Time to Celebrate David Bowie with Absolute Bowie. Hit after hit, a fitting tribute to the man who thrilled the world!
Hold on tight as Absolute Bowie return to Brighton. If you closed your eyes on occasions you could almost imagine it was The Starman himself on stage.
This event should be made available on the NHS! It lifted the spirits of everyone in Chalk, it was a dose of medicine we all needed after the live music void of the last year and a half. This was a tonic we all needed.
Absolute Bowie: Freedom Gig in Brighton
Throughout the pandemic/COVID 19 I have been lucky to catch the Absolute Bowie team a few times. Pre Christmas at The Brighton Center and fortunate to have been part of the crew filming a really successful live stream with Four Face Productions at Concorde 2. And after all that, I still couldn’t wait to see John and the guys live once again.
This gig was billed as the freedom gig, one of the first live performances in Brighton 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 delivered just what this delirious audience desperately desired. Freedom, Bowie and live music!
The venue was Chalk in Brighton and the event took place on a hot Saturday night and was promoted by a top local promotion outfit Black Rabbit Productions. A reduced crowd of about 300 entered the venue preparing to have a night to remember. There was a very clear air of expectation and excitement in Chalk tonight as the band came on stage…
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 new addition to the line up, Matteo Grassi – bass as Herbie Flowers, and the fabulous Alex Paolillo – keyboards as Rick Wakeman at the back.
The Set: PART 1
The stage darkened as the opener from the album Diamond Dogs filled the venue and mist rolled across the stage.
“Fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats,
And ten thousand peoploids split into small tribes
Coveting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers
Like packs of dogs assaulting the glass fronts of Love Me Avenue“
This Ain’t Rock and Roll…… and we were off as John/Bowie bounced on stage to smash Diamond Dogs. The sound was crisp and the bass thundered out from Matteo. The Man Who Sold The World was next. Changes, Panic In Detroit, Moonage Daydream, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, The Jean Genie, Queen Bitch, All The Young Dudes, Starman, and Life on Mars? Were all included in set one. The band really stepped it up from Ziggy Stardust. The crowd were singing at the top of their voices and a suitably raucous – wham bam thank you ma’am for Suffragette City. The Brighton voices sang out loud and true for All the Young Dudes. The Jean Genie is a genuine showstopping highlight.
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 during Panic In Detroit.
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.
The Set: Part 2
Andy, now minus the Mick Ronson blonde wig, legs astride fired up the intro to Modern Love. John had changed persona for part 2, and dashed onto the stage. Oh boy! Did he look ready and the band seemed fired up for part two.
The Glam era costumes were gone as we stormed into the second segment of the night. Bang for buck Absolute Bowie are way ahead of the game! Superb value and entertainment. They are a 100% class act. Young Americans, Fame, China Girl, Ashes To Ashes, Let’s Dance, the band absolutely lifted the roof with this one, Rebel Rebel.
Sadly I never got to see David Bowie live and the opportunity to do that will now never come. I fell heavily for what these guys do when I first saw them play in Brighton and so the opportunity to see them again was not going to be missed! 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.
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.
The second set was trimmed back slightly. 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. The newer material was dropped in favour of the well known classics. Lets Dance was the song that lit the crowd and I swear there was not one person standing still from that moment on.
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. This is a great night out and suitable for all ages. Absolute Bowie nailed it. A huge congrats to Black Rabbit Productions and to the entire team at Chalk. 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. Its something you will never forget. Heroes served to close the show and again the authenticity hits you. This was rock n roll, this was Bowie, this was Absolute Bowie.
Take A Bow:
John was delighted after the show to hear some of the feedback and to learn how many happy faces were seen leaving after almost 2 hours of Bowie music brought to life. John said “What a great atmosphere eh! Blimey I think the crowd really needed to go extra mad tonight, and I just fed off of it“. This event should be made available on the NHS! It lifted the spirits of everyone in Chalk, we all kind of forgot for a short while what we had all been through. John thanked us all for coming – you are all heroes. It was a dose of medicine we all needed after the live music void of the last year and a half. This was a tonic we all needed.
John told me that Absolute Bowie will be playing live in Brighton on Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at the Concorde 2. Tickets now on sale from HERE.
More from Absolute Bowie can be found here on Facebook
More from Absolute Bowie can be found 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 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 2021.
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