Absolute Bowie (Scroll down for video)
Absolute Bowie returned to Brighton as promised back in December for the summer special. This finely crafted show/experience landed at Concorde 2 on Saturday 20 July, it was 50 years to the day of the moon landing, I had a feeling that Major Tom was in for a busy evening. 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, a musical journey through the iconic singer’s ever changing personas. This show was promised to feature all of Bowie’s greatest hits of the last 50 years in a brand new and revamped set list for 2019.
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 they last played in Brighton and so the opportunity to see them again on my doorstep at Concorde 2 was not going to be missed!
I had the chance to meet some of the Absolute Bowie devoted fans, a few from his fan page came over and said hello, which I loved, so if it was you – thank you! Some travelled many miles, to see the man perform, and some who never miss a show. There were some who did not know what to expect never seeing these guys before.
ABSOLUTE BOWIE: THE BAND
Chris Buratti – Guitar – Mick Ronson (top row center)
Fabio Cascio – Trevor Bolder | Bass + vocals (bottom row left)
Alex Face – Woody Woodmansey | Drums (bottom row centre)
Fiona “FIZZ” Asbury – Alto/Baritone Saxophones, Flute (bottom row right)
ABSOLUTE BOWIE: Set 1. The early years…
The band took to the stage to a huge cheer, and the opening Bowie passage from Diamond Dogs was playing in the back ground, that, when it finished sparked the band into life – and what a sound! These guys appear to use their own kit to reproduce the original sounds and the live music was astonishing from the get-go. John strutted his stuff onto the stage, white cloak flowing behind him and we were off as Diamond Dogs rule ok! I have to say that Johns cloak was most useful. Every time he swirled and twirled it, it created a wonderful breeze on the stage and in the press pit as Concorde 2 was sweltering in the heat and some of the stage fans had stopped working. It was seriously hot and steamy in the venue, and after one song it was clear that it was only going to get hotter!
“Mick Ronson” hammered the hell out of his guitar for the rocking intro to Watch That Man, a favourite of mine from Aladdin Sane. Another first for me from these guys was the awesome Moonage Daydream. Wow! Did they do that song justice. The song ended as “Bowies” cloak was torn in half leaving a blue sparkling Ziggy persona. Three songs in it was clear the set had been shuffled up and new songs included since the last time I saw them. Mind you, they do have some back catalogue of material to choose from.
It’s clear that the guys making up Absolute Bowie love what they do. Hell, the drummer was wearing a vintage Bowie T! It’s what they do, and they have been doing it for a while, its a kind of passion I guess from all of them. The line up has not changed in the couple of years seeing these guys and that kind of proves that point. They do not simply copy the sound of Bowie, but everything about the man and in doing so create an evening of pure celebration.
Ch Ch Ch Changes was up next, always a crowd pleaser that one! And then into the sublime and still cool Ziggy Stardust. A fabulous rendition along with some Bowie pouts, crotch grabs, bum grabs and poses galore. This man has done his homework! A mesmerising performance.
From Ziggy the band bounced us into Suffragette City and then into Jean Genie! The fans of Bowie music and fans of Absolute Bowie really let it rip with a huge “Wham Bam Thank You M’aam!”. The video screen at the back showing some cool pics of the man himself in many of his guises. Next up the title track from the classic Aladdin Sane. John said after the show “it was the first time Fiona played on it with us we’ve been doing it in our set for a year or more … that was the highlight of my night to have her in that with Alex doing his manic solo on keyboards I was in heaven the adrenaline rushes were intense on that one for me“ . I concur, it was rather good.
All The Young Dudes was next, and this really set Concorde 2 alight as I everyone, and I do mean everyone joined in with the chorus. The crowd were well up for it now being expertly choreographed by John as Starman started up – with lots of blue lighting, even more smoke and blistering white light beams hitting the mirror ball as they traversed the venue. What an atmosphere in Concorde 2 tonight. Set one came to a close with another anthem, allowing Brighton to scream their lungs out with Life On Mars. I have to mention that the band were in full Spiders from Mars costume tonight.
After a 20 minute break the band returned and Bowie had changed
ABSOLUTE BOWIE: Set 2: The Later Years.
For the second set, there is a change of persona as O’Neill, took to the stage in a stunning suit, untied bow tie and a blonde wig – he had the Lets Dance/China Girl look done perfectly. The band had also changed their appearances, and in that heat it must have been a relief!
So set two arrived, “do you remember your president Nixon” as Young Americans got the set well underway. Then Modern Love, with Chris replicating the opening chords and sounds of the song. Johns voice cracks perfectly as Bowies did in the original classic. China Girl was given an outing and a rather longer version of Ashes To Ashes than I remember followed it. Look Back in Anger is up next, a song written by Bowie and Brian Eno for the album Lodger. This one caught me off guard and the band absolutely lifted the roof with this one.
We then had Under Pressure with Chris filling the Freddy Mercury vocal slot and doing a pretty decent job of it I thought. Up next, again a longer version than I remember, was Lets Dance. But it gave the crowd a chance to raise the heat levels even further as we danced our way through that one. Next up the thumping Bowie track Rebel Rebel, now the band really seemed to rack it up for this and I am pretty sure someone turned the volume up. Absolute Bowie delivered a belting version of this one.
Ground Control to Major Tom….. heralded the beginning of the end of this fabulous evening.
“Space Oddity” is a song written and recorded by David Bowie. It was first released as a 7-inch single on 11 July 1969. Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the song is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut, and was released during a period of great interest in space flight. The United States Apollo 11 mission would launch five days later and would become the first manned moon landing another five days after that. The song became the music to accompany that historic event. The back drop changed to show some imagery from the landings and a sublime version of Space Oddity was next. The banger to finish the night off? Well for those of us still up for it in the mad heat and humidity, it was Heroes.
A terrific climax to finish off a most enjoyable night. 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 in the sapping heat, John soaked in sweat and grinning afterwards “the heat makes for the best natural high in the world … I think so anyway“ . They know they are a tribute band and acknowledge it as such. These guys are talented musicians, and 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 and true, and the crowd, his crowd, reacted accordingly with a long cheer.
ABSOLUTE BOWIE: A Video
A segue of material from the Absolute Bowie experience
The mixed audience is 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, never now will, but overall yet 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. 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.
Good night to you Major Tom. Ziggy came and played guitar.
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
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
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