ROYAL OAK — The tone for the night on Saturday, Feb. 23, on the Royal Oak Music Theatre was set with the ultimate lyric of the opening tune, “Deliver Me the Disco King,” when singer Bernard Fowler intoned David Bowie’s decree that, “We gonna have a celebration!”
And that is precisely what the second Royal Oak go to was for A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour. Whereas the preliminary present, practically a yr to the day again in 2018, had the standard of a wake, Saturday’s efficiency took the place that greater than three years after Bowie’s loss of life on the age of 69, it is extra necessary to have fun than mourn.
So the 10-member troupe, led by longtime Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson and that includes a pair of different alumni — Earl Slick on guitar and Carmine Rojas on bass — romped via 21 songs over the course of two largely buoyant hours, focusing greater than something on the creative breadth of Bowie’s materials and the enduring sturdiness of his songs all through his eclectic practically 50-year recording profession.
This day out Garson and firm expanded the footprint a bit; Whereas final yr’s present featured nothing from later than 1977, Saturday’s dipped into the 80s for “Let’s Dance,” sung with spectacular, Bowie-like accuracy by Fowler, and “Below Strain,” the Queen collaboration with Residing Color’s Corey Glover taking the Freddie Mercury elements. And, once more, the live performance notably shined when it dug deeper than the hits, notably within the troupe’s recreation of the “Candy Factor”/”Candidate” couplet initially organized for Bowie’s 1974 Diamond Canine Tour and preserved on the “David Dwell” album, with solos by Garson and Slick bridging the 2 songs.
Garson additionally stretched out on “Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?),” whereas Slick — whose son Lee John performed drums — was the night time’s instrumental star as the one lead guitarist on this A Bowie Celebration configuration, was the night time’s instrumental star, with searing solos throughout “Fame,” a stomping “Keep” and a bloozy “Time.” The vocalists, with arguably probably the most daunting process, all scored as effectively; Fowler stood out notably throughout quieter items corresponding to “Deliver Me the Disco King” and “Win,” whereas Glover’s highly effective pipes lit up “Younger People,” “Suffragette Metropolis” and “All of the Younger Dudes.”
And Guatemalan native Gabby Moreno, one other tour returnee, took on a broad vary of fabric, from an emotive “5 Years” to “Time” in addition to a charged “Panic in Detroit,” which Garson stated the troupe solely performs when it is within the metro space.
Moreno additionally led a shifting encore model of “Life on Mars” earlier than the all the time triumphant “Heroes” introduced issues to an in depth. There may be, after all, no Bowie to sing these songs anymore, but when you are going to hear anybody do them A Bowie Celebration brings probably the most credibility and investiture — to not point out the musical know-how to get them proper.