DON LEHN ~ Fraser Valley News
POSTED BY: DON LEHN JUNE 23, 2017
Chilliwack – JUNE 23 REVIEW – A Night Of Bowie did not disappoint. The showmanship of Syl Thompson and his crack six pice band brought the essence of David Bowie to the HUB Theatre at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
The hits were more than just faithfully recreated, they were in a great way, a retro slice of classic Bowie from the Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider tours. The Stadium days that included BC Place in 1983 and 1987.
China Girl, Jean Genie, Space Oddity, Fashion Heroes and the hits just kept coming.
It was fun to see the audience react to “The Man Who Sold The World” because even though Bowie wrote it, it became a massive hit for Nirvana.
Let’s Dance rounded out the first set and allowed the band to stretch out and have fun with their solos.
The first encore brought a few tears. Where Are We Now comes fr0m the works that were recorded after Bowie found out he had terminal cancer and ferociously wrote and created material that has brought forth material that he never performed in concert and sadly his cancer took his life and genius too soon.
All The Young Dudes was a hit for Mott The Hoople and again like Man Who Sold The World,, the song is best known for a cover from another band rather than his own catalogue.
Modern Love saw the now infamous Bowie globe balloon bounce through the HUB, much to the delight of the crowd.
Syl and crew demonstrated that a tribute band could tackle a tough task, covering David Bowie, and making it work.
Steve Heywood ~ Black Press
Syl Thompson presents A Night of Bowie – a tribute to the man and his music. Thompson and his band – himself and six other musicians – are promising a “near-Bowie experience” with the visuals, vocals and performances people have come to expect from the British singer/songwriter.
Back in the 1980s, Thompson was part of Major Tom’s A Seriously Moonlight Tour – a tribute act that formed out of another band he was with in the Vancouver club scene. They had been performing when a club manager asked Thompson if he would include some David Bowie songs in their Top 40 sets – plus, said the manager, Thompson kind of looked and sounded like Bowie.
“It went over quite well,” Thompson recalled, “and it picked up from there.”
Basing their performances on Bowie’s early music and songs from the hit album Let’s Dance, the retooled tribute band traveled to Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and more, giving people that near-Bowie experience. Thompson said there were very few other tribute bands out there at the time – unlike today where the practice is widespread, covering many musical genres. By 1985, other interests and pressures took the band members in different directions. Most, including Thompson, remained in the music business but it took 25 years before Thompson decided (after some prodding along the way) that he was ready to give the music and tribute to Bowie another try.
A Night of Bowie reunites Thompson with his Major Tom bandmates, bassist Rob Begg and guitarist John Gilliat. They added saxophone player Graham Howell, brothers Marc and Rob Gawthrop on keyboards and synthesizer and Sean Lang on drums.
Thompson watched a DVD of Bowie’s Reality and Heathen tours and thought about what kind of show he would be able to pull off, visually, based on how Bowie looks today. Thompson plans to not only include some of Bowie’s older favourites, but some of his modern hits – even songs from his album released just this year, shortly after the band began rehearsing. That, Thompson agrees, was great timing as fans are still holding out hope that Bowie himself will tour once again.
“Everybody has their favourite (song) and you can’t please everyone in a 90-minute show. But it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a ride.”
The show will include “Ground Control” background visuals by Photon VJ of Victoria. Thompson said they will try for that perfect blend of art and music on stage.
Thompson said he tailors his performance of Bowie’s music to those he can do a good job on, vocally. Some of his favourites include Life on Mars and Jean Genie.
“As a vocalist, I have the ability to sing like him and I have a bit of the look. My goal is to create as Bowie-ish an experience as possible with some of my own personality thrown in.”
It’s definitely a tribute show, he continued, not an attempt at an outright impersonation. Thompson said he hopes fans of David Bowie come to the show for that near-Bowie experience and enjoy the music and visuals of an artist with a vast repertoire that is always changing.
Steven Heywood – Black Press