Just because something appears as a flower – it doesn’t mean it smells good.
This is the danger lurking behind every riff within a tribute act. The costumes may be sound. The choreography may be delightful. The entire production team may be dedicated to perfection.
‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!’
David Brighton is brave. Brave or one of these ‘thrill seeker’ kind of guys. To put on a David Bowie act is dangerous. First – Bowie just recently passed to his ‘other planet’. Brighton is ripe for criticism as milking a dead star for financial gain. Second – to emulate such a musical genius, a one-of-a-kind persona, is artistic suicide. You either nail it or die. There is no grey area or matter for that matter.
Brighton and his ‘Space Oddity – A Tribute to David Bowie’ arrived in Montreal on Thursday evening at Club Soda. Music is a big deal in this city. The punters forking out the dough are pretty knowledgeable. It ain’t easy to pull a fast one on Montreal concert goers. Miss a note, flub a lyric – the artist may as well head across the street and cry to a Transgender person at Club Cleopatra. This city breathes music …
Brighton and his band of ‘Dudes’ and ‘Dudette’ practically nailed it from the get-go. Brighton’s uncanny resemblance (at times) along with his perfect Bowie dance moves won the look-a-like-contest. His voice, filled with the right pitches and tones for all of Bowie’s catalogue. ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Suffragette City‘, ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘Gene Genie.‘ The ‘big four’ to open a first half. Quatre chansons that made the most vigilant Bowie fan sit up straight. The night was set. It was going to be a celebration of Bowie’s genius. That’s it – that’s all. Wham bam thank you Mr. Brighton !
The first part dictated Bowie as Bowie. Following a quick costume change, Ziggy appeared in all his glory. There were no Spiders from Mars yet his band; Paul Nelson ( guitar/ vocals), Switch (guitar/vocals), Trent Stroh ( bass/background vocals), Ryan Brown (drums/percussion) and Brooke Naughton (Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion) performed like aliens. Superhero efforts in duplicating the Bowie sound. Naugthon especially as her keyboards replaced the Saxophone which is key to most of Bowie’s masterpieces.
Once the crowd accepted everything in it’s variety, it was time to enjoy. ‘Fame’ brought the Funk. ‘Let’s Dance’ brought the .. well … dance. “Changes’ introduced nostalgia while ‘Cat People (PUTTING OUT FIRE) delivered the film Bowie. There was something for every generation and Brighton emulated Bowie to perfection in each one.
The highlights included ‘ Dancing in the Street’ ( minus Jagger), ‘All the Young Dudes’ ( minus Hunter) and – wait for it; ” Bang a Gong’ (Get it on), the Bolan / Berry borrowed song which peaked at number one on the UK charts in 71/72. Bang a Gong was out of place in Bowie / Brighton’s repertoire but nonetheless, a gem for the predominantly over forty crowd in attendance. ‘Heroes’ made everyone teary-eyed and ‘China Girl’ supplied the sheep-ish ‘ I remember the eighties’ looks.
The evening began with quotes on the big screen from musicians and ‘famous people’ expressing their admiration for Bowie, A nice foyer before entering the dining area. The appetizers were the early Bowie hits, the first course was the Ziggy years while the main course was the video-age Bowie. The entire ‘night out’ was a history lesson in music. As each page in Bowie’s catalogue changed, as the years passed, the music became a chameleon much like Bowie himself.
No matter the decade, Brighton made it obvious. Bowie was a flower. A beautifully stemmed performer ahead of his time as a musician, a songwriter and an actor both on stage and off.
David Brighton is a seed from that flower. Firmly planted and displaying his beauty through voice, charisma and an obvious love for Bowie.
David Brighton is proof.
There is ‘Life on Mars’.