Music review: A Bowie Celebration, Academy, Glasgow

Mike Garson as part of A Bowie Celebration
Mike Garson as part of A Bowie Celebration
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THE month of his birth, his death and the release of his final album Black Star in 2016, January is and forever ought to be known as David Bowie month. As such, it’s a time of year never under-served for opportunities to remember and celebrate the music, life and legacy of probably Britain’s greatest ever solo pop artist. Some of these events do much to enhance his memory, others less so.

A Bowie Celebration, Academy, Glasgow ***

This globe-trotting concert experience, subtitled the David Bowie Alumni Tour, assembled veterans from various eras of the man of many alter-egos’ career, and presented an enjoyable if by no means essential evening’s entertainment.

“The last time I played these songs was with David in 1974,” noted the extravagantly bespectacled Mike Garson, at the conclusion of a performance-in-full of Diamond Dogs. Meanwhile, hearing Bowie’s first post-Ziggy period album – a classic for sure, but by no means his defining work – warmly reheated by his keyboardist of more than 20 years together with a band that elsewhere included guitarists Gerry Leonard and Kevin Armstrong, bassist Carmine Rojas and drummer Alan Childs, will have felt like a collector’s item to some Bowie fanatics, and a bit of a slog to others.

Bowie-themed supergroups are nothing new of course – Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy were touring his songs even before Bowie’s passing. Fronted by guest vocalists including Living Colour’s Corey Glover and one-time Kanye West collaborator Mr Hudson, this one had chops but not exactly star-power. Space Oddity, Young Americans, Life on Mars, Heroes and more were all present and correct in the greatest hits parade, albeit wholly devoid of Bowie-esque magic and mystery which, in fairness, no one can ever truly recreate.

MALCOLM JACK