Celebrating David Bowie at The Buckhead Theatre 03/18/18

Celebrating David Bowie Is Truly A Party


When David Bowie passed away on Jan. 10, 2016, it hit us fans hard. We were heartbroken that our Thin White Duke was gone and that we would never have the chance (however slim) of seeing him perform live again. As a longtime Bowie fan that never had the chance to see him live, I was distraught and kicking myself that I didn’t try harder to make it to one of the few tours he did during my lifetime. Then, along came Mike Garson and his Celebrating David Bowie tour. This was the closest I would ever get to a live Bowie experience. The names were all familiar to me, Mike Garson on piano, Earl Slick on guitar, Gerry Leonard on guitar, Carmine Rojas on bass, etc. from pouring through liner notes of Bowie records and live bootlegs. I knew these guys would get a Bowie tribute “right” and they did not disappoint. There were no cheesy video montages, holograms, or over the top staging. Just a simple Bowie silhouette in a red lightning bolt projected onto the back of the stage before the band came on to remind everyone why we were there.

The show opened with  “Bring Me The Disco King”, the ethereal piano and drum beats filling the Buckhead Theatre as the audience fell silent. Garson’s piano floating along. Bernard Fowler’s voice hitting the first verse with a depth and emotion that matched the emotional roller coaster that the audience was on. Watching the band build up that first song and the sheer joy they had playing these songs let us all know that we were in for a treat. Garson was clearly paying homage to not only a friend, but an artist he respected. The stories and anecdotes shared before different songs gave us an insight into what it was like to work with Bowie and how respected he was as an artist by his band mates. The moodiness of Bring Me The Disco King was alleviated with the punch in the face of “Rebel Rebel” and “Fame” that came after, getting the audience dancing and singing along at the top of their lungs, truly a celebratory atmosphere.

There were several singers taking turns throughout the evening. Joe Sumner (yes, he is Sting’s song but also the front man for his own band Fiction Plane) brought joy and playfulness to several of the hits including “Let’s Dance” and “Space Oddity”. Golden-globe nominated actress, Evan Rachel Wood, added an interesting element to “Rock n’ Roll Suicide” and “Five Years”, as well as the daunting task of Freddie Mercury’s parts in “Under Pressure”. Mr Hudson really shined on “Changes”. One of the real highlights for me as a fan, was Mr Hudson on “Aladdin Sane” coupled with Garson’s jazz influenced piano solo. You could see the small smile tugging at the corner of Garson’s mouth as he wound his way through the solo, packing in jazz riffs on everything from Gershwin to John Lennon, even some other Bowie songs like “Lady Grinning Soul” were slid in to the mesmerizing solo. Bowie’s catalogue of hits is a deep one, so it was a joy to hear some deeper tracks like Quicksand and Stay mixed in with the more recognizable hits.

The show closed out with “Heroes” and hearing the audience sing along at the top of their lungs was a special moment that I’m sure not many of us will ever forget. The swirling guitars from Gerry Leonard and Earl Slick were pulling at all of our heartstrings all night and were unlike anything that I’ve ever heard. There have been many Bowie tributes in the last year since Bowie left us, but this is the closest that you will get to experiencing his music the way he would want you to hear it live. Every drum beat, guitar note, piano key, was exactly where it needed to be. Bowie would be proud of what Garson has put together, and I’m excited to see where they take it from here.

Set List:

  1. Bring Me The Disco King
  2. Rebel Rebel
  3. Moonage Daydream
  4. Fame
  5. Changes
  6. Space Oddity
  7. Starman
  8. Quicksand
  9. Win
  10. Stay
  11. Rock n’ Roll Suicide
  12. Five Years
  13. Let’s Dance
  14. Station To Station
  15. Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)
  16. Under Pressure
  17. Ziggy Stardust
  18. Suffragette City
  19. All The Young Dudes


  1. Life On Mars?
  2. Diamond Dogs
  3. “Heroes”

By Rosie Judd


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