Award-winning tribute band recreates Bowie's music and glamour
PUBLISHED: 15:04 18 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:04 18 July 2019
Ash Tree Lake
"I thought I might run off stage crying but if you don't get it right in front of your mum, when are you ever going to get it right?"
John O'Neill is lead singer of the David Bowie tribute band coming to Romford next month.
Builder and bedroom musician John joined Absolute Bowie in 2004 after following up an advert on a whim. Having never performed publicly before, the self-taught guitarist took to the stage for the first time on his birthday, which coincides with Bowie's,
Now in its 13th year, the band has played all over the UK and Europe and won many awards including the Best Bowie Tribute and Best Overall Tribute in the UK at the Agents Association of Great Britain Awards 2018.
This year's show, 50 Years of Bowie, is a musical journey through David Bowie's many different personas and styles.
The show will feature Bowie's greatest hits from the past 50 years in a new set list including Jean Genie, Suffragette City, Rebel Rebel, Young Americans, China Girl, Ashes to Ashes, Moonage Daydream and many more.
As well as John acting as Bowie with his incredible vocals, the five-piece features Chris Buratti as Mick Ronson on guitar, Fabio Cashio as Trevor Bolder on bass, Alex Paollilo as Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Alessandro Ricardi as Woody Woodmansey on drums and Fiona Asbury on saxophone.
The iconic singer's evolving image has mesmerised fans since the early 70s and his unmistakable sound lives on after his death from liver cancer in 2016.
Working until the very end, Bowie's death was two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar, and also after his 69th birthday.
Although the musician never publicly announced his illness, it became evident when he became unable to attend rehearsals.
For the first time ever, Absolute Bowie will take audiences on a trip that presents all his best-loved personas in all their glory.
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"I was a child of the 60s, it was the music of my formative years, I was inspired by it all - the power, the colour and it's all very now, it's still happening." says John.
"His music was monumental and for me, just hit the nail on the head."
Bowie's timeless hits and glowing outfits attract fans from 18 to 80 years to Absolute Bowie's concerts. The band now spend every weekend performing in different cities.
"They are hugely diverse audiences, all sharing the same energy."
The band members' costumes are all inspired by Bowie's many different characters throughout his 50 year career.
The lead singer's favourite persona is Ziggy Stardust. "I just love to hide behind all the make-up and there's so much to look at."
Indeed, a feast for the senses, the unique concert features two long sets and more costume changes than any other show, from the Blind Prophet and Hunky Dory to Aladdin.
The set also includes a mime section and a guitar solo, just like the original Bowie performance of Moonage Daydream, John's favourite Bowie song.
"It just has so much melody - it's so interesting to study his narrative, he doesn't give much away but yet his songs say so much!" explains John. "I just think he was such a good storyteller, very lyrical, very catchy."
The band are renowned for recreating the music of Bowie with incredible accuracy and are the only Bowie tribute band endorsed by Woody Woodmansey (David Bowie's drummer).
Prepare to be taken from A to Z (Absolute Beginners to Ziggy) with Stations to Station in between!
Absolute Bowie will be performing at Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road on Friday, August 9 at 8pm.
Call 01708 755775 to book or visit brooksidetheatre.com.