Absolute Bowie were in town. They're a five-man band around singer and actor John O'Neill who play and perform various of David Bowie's most famous performances to perfection. We got to see Ziggy Stardust and Serious Moonlight at Sala Bikini on Thursday 21 September.
Guitar player Chris Buratti is very convincing, first in his role as Mick Ronson and after the change as Earl Slick. And base player Fabio Cascio was doing Trevor Boulder and a pretty cool George Murray as well. In the centre of it all was Halloween Jack, as he liked to be called in the end. His voice was not quite up to his master's, though certainly good in itself. But where he really impressed, was in his acting. Not having the looks in profile but eyes and mouth rightly poised, he was more than convincing in his make-up and cleverly mixing acts and songs, like when he used the scull scene from My Death in Fame, which worked really well for a not sold-out Sala Bikini of mostly older Bowie fans who came to see the pastiche and who were happily surprised to get a close-up look at what could easily have been the real thing. It was like watching old videos live.
O'Neill understands full well that Bowie always gave it his best and that energy, or the idea of conveying energy, is essential for any true interpretation of the man's many guises. Yet O'Neill goes a step further. First clad in a close copy of the Space Oddity glam version space suit and later as golden haired Mr. Moonlight looking back on the years from mid-seventies onwards, with a more than recognisable rendition of Stay and an upbeat “Heroes”, he took the act to himself and became Absolute Bowie, his own nephew. He was a more than significant other. In the end, he chose to do it his own way and it was the perfect choice.
Absolute Bowie have become quite a sensation in the UK, where they started touring some eight years ago. They haven't changed their act much over the years, but they have become a tight show. I am certainly going to see them again when they return. It was a night of nostalgia for fans who had never seen the real thing and who got the next best thing. Not everybody had all the lyrics at their disposal, though most were certainly trying. Not even Absolute was always following cue, as when he slightly altered the lyrics in Ziggy Stardust so as the avoid the words well hung. Honesty comes first.
Thanks for a great evening.