So, your tree is up, your presents are wrapped and your turkey is in the fridge ready to be cooked. It’s almost Christmas. Let’s go out for an evening. Forget panto. For the best night out go to see Absolute Bowie. Absolute Bowie are one of the best tribute bands around. Forget The Bowie Experience – this is really the best Bowie experience you will have. Absolutely.
We were in a small venue in an industrial estate in Milton Keynes. (Don’t diss Milton Keynes – Bowie played there several times!) and I was surprised to see so many Bowie t-shirts in one place. I have always felt I was the only Bowie fan in Milton Keynes but this was a sold-out gig so obviously there are more than just me. And of course, people have travelled to see Europe’s finest David Bowie tribute.
The atmosphere was tangible. The excitement built up. People were talking Bowie, sharing stories and experiences. I showed a few people my Bowie tattoo. Its like a secret club and I feel privileged to be a member. Then Absolute Bowie came on and a hush fell over the audience as they stopped to see the show. The whole band were dressed up and ‘Trevor’ and ‘Mick’ had especially made an effort. Not just a nod but really thought through. Then ‘Bowie’ came on stage and he absolutely nailed it with not just his look which was the Ziggy era complete with sparkly lip-gloss but also with his mannerisms. He moved like Bowie. He danced like Bowie. And If you suspend belief and really wish – it could almost be Bowie. Opening with Jean Genie he gave it his all. The crowd went wild. It was as if we were at Hammersmith in 1973. This gig is a time machine. What a magical performance. Covering songs from the period, he sang Suffragette City, Moonage Daydream and Cracked Actor amongst others. During Changes he had two masks which really interpreted his movements – very reminiscent of Bowie’s mimes. When he sung Rock N Roll Suicide the crowd were singing it with him – he touched my hand which was outstretched (with my ‘cause you’re wonderful tattoo showing), which is such a Bowie thing to do. Grown men were wanting to touch him too – there was a lot of Bowie love in the room.
The second half opened with Wild Is The Wind, not an obvious choice to open a set with but such a beautiful choice of song, followed by Stay. Bowie was now ‘Serious Moonlight’ Bowie. A clean cut, blonde with a bright yellow suit. Again, his movements were superb – exactly how Bowie moved. I was there in 1983 so can say this with conviction. Some well known songs including Fame, China Girl, Ashes To Ashes and of course Heroes were delivered with style to a hungry audience. ‘Bowie’ had them lapping up his every word. The audience were very appreciative. And after the final bow…the audience begged so much for one more that we were rewarded with Rebel Rebel.
Talking backstage to Bowie aka John, it was obvious John is a huge fan. We talked about Bowie and our mutual love of him. John told me he will never play Lazarus out of respect for Bowie and because it’s a song about death. John wears a silver bangle round his wrist with the Blackstar symbols on it. He is a true fan. And it absolutely takes one to know one. This is a band whose love and respect of Bowie oozes out of their performance. The band are planning a Bowie 90’s/00’s Bowie gig too – think Outside, Earthling and right up to Blackstar. This is a brave thing to do – many generic fans will only want their era (70’s/80’s) but for the die hards this will be a show to see – and I really hope for that Earthing jacket. (Oh, how I want one of my own!). Watch this space!
Absolute Bowie are excellent. I have been wary of tributes in the past but Absolute Bowie have convinced me that done well – they are absolutely worth it. If its good enough for Woody Woodmansey – its good enough for me!