Former David Bowie collaborator considered halting tour after singer's death

TORONTO - Fans of David Bowie gathered at a jam-packed Toronto concert hall on Tuesday to pay tribute to the beloved performer with a spirited event focused almost solely on the music.

See Full Article

What could've become a spectacle for the colourful personas Bowie created over the decades instead turned into a deep-dive into his 1970s album catalogue, led by Holy Holy, a band comprised of former Bowie collaborators.

But the show almost didn't happen.

"We actually had to talk about whether we were going to perform more on this tour," Bowie's longtime producer Tony Visconti told the sold-out audience of nearly 900 people.

"There is no better way to work through grief (than) through music. Music is magic. It's better than any pill to take, it's better than any drug."

Holy Holy, which is devoted to recreating Bowie's groundbreaking early albums, features Visconti and Bowie's former drummer Mick (Woody) Woodmansey.

It was after Bowie's death on Sunday due to cancer that Visconti said the band had to consider whether it was appropriate to continue the tour.

"We're going to celebrate the life of David Bowie," Visconti said.

"This is some of the best music that's ever been written."

The timing couldn't be more coincidental for the concert at the Opera House in Toronto. The event was scheduled months ago as part of a North America tour, but only sold out after word spread of Bowie's death.

On Tuesday morning, the band announced that due to overwhelming demand, it added a second Toronto show to be held Wednesday.

After Visconti introduced the show, he slipped into the background as frontman Glenn Gregory took on the role of Bowie for nearly two hours, channeling just enough of his energy to seem authentic, without veering into sheer imitation.

They began by performing Bowie's 1970 album "The Man Who Sold The World" in its entirety before charging through other favourites from the Ziggy Stardust era.

Audience members sang along to a spirited rendition of "Changes," and fell silent as Visconti's daughter Jessica - the band's backup singer - performed "Lady Stardust."

The evening closed with "Suffragette City" as fans tossed roses onto the stage. Visconti picked one up and held it aloft.

Outside the venue after the show, people talked about the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Tonight was an amazing go-back down memory lane," self-professed lifetime fan Philip Cotterill said.

"I had to fight back the tears."

Others described the concert as a moment of emotional healing as they came to terms with the singer's death.

"Bowie was the guy who did the soundtrack to my teenage years, so when he died it was almost like a mate died," said David Seggie.

"I've known Bowie longer than I've known my husband," interjected his wife Lesley Finn.

Some people celebrated Bowie by dressing in vibrant costumes inspired by his colourful career.

"I had a crisis getting ready for tonight," said Sarah Blostein, who arrived with a painted lightning bolt streaked across her face, evoking Bowie's 1973 "Aladdin Sane" album cover.

"I thought, if I can't do him justice it's going to break my heart."

Visconti told the crowd that Holy Holy's tour had "total approval" from Bowie before his death.

"Technically, we are not a tribute band - we are the real dudes," he said, as the audience cheered.

Several times during the show the band noted that their heightened emotions might get the best of them on stage, though they got through the evening without a hitch.

Woodmansey formed Holy Holy in 2013. He was Bowie's drummer from 1970 to 1973 and worked on several of his albums.

Visconti was Bowie's producer throughout his entire career, from Bowie's 1969 album "Space Oddity" to his recently released "Blackstar." He plays bass in Holy Holy. The band also features Gregory on vocals and James Stevenson on lead guitar.

Next month, Visconti will lead a house band for a Bowie memorial concert at New York's Carnegie Hall. The event had been scheduled months ago as a tribute concert with performances of Bowie songs by 20 artists, including Cyndi Lauper, the Roots and Ann Wilson of Heart.

Numerous other Bowie tributes will take place over the coming weeks, including a segment during the Brit Awards in late February.

Bowie's death has also sparked a renewed interest in his back catalogue.

On iTunes in Canada, several of his classic hits have spiked on the singles chart. On Tuesday morning, "Space Oddity" was at No. 3, "Changes" was the 11th best-selling single and the new track "Lazarus" was at No. 12. Almost two dozen other Bowie tracks filled the Top 100.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Katie Holmes probes mom-daughter bond in directorial debut, 'All We Had'

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Katie Holmes is a single mom raising a daughter and that's the subject of her feature film directorial debut, "All We Had." The 37-year-old actress stars alongside 18-year-old Stefania Owen in the film about a mother who finds herself living in a car with her daughter and looking for a new start. Source
  • 'Secrets keep you sick. And I don't want to keep this secret anymore,' Lady Gaga says of PTSD struggle

    Entertainment CBC News
    Lady Gaga is opening up further on her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder in an open letter. The 30-year-old singer revealed her diagnosis earlier this week on the Today show.'Today I shared one my deepest secrets:' Lady Gaga opens up on PTSD struggleIn an open letter posted on her foundation's website Wednesday, Gaga writes that it's "a daily effort" to stay calm during normal everyday activities, including "leaving the house or being touched by strangers who simply want to share…
  • 'Rogue One' moves 'Star Wars' forward by going back

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there were more stories than those of the Skywalker family. That was the idea Disney was counting on when it purchased George Lucas's empire Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, and the rights to everything in the "Star Wars" universe. Source
  • 'Office Christmas Party' review: Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman serve up a lump of coal [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    You know those office Christmas parties where everyone tries to look like they’re having a good time, but they’re really not? Well, it’s playing at a theatre near you. A comedy-by-committee (it has two directors and multiple credited writers – which means maybe five more had a hand at tossing in jokes), Office Christmas Party takes an embarrassment of riches cast and gives them a script stuffed full of lumps of coal wisecracks. Source
  • Papa was a Rolling Stone: Mick Jagger welcomes birth of 8th child

    Entertainment CBC News
    Mick Jagger's representatives say the rock legend has welcomed the birth of his eighth child. Jagger, the 73-year-old frontman of the Rolling Stones, was on hand Thursday at a New York hospital when girlfriend, Melanie Hamrick, gave birth to the couple's son. Source
  • Papa is a Rolling Stone: Mick Jagger welcomes birth of 8th child

    Entertainment CBC News
    Mick Jagger's representatives say the rock legend has welcomed the birth of his eighth child. Jagger, the 73-year-old frontman of the Rolling Stones, was on hand Thursday at a New York hospital when girlfriend, Melanie Hamrick, gave birth to the couple's son. Source
  • Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger celebrates birth of 8th child

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Mick Jagger’s representatives say the rock legend has welcomed the birth of his eighth child. Jagger, the 73-year-old frontman of the Rolling Stones, was on hand Thursday at a New York hospital when girlfriend, Melanie Hamrick, gave birth to the couple’s son. Source
  • Canadian 'Grindmother,' 68, singing for hardcore band

    Entertainment CTV News
    The age of destruction is 68. A Canadian grindcore band has captured international attention thanks to its senior citizen vocalist, a 68-year-old woman known as "The Grindmother." The granny from Windsor, Ont., is following in the tradition of bands like Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer and Carcass, as the screaming voice of her eponymous band. Source
  • Grammy country committee rejects Beyonce song

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Beyonce earned a whopping nine Grammy nominations Tuesday, including best rock performance, but the singer’s twangy song “Daddy Lessons” was rejected by the Recording Academy’s country music committee. A person familiar with the Grammy nomination process told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Beyonce submitted “Daddy Lessons” — from her album “Lemonade” — to the country category. Source
  • Netflix and..? Services reveals post-binge habits

    Entertainment CTV News
    Many Netflix users switch to a movie after reaching the end of a TV series, the streaming service has revealed. Netflix states that 59 per cent of Netflix viewers take a three-day break "post-binge" -- that is, after finishing one TV show and before choosing another one. Source