Absolute Bowie: Live in Brighton. Gig report.


Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Celebrate David Bowie with Absolute Bowie. Hit after hit, from A to Z. It is a fitting, authentic tribute to the man who thrilled the world!

Absolute Bowie: Concorde 2 15 April 2022

You better Hang On To Yourself as Absolute Bowie return to Brighton. Throughout the pandemic/COVID 19 I have been lucky to catch the Absolute Bowie guys a few times.  And, after all that, I still couldn’t wait to see John and the  guys live once again. He gets into your Soul Love!

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

This gig had been rescheduled due to the Pandemic, seeing the crowds waiting outside was terrific  following the relaxation of the lock down regulations. Winners of the ‘Best Bowie Tribute’ and ‘Best Band’ in the UK at the Agents Association of Great Britain Awards July 2018. Now in their 12th year of touring, the UKs ‘Best Tribute Band’ and ‘Best Bowie’ act, would like to come and meet you and they might just blow your mind…

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The venue was Concorde 2 in Brighton and the event took place on a pleasant Friday night and was promoted by a top local promotion outfit Black Rabbit Productions. A sold out show saw the crowd enter the venue preparing to have a night to remember. There was a very clear air of expectation and excitement in Concorde 2tonight as the band came on stage… The crowd settled in for what turned out to be a fabulous performance.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The Band

The band tonight on stage were John O’Neill – vocals and 12 string guitar as David Bowie, Andy Marr – guitar as Mick Ronson, Alex Face – drums as Woody Woodmansey, a newest addition to the line up, Matteo Grassi – bass as Herbie Flowers, and the fabulous Alex Paolillo – keyboards as Rick Wakeman at the back.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The Set had been juggled around as the guys fired up with The Jean Genie. The Jean Genie is a genuine early show stopping highlight.

Songs: The Jean Genie, Changes, Ziggy Stardust, All The Young Dudes, Starman, and Life on Mars?

A huge shout to the band, Andy on guitars was off the chart tonight, he teased and thrashed his guitars and delivered a totally enthralling guitar set. It was full of those vicious riffs, guitar licks and jaw dropping solos. Boy, can he play guitar. Alix on keys and synths provides a wonderful solid backing to all the songs.  We were treated to a solid percussion performance and an awesome drum solo from Alex, sticks flying hard tonight.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Always a joy to chat to the guys, Alix clearly excited with his new keyboard, which sounded great. Andy put in a solid guitar solo, which was off the chart! And chatting to Matteo who was in a great mood. What a difference in his performance from the last time we met! A beautifully constructed bass solo and a huge performance from him. “This time I know the songs better” he said with a huge smile. This band are rock solid.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

John has skilfully captured the essence of the performance and songs carrying those notes in a similar way to the great man himself did. Actually, If you closed your eyes on occasions  you could almost imagine it was The Starman, David, himself on stage. It was that good. John tonight raised the bar vocally and also with some 5 costume changes. Another new aspect of the performance.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

There remains no doubt whatsoever that Bowie’s musical legacy will live on and there is no better person or band than John and Absolute Bowie to help keep a live version alive and keeping it all going. I have said it before but you have to be brave to be a Bowie tribute act. Bowie was loved by so many and was scrutinised and adored around the world. You have to have the belief and confidence and talent to pull it off. John as Absolute Bowie has all of those qualities and so much more. It is pretty much Bowie perfection.

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I am now, dear reader a regular! A chance to see John and his band giving me, or indeed anyone, an excuse to boogie to some great Bowie tunes is now an event I would not want to miss.

Songs: Modern Love, China Girl, Look Back In Anger, Ashes to Ashes, Space Oddity, Young Americans,

Click on image to enlarge

The mixed audience was made up of a range of different ages, some fans of the band and fans of Bowie himself. Those who have seen Bowie live, and those, like me, who never did will have enjoyed this, but again I can confirm, hand on heart, Absolute Bowie have to be without doubt, the next best thing.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

This is a great night out and suitable for all ages. Absolute Bowie nailed it.The Brighton voices sang out loud and true for All the Young Dudes. The Jean Genie was a genuine showstopper of a highlight. Its always interesting to see what Absolute Bowie have planned. John and his band returned for the second session after a 25 minute break. John and the band played for almost 2 hours tonight. Bang for buck Absolute Bowie are way ahead of the game! Superb value and entertainment.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

A huge congrats to Black Rabbit Productions and to the entire team at Concorde 2. Everyone seemed happy as they left chatting about what they had seen and their favourite Bowie track. Hearing, and being with, a few hundred people sing the chorus to Starman is an event in itself. It’s something you will never forget. Space Oddity to close the show and again the authenticity hits you. This was rock n roll, this was Bowie, and this was Absolute Bowie.

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It lifted the spirits of everyone in Concorde 2, John and his band made us kind of forget for a short while what we had all been through. John thanked us all for coming – “you are all heroes”. John also made a poignant reference to the invasion of Ukraine. This was a dose of medicine we all needed after the live music void of the last couple of years. This was a tonic we all needed.

Click on image to enlarge

There can be no doubt whatsoever that Bowie’s musical legacy will live on and there is no better person, or band, than John and Absolute Bowie to help keep a live version alive. I have said it before but you have to be brave to be a Bowie tribute act. Bowie was loved by so many and was scrutinised and adored around the world. You have to have the belief and confidence and talent to pull it off.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

John as Absolute Bowie has all of those qualities and so much more. It is pretty much Bowie perfection. No complaints from the crowd who had joined in and engaged with the Star Man tonight. We had spent nearly two hours of singing and dancing on this Easter Bank Holiday Friday night. What a cracking start.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The second set was trimmed back slightly, allowing John to change costumes. So much material to choose from, so much more to sing from that catalogue – I would love to hear Lets Spend The Night Together, Sorrow and maybe Hang On To Yourself. John later shared some feedback from a young concert goer with me, it was her first gig. It was a fitting tribute to the man who delivers such a fine tribute. Well deserved guys!

Click on image to enlarge

You don’t just sound like him or look like him, you are him. I think the fact that you were born on the same day means you’re connected to him! (The full moon is a sign, there’s a star man and if we sparkle he may land tonight!)” – Young Absolute Bowie Fan.

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Absolute Bowie: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

And Finally…

Absolute Bowie will return in December 2022! You don’t want to miss it!

More from Absolute Bowie can be found here on Facebook

More from Absolute Bowie can be found on the WWW

Words and Pictures: Ian Bourn

 

Black Rabbit Productions hosted the evening. They work hard promoting live music on the south coast. They are a promotion company with years of experience putting on music shows. Tonight was superb. They have some great gigs lined up and a promise of Absolute Bowie – back in Brighton soon!  You can find Black Rabbit Productions on the WWW 

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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2022.

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