Thursday February 5, 2009

(With The Fantastic Return Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars featuring Chris McKay on guitar)

The Georgia Theatre
Athens, GA


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Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings

The Fantastic Return Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars



Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings

On Thursday night, the Critical Darlings played an opening set for Timi Conley's David Bowie tribute show (which included Chris as their lead guitarist)! It was extremely cold and because of this and the fact that it was a week night, we expected a dismal turnout.

The sound at the Theater was incredible, and the Ziggy band's screen provided a colorful, constantly changing backdrop for the boys. Unlike the last time they played the Theatre, the set was free from technical problems so the band was able to exhibit its star quality unencumbered.



At first, it seemed as though the venue was relatively empty, although there were loud cheers and applause following every song. Then, after “Sadder Day”, Chris beckoned the audience to come to the front of the stage. What happened next is something I've never before witnessed during an opening set by anyone in Athens. Chris actually got the crowd to come down front. Where the heck did all these people come from? There was a sizable crowd after all! Had they been hiding under chairs?


Next, things got even weirder. Everyone tried to touch Chris, reaching up their hands to meet him halfway as he leaned over from the stage. I have seen this a few times in Athens but only for really big acts like Iggy Pop or Cheap Trick or John Mayer - never for a local band! I forgot who I was watching for a split second and tried to get through the crowd to touch Chris myself, but he cut the audience contact short and continued the show.



At one point, Chris thanked the headliners in the Ziggy band and said that they were great except for the guitarist, who was “a real ass”! I'm not sure everyone got the joke, especially since Chris changed clothes for the Ziggy set but those who did laughed loudly.



Through the course of this show, the energy was less manic and more precise than usual. The show was professional and tight from start to finish and the only noticeable mistake was that Frank broke a string during “Happy Here And Now”. He switched guitars pretty quickly and no momentum was lost. The show ended with a flourish and flying leap!




Set list for the evening:

1. The Only Way
2. Sometimes I’m Sam
3. Into My View / Unseen
4. Sadder Day
5. Rage On
6. I Won’t Stand Still
7. Phony
8. Waiting For The Siren
9. Scared Of Myself
10. Towel Cape Song
11. Happy Here And Now






The Fantastic Return Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars

(Featuring Chris McKay on Guitar!)



It’s impossible not to have fun with this band and these songs. Tonight was fun, if not as energetic as their Halloween performance. Really cool footage on the video screen, like psychedelic dancers or rocket ships added to the vibe. By this point, Chris had changed clothes to seem more 70s. He wore a shirt that he had just received in the mail from super-groupie Pamela Des Barres a few days before. The best way to describe this shirt would be "autumn at the zoo" (see photos) and might be more appropriate for Frank but it worked well with the Ziggy band.


They opened with "Space Oddity", which featured a moon man dancing onstage behind the band. The Ziggy Stardust portion came next and once again, every song from the classic album was performed in sequence.


The “hits” portion that followed didn’t feel as well paced this time. Tonight, quite a few songs felt too slow or even plodding (especially "Golden Years”, “Heroes” and even “Fame”). Too many mid-tempo songs came back to back as well. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great show and very impressive technically, but it didn't inspire as much dancing as it should have due to the set dynamics. It simply felt like it was running out of steam slowly from the end of Ziggy until the too long show-ending jam on “Let’s Dance”.






Set list for the evening:


 1. Space Oddity
2. Five Years
3. Soul Love
4. Moonage Daydream
5. Starman
6. It Ain’t Easy
7. Lady Stardust
8. Star
9. Hang On To Yourself
10. Ziggy Stardust
11. Suffragette City
12. Rock And Roll Suicide
13. Changes
14. Queen Bitch
15. Magic Dance
16. The Jean Genie
17. Golden Years
18. All The Young Dudes
19. Rebel Rebel
20. China Girl
21. “Heroes”
22. Fame
23. Let’s Dance




Reviews by: Amanda McKay


(Mary's Note: Thanks Manda!!)















All pictures by Amanda McKay. Copyright 2009.