Absolute Bowie return to Brighton for their annual Christmas party. This finely crafted show landed at Concorde 2 on Saturday 22 December. Winners of the ‘Best Bowie Tribute’ and ‘Best Tribute Band in the UK’ at the Agents Association of Great Britain Awards July 2018. Absolute Bowie are touring and presenting their new stage show “50 Years of Bowie”; a musical journey through the iconic singer’s ever changing personas. This new show was promised to feature all of Bowie’s greatest hits of the last 50 years in a brand new and revamped setlist for 2018/19.
You have to be sure of yourself and what you do, and it has to be something exceptional to try and pull off the legendary aura of a David Bowie concert. Europe’s top Bowie tribute band Absolute Bowie dropped back into Brighton for a pre Christmas show. John O’Neill appeared on stage in full Ziggy Stardust regalia. He grabbed my attention and that of the sold out crowd instantly. The rest of the band is in full Spiders from Mars costume, with guitarist Chris Buratti wearing a very blonde wig, doing the Mick Ronson guitars. The band took to the stage to a huge cheer, they certainly looked the business, but did they sound like Bowie? The simple answer to that is a resounding “yes”.
ABSOLUTE BOWIE: Set 1 early years
The band struck up – guitars, bass, drums and keys all welcomed “Bowie” to the stage, a massive cheer went up and Watch That Man was up first. What an opener. John mesmirised the crowd with his opening look/performance all wrapped up in white silk, and the band ripped at us at full force. We were only one song in! Cracked Actor was up next, followed by a brilliant rendition of The Man Who Sold The World. This really showed the skill of John O’Neill and his vocal range – he did sound like the man himself. A stand out moment, well one of them, for me, from the set.
The sublime Ch CH Ch Changes was up next followed by a breathtaking full throttle version of Jean Genie – along with some super sax playing, another highlight. John shook off his silks and feather boa, grabbed a guitar for another fabulous rendition – John I’m Only Dancing. Next up Starman, now this was special and a gig highlight, and one of the best of 2019 live shows moments for me as the packed in crowd sang along, and I do mean everyone. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, it was full of raw emotion from the crowd as we joined in.The smoke machine had been working hard, Concorde 2 dropped into total darkness and the blistering white lights were ignited and beams bounced and danced off the mirror balls along with the chorus. This was brilliant. Ziggy Stardust was up next, again a stunning version and bass and guitars working to bring a high level of authenticity. Then a slice of Wham Bam Thank You M’aam for Suffragette City. The Brighton crowd were in fine voice and joined in when ever they were prompted. Well done Brighton – be proud! Ziggy had played his guitar as we ending the first set.
A VIDEO: MONTAGE – Early Years
Join in with this short segue of clips.
ABSOLUTE BOWIE: THE BAND
Chris Buratti – Guitar – Mick Ronson
Fabio Cascio – Trevor Bolder | Bass + vocals
Alex Face – Woody Woodmansey | Drums
Fiona “FIZZ” Asbury – Alto/Baritone Saxophones, Flute
ABSOLUTE BOWIE – SET 2, 80’s and more!
After a short break we were set. Anticipation was heavy… which songs would be up next? If this set was to be anything like the first we were in for a treat. There will no doubt be a few folk in the crowd who managed to see David Bowie live, and many more who didn’t and will sadly never be able to claim to have been there. So, for me, Absolute Bowie is absolutely the next best thing to being there and seeing the legend live.
Outfits changed and we were off with Young Americans, China Girl, Ashes to Ashes and Fashion. This was an outstanding opening for second half. The look was authentic and so was the sound. The same band now looked and sounded totally different from the looks and sound of that first set. Brilliantly done.
The guitar was whipped and the opening bars for Modern Love sparked the crowd into action once again. Concorde 2 was once again soon filled with voices singing those classic Bowie songs. The band, totally on point, tore through the second set. In a note perfect fashion. They all seemed to be clearly enjoying Bowie’s 80’s and later successful material. Lets Dance was up totally matching Johns costume change.
The crowd joining in with the chorus. John seemed taken aback at the feedback, and the volume of it, he was getting from the crowd. Back in time again as Rebel Rebel was up, backed with a 500 voice strong chorus. Another highlight of the set and one of my personal Bowie favourites.
Ground Control to Major Tom….. heralded the end of this fabulous evening. With such a back catalogue to choose from, Absolute Bowie nailed it. The first half devoted to Ziggy Stardust era before a second half trip from Ashes to Ashes to Let’s Dance. I can confirm there were no fillers tonight, no obscure B-sides and some of the later years material was absent.
Definitely worth a watch. Bowie’s music drew in his audience, they will forever tune into the quality of those songs. To see, for example, Ashes To Ashes, live tonight was pure pop perfection. O’Neill was an impressive and striking front man, did he carry it off? Yes, and then some. He posed, rocked and engaged with the crowd. They know they are a tribute band and acknowledge it as such. These guys are talented musicians, will give you a great 2 hours of music and are definitely worthy of your time should they play near you. John gave a heartfelt call out to David Bowie, it was emotional, true and the crowd reacted accordingly with a long cheer.
That moment when everyone joined in with Starman was a gig, top moment of the year for me. The sound created by the band and the crowd was was simply awesome. The encore, the last song Space Oddity left the audience exhausted and happy.
Thank you Absolute Bowie, that really was a superb evening. This was a brilliant, family friendly event and is highly recommended when they return. See you in JULY!
Absolute Bowie are on the WWW
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 in July. You can find Black Rabbit Productions on the WWW
Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.
All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2018.
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