Heavy guitar chords were struck one after another and the large curtains opened revealing the six piece band, Bowie Revisited with their opening song, Station To Station. While not what the average person might consider a big hit, for Bowie purists this is a well known single and title track. With this song as an opener it was a perfect insight into what to expect, big hits and some lesser ones as well. No matter what song was played it was however almost two hours of one great song after another in the celebration of David Bowie’s music. That being said lead vocalist, Daniel Volj, does not don any of the Ziiggy or Aladdin Sane costumes. The closest he gets is half of the thin white duke persona with a white shirt and vest. While there may be no costumes, vocally Daniel is really good at bringing out Bowie’s baritone. This show is a after all a celebration on pretty much the music of David Bowie.
The band have literally mastered the music and some extra credit goes to the perfection of the arrangements. Instead of the standard 1974 version of Rebel Rebel, they played it more like it was done during the 2003 Reality era. It gave a familiar song a nice touch of uniqueness. China Girl came early in the set and Daniel evoked some Bowie theatrics with the “She says… shhh.” That’s another thing about Daniel’s performance. He is certainly a pro on stage and does many theatrical hand gestures that acts (literally) as a filling.
I have to say that while some of the greatest hits are performed it’s not strictly a hits show and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. We got hits like Ashes to Ashes, Starman, Suffragette City, and Fame (Bowie’s first number one single). We were also treated to songs like I’m Afraid of Americans, which this band really rocked out. Stay and even Wild is the Wind were pleasant surprises. A personal favourite was the deep performance of, Cat People. For Bowie purists it fit closer to the improved Giorgio Moroder soundtrack production than the Let’s Dance Nile Rodger’s version.
The lighting and screen footage was very impressive and added a lot to the evening’s celebration. The screen’s only Bowie reference all night were two images. Again it’s all about the music. The screen effects theatricality came into play when there were projections of constellations during Space Oddity. Another time a very effective twirling kaleidoscope made you feel like you were moving. The array of lighting which at times were like laser effects and intense strobes made things visually appealing.
I must give extra credit to bassist/vocalist, Marie-Anne Arsenault who’s bass playing and bopping around was fun to watch. However it was her high vocal spotlight while duetting with Daniel on Under Pressure that was a highlight. Truth be told I preferred Marie-Anne’s vocals to that of Gail Anne Dorsey herself. Keyboardist Guillaume Marchand had a chance to show off his skills on the intro to Changes. Guitarists, Daniel Marsolais and François Bruneau rocked out on their guitars all night. One of whom almost looked like, Reeves Gabrels. Max Lalrene kept the beats on a raised drum kit with the Bowie Revisited logo on the bass drum. This band has really got it down.
Let’s Dance started as a slow lounge ballad and then kicked into the full gear version everyone was hoping to hear and dance to, that turned into a a medley of 1984. Daniel asked the crowd if they were ready to rock twice and then came Ziggy Stardust. It ended with another pleasant surprise, All the Young Dudes. The encore was an appropriate Heroes which Daniel Volj and his bandmates must have felt like since this was the Montreal premiere. Make sure to check out the next shows at L’Explosion in St-Hyacinthe, Sept 9th and The Brass Monkey in Ottawa Sept 22nd to relive the music of the most influential artist, ever!
Station to Station
The Man Who Sold the World
Wild is the Wind
Ashes to Ashes
I’m Afraid of Americans
Let’s Dance / 1984
All the Young Dudes
Daniel Volj and Ron RoXtar*. I obviously had to wear my custom made Serious Moonlight tour suit.