How do you even start to recreate the works of a man who blazed a trail of musical trends and pop fashion, reinventing himself, his music and media across many decades?
I took a break from dingy packed pubs tonight to hit the Brisbane Convention Center for David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed. I usually stay clear of tribute shows as I find the act of recreating a performer’s work a little hard to swallow. I am especially cautious tonight as I am a Bowie tragic and would hate to see his work being done in a way that did not live up to his amazing talents and stage presence.
All of my apprehension about what I was about to see was quickly quashed as iOTA graced the stage. The first lines of Space Oddity floored me and left me in a state of excitement about what I was going to witness. iOTA, ‘You’ve really made the grade’.
The thing that impressed me the most about the performance was the cavalcade of artists from my youth. Performers from bands like You Am I (Davey Lane), The Cruel Sea (Tex Perkins), The Church (Steve Kilbey), Magic Dirt (Adalita) and Even (Ashley Naylor) filled the stage and put on a resounding performances of one of the greatest artists of our time. The first hour was filled with classics and the singers took turns is trying to ‘outbowie’ each other in their own classic style. It wasn’t until the second part of the performance when things really heated up. As the first notes of Let’s Dane hit the venue a 50 strong line of the crowd launched from their seats and headed to the front of the stage to get their dance on. This crowd grew and grew with dance floor classics like China Girl and Fashion keeping everyone firmly grooving and shaking.
The wall of sound that was produced by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra brought an amazing additional element to the show. Every note sounded like it belonged in the message of Bowie and the sounds of the band in front directed by Ashley Naylor worked in tandem brilliantly.
This show was a real game changer for me. Looks like I will be more inclined to give tribute shows a go, especially if a bunch of 90’s rockers again get together to make it shine.