I’m not going to lie to you. We were rusty. For us, we were VERY rusty. In fact, the 7 of us hadn’t all played together a single time since February of 2009. Yep. It had been a year and 3 months. I know that we did a Ziggy show in June of ’09, but we had a different keyboard player. That being said, we pulled out all the stops, we put on the eyebrows and we gave a great show. And occasionally tonight, I think we were as good as this kind of thing gets and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
I was happy to have my own little platform and space as otherwise, the stage at New Earth would’ve been a little too cozy. I had wanted more platforms out there for Timi, but we were talked out of it. If we do it again at New Earth, I’m going to push harder to take more advantage of the space.
The best part of the show for me was the crowd. It was easily the smallest crowd that the Ziggy band has played for (being the summer in a relatively new venue), but they may have been the most into it. I swear I think I saw tears a couple of times!
The other thing that I can say is that, while I never thought I’d enjoy doing “covers” that much, David Bowie’s material is so satisfying that I enjoy playing these songs as much as anything I’ve ever played. And being a “Spider”, I don’t have to sweat being myself and being as glam or as crazy as I want to be. Since I’m pretty much just the lead guitarist, I don’t have to count my breaths or pace myself like I do as the singer for The Darlings. I can just go al out and do whatever I want, however I want and play it like I feel it. Man, do I love doing this, especially with these guys.
The highlights for me tonight were the trio of “Hang On To Yourself”, “Ziggy Stardust” and “Suffragette City”. “Moonage Daydream” was right up there, too. And of course, just listening to John James sailing with his sax on “Soul Love” or “Space Oddity” always makes my night.
Timi was the perfect leader. I hope I was the perfect foil. Jay was in his terrifying bird outfit for the first chunk of the show. It’s always a bit jarring to look around and see that beside me, but it definitely adds to the other worldliness. Dede added those beautiful acoustic textures and all those great vocal harmonies. Andrew kept up with written down music on a stand and still managed to kick the bejeezus out of that kit. From what he said after the show, apparently, he trashed his kit for the first time ever. And I didn’t even see it. He was inspired. It was that kind of show. I rarely got to hear Michael’s piano on my side of the stage, but I know “Lady Stardust” and “Changes” wouldn’t have existed without him and that they both felt right.
After the Ziggy album set, we came back out with some Bowie hits from other eras. Andrew and I kicked it off with a lackluster version of “Rebel Rebel” (at least it felt that way to me and because of me). I don’t feel like I did that one justice. We made up for it, but the second set was certainly more scattershot. I completely lost my mojo at what should’ve been a show highlight. In “Heroes”, just when the band kicks back in, I broke a string on the first note. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to recover from that. It took me a few minutes, but as we went into “China Girl”, I realized that my backup Strat actually sounds more appropriate for the eighties stuff. So by the time we hit “Modern Love”, we were all firing together again. We ended with “Fame” and left the stage. We were done.
Back in the dressing room, someone asked, “Should we do one more?” There were some “yes” and some “no” votes. Sometimes it is better to leave them wanting more, after all. But the crowd was just so voracious and LOUD. How could we ignore them?
We went out and pulled out the Labyrinth song “Magic Dance”, which was suitably silly. Then we closed out with probably a 10-minute version of “Let’s Dance” that featured solos from nearly every member of the band.
We put on a show. We came back from being nearly dormant for a year and instead of dipping our toes back in safely, we all leaped back in head first. We may have had to struggle to stay afloat occasionally, but by the end of the night, we were back, we were swimming and now we’re ready to take on the next challenge.
As I always say, “Every one of these shows may be the last, but I hope not”.
If you have even a passing interest in Bowie, the BIG SHOW, classic rock or any of the bands that the 7 of us are members of, you need to see this if you get a chance.