Phil Hopkins, Arts & Travel Editor
It’s been a busy two months for lookalike cum tribute bands in Yorkshire.
Elvis popped into Bradford on June 4th with Simon & Garfunkel in hot pursuit at Harrogate Theatre just a few weeks later. Last night it was the turn of Monsieur Bowie to leave his stamp on the wailing audiences of West Yorkshire.
Not wailing in pain, I must say, but in adoration of Laurence Knight’s excellent front-man performance in the Bowie Experience. There is a genuine appetite for these ‘escape to the past’ musical shows which are a strange hybrid between pop concert, musical or narrated history with music depending on which biog you are watching.
A few weeks ago This is Elvis was redeemed in the second half by a brilliant performance that had limped badly in the first hour as it attempted to narrate the King’s life with a painfully inadequate libretto, however, Laurence Knight did not fall into that trap.
He began playing Bowie’s music at 7.30pm, never stopped and the audience full of adoring fans simply lapped up The Golden Years Tour as Knight moved seamlessly from song to song….. Space Oddity, Starman, Fashion, Life on Mars, China Girl, Rebel Rebel, Golden Years, Modern Love, Let’s Dance and Heroes.
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This was a slick show and, whilst it was indeed a tribute, it would be insulting to tag it with all the connotations that word often holds, because it was way more and certainly capable of filling a 1400 seat venue. Had Bowie still been around he might have been fearing for his job!
“Robbie Williams once saw a tribute act and said the bloke was better than himself,” one audience member recalled.
There was a long supporting explanation not worthy of further analysis, needless to say I took the point for it was not hard to conclude that Knight had clearly observed every single move, look and nuance of the great man, in order to deliver this seamless, perfectly executed performance.
The good thing about these increasingly popular styles of show, is that you see the distilled brilliance of a life in just two hours. People say Bowie was an icon of music, forever changing and forever evolving, but, if you weren’t sure, you certainly finished the evening agreeing as his musical life unfolded before your eyes.
The Bowie Experience and his Golden Years Tour has traversed the world and continues to do so. Would I go again? Yes I would and I was never particularly a Bowie fan but this show let’s you know just how many hits Bowie wrote and it was great fun.
Next Opportunity To See
1.12.2018 – Victoria Theatre, Halifax ; 2.12.2018 – York Grand Opera House
Wowie Bowie!, 21st July 2018, 11:05 AM