I‘m a die-hard Bowie fan and I know that anything Tony Visconti touches will be of an excellent quality, so I was genuinely excited to see Tony Visconti’s Best Of Bowie. Aylesbury is a significant venue on the Bowie map. It was where David Bowie first tried out both Hunky Dory and Ziggy albums on an unsuspecting audience at Friars. The market square in the song Five Years is indeed, Aylesbury market square. There is now a statue by the square, dedicated to Bowie, so for this show to include Aylesbury on their tour is a wonderful tribute to those early Bowie days.
Let me be clear. This is no ordinary band. It is led by the legendary Tony Visconti, who produced many of David Bowie’s albums and plays bass in the band. Singing all our favourite Bowie tunes is the very talented Glenn Gregory, (Heaven 17) and he is indeed a devoted Bowie fan. He tells us about when he first sang Life On Mars in Canada the day he heard about Bowie’s passing. This song still gets him now and the emotions he pours into it brings a new depth to that girl with the mousey hair. Glenn is a consummate professional and delivers all the songs with heart; giving each number everything he’s got. Because of this, I quite forgave him for getting a bit jumbled during Quiksand…and anyway that song has some very difficult lyrics to remember.
On guitars are James Stevenson (The Alarm, GenX, The Cult) and Paul Cuddeford (Ian Hunter, Bob Geldof) who Glenn jokes are Tony’s children as they have all played together for years. Jessica Lee Morgan has already given us a wonderful support act alongside her partner Chris. Jessica is a hugely gifted individual; she has a fabulous voice, writes amazing songs that have great lyrics and some remind me of early Bowie. I love a folky, acoustic sound and Jessica delivers. It’s definitely worth getting to the show early for the support act. But Jessica doesn’t stop there – she is playing in the band, guitar, sax and back-up vocals. This is a line-up of quality musicians who know their craft and are no newcomers to playing Bowie. The band are completed with Janette Mason (Oasis, Pulp) on keys and Smiley (The Alarm, Robbie Williams) on drums.
The set list gave us a full range of 70’s classics and should contain something for everyone. There are the expected hits such as Ashes to Ashes, Space Oddity and Heroes, but also some rare album tracks that were joyous to hear such as Lady Grinning Soul, Width Of A Circle and one of my personal favourites, All The Madmen. I was delighted to hear Time, Rock n Roll Suicide and Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud/ All The Young Dudes/ Oh You Pretty Things medley. Almost after every track, Glenn says he loves singing it or it is one of his favourites, Me too Glenn. Me too!
The encore gave the audience permission to get out of our seats and dance. I had been out of my seat singing and dancing to the whole show but now the whole audience was up to Rebel Rebel and Suffragette City.
Tony talked at the end of the show telling us what David thought of him touring The Man Who Sold The World Album. Tony says he believes that David is looking down on us watching and still giving his approval for the show. I believe that too. After all, Tony has previously been quoted as saying ‘We’re not a tribute band. We are the real deal’. You sure are!
The true legacy of Bowie is the music he left us. This show is all about Bowie’s music. And with a band like this, who clearly have a genuine love and respect for David Bowie, the music will shine.
Width Of A Circle
Lady Grinning Soul
Ashes To Ashes
All The Madmen
She Shook Me Cold
Boys Keep Swinging
The Man Who Sold The World
Rock n Roll Suicide
Life On Mars