Bowie by Candlelight at Beach Ballroom.

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A review from 5D Music & Theatre writer Maria Robertson.

Photos by James Murison Photography – https://jamesmurison.smugmug.com/

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I had heard people talking about candlelit concerts and seen photos on social media that looked so pretty with lots of candles, all atmospheric, so was keen to try one for myself.  Being a cheeky reviewer I emailed to see if I could get a review pass for a David Bowie tribute by candlelight in Aberdeen’s lovely Beach Ballroom and was rewarded with premium tickets which turned out to be near the front, just behind the two VIP rows.

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An email was sent in advance to all attendees with: what time the doors would open, what time the show would start, and what time the show would finish.  This is always much appreciated when you are trying to arrange transport, and getting dinner in between work and the event.

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On entering the room the stage was set up as if for a normal concert but with electric candles all along the front of the stage and and raised up on a few stands to the sides of the stage. There were no candles anywhere else in the room and lights were on as usual throughout the concert.

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Charlie Fowler led the tribute act and made a very good David Bowie, both vocally and in mannerisms and dress sense.  He was accompanied by some talented musicians. Apparently it was Jack Griffiths’ first time performing with them, on lead guitar, although you would not know that they had not performed together many times from the stage dynamic.  Spencer James played the piano and synthesizers, Raphaël Sutcliffe was on the base guitar, and John Finnegan on drums.  Together they are known as David Live.

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There were two decent length sets, with an interval in the middle for “a change of frocks”, or more bar visits for the audience.  Unfortunately the bar was open throughout the evening so some people kept getting up and down to replenish drinks, or to nip to the loo!  We were also told that the delay in starting was due to a queue at the bar – for which Charlie congratulated us and said he knew Aberdeen would be a good audience!

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He did talk a bit between songs, frequently introducing the band members and telling us the names of songs and what album they were from.

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They covered all the hits you would expect – Fame, Changes, Space Oddity, Young Americans, Absolute Beginners. Also included were some fabulous guitar solos such as in Stay, and a gorgeous duet with the pianist for Wild Is The Wind. When they got to Let’s Dance and We Could Be Heroes some members of the audience could not resist getting up for a dance – and there was plenty of room off to the sides or up on the balcony for doing so.

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It was a fabulous concert and as we no longer have any chance of seeing “the real thing” it was a perfect substitute.  The candlelight concept was not as strong a feature of the evening as I was expecting and the usual lights were on for the stage and surrounding so it was not mellow (or romantic) as I presumed. However, it was a great evening and everyone left in high spirits, after an encore of Ziggy Stardust and Suffragette City.

Further information Bowie by Candlelight | Concerts by Candlelight and https://www.davidbowietribute.co.uk/the-band

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Maria Robertson is the Chief Music & Theatre Writer for the 5D Pop Culture Website and provides reviews & coverage of local Aberdeen music & theatre gigs. She’s an experienced writer for numerous sources and is a self-confessed live gig addict ever since seeing The Counting Crows at the Barrowlands in 1994.

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