July 30, 2016

A rather boring Bowie tribute in London (except John Cale)

photo: BBC/Mark Allan

The David Bowie tribute at the Royal Albert Hall in London was disappointing as a whole, with the guest singers avoided taking risks and/or missing the notes by a mile. The music of Bowie needs a sparkle, dynamics and a mischievous smile. The arrangements were nice enough, but deconstruction and reinvention of the music would have turned into a truly memorable night, not a parade of nervous artists catering to the mainstream. One man could not save the night, but he came close. John Cale stood his ground and was one of the few highlights. The Guardian concurs:

Then John Cale arrives, wearing an overcoat, scarf and a skirt. In the hands of a Velvet Underground member who influenced Bowie in the first place, Valentine’s Day becomes a dark, electronic elegy, Sorrow a buzzing, gothic anthem, and Space Oddity an excursion into trip-hop, lifted high by the House Gospel Choir.

Bowie’s star burns the strongest here tonight, and the blackest, into the next day.

» John Cale setlists

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