was the line-up that kept on giving. Roger Glover from Deep Purple came on to play bass as a guest musician. And that was not all. Steve Harley (yes who can come up and see me anytime) told us he wished he had written Absolute Beginners as well as playing a couple of his own tracks (Sebastian and A Friend For Life).
The set list was an outstanding set including Wild is the Wind, Five Years and Under Pressure. For the first few bars of Absolute Beginners it was the start of That’s Motivation from Absolute Beginners. My heart skipped a beat. I cannot begin to explain how much that film and soundtrack mean to me – and to hear the full proper version of Absolute Beginners played like that – well that was it. When they sang ‘I absolutely love you’ I looked up to the heavens (look up here I’m in heaven) to Bowie and sang along but tears flooded my eyes and poured onto my cheeks making my vision blurry. Every Bowie fan will have their own trigger but this is definitely one of mine and to hear this played was one of those moments I will never forget.
Mike paid huge respect to Bowie and said that Bowie could hear us. I wanted to believe this more than anything. Nothing could make this gig better unless Bowie himself walked onto the stage. The whole evening was superb.
People asked why I brought my original Aladdin Sane vinyl with me… I had hoped but had no expectations; no plan on getting to meet Mike after the gig so I cannot tell you what a pleasure it was to meet him and have him sign my Aladdin Sane gatefold. I could talk Bowie all night but time was waiting in the wings along with a queue of fans. Huge thanks to the whole band and everyone involved in making this such a joyous and special night. The whole evening was superb. Shakey might have thrown a party that lasted all night but Mike threw a concert that will stay in our hearts forever.
If you have a ticket you can be assured you are going to be seeing something incredible. Ziggy may well have played guitar but Mike Garson can sure play piano!
Watch That Man
Drive In Saturday
Panic In Detroit
The Prettiest Star
Let’s spend the night together
The Jean Genie
Lady Grinning Soul
Life On Mars
Rock n Roll Suicide
Wild Is The Wind