The Bowie Prom – The Good(!) And The Bad.

So, how do you pay tribute and give due respect to someone who (and with not an OUNCE of hyperbole) changed an entire generation…MORE than one generation…of people? You don’t. It really is impossible…as I think tonight’s Bowie Prom showed.

Before it started, I felt quite depressed about the idea of sitting at home watching it on the telly. When it was over though, I was happy I’d be spared a late Friday night out in That London.

It seemed to start well enough. A rather good version of Warzsawa. But it ended just as the faux vocal was due to come in. That seemed odd. But, ok…let’s move on.

I was SSSOO happy to see Neil Hannon on the stage. He has one of the most beautiful, natural voices around. The musical arrangement of Station To Station didn’t really work that well though. No Earl Slick style guitar for starters to give that train sound. The song needs that. But Neil’s vocal was good. Not quite its usual effortless tone. Neil was obviously nervous!

I did really like Conor O’Brien’s version of The Man Who Sold The World. It was really beautiful.

I didn’t know what to make of Marc Almond’s version of Life On Mars. He stuffed up a few of the lines, especially at the beginning, so he was obviously nervous. And he really hit the high notes. But I wasn’t entirely sold.

Anna Calvi doing Lady Grinning Soul…it turned a warm, sensual, soft and erotic song into…I dunno…a Ennio Morricone epic – but a heartless one. I thought she was going to do it justice when it began…but it just went so OTT! It lost its sensuality and eroticism for me. It ended up with no soul, no sex, no love.

I liked Blackstar…before Amanda Palmer very quickly grated on me. She is a f***ing twat. Sorry! Just…wow.

I wanted the harmonica on I Can’t Give Everything Away. Paul Buchanan has a very good voice. It’s quite unique. And I enjoyed his version of the song. He’s duet with Laura Mvula was more “interesting” for Girl Loves Me. But you can’t really call it a duet when somebody is doing the main vocal and the other is just a bit of backing vocal, can you?

I think by this time it was starting to fall apart for me. There were little musical interludes that the group was doing and for fans like myself and my Other Half – lifelong fans, we couldn’t recognise them. That must’ve said something about the calibre of this group and their interpretations of the songs. Of course it was the classical genre on display as it was a prom. But there have been electric proms. It needed to be electric. It needed guitars. There were some played, of course. Anna Calvi played, as well as a couple of others. But something seemed to be missing.

The French singer performing Always Crashing In The Same Car. A very gifted vocalist. But what a truly odd choice of song to give him to perform. I would have thought something like Word On A Wing would be much more apt.

It descended into a farce really if I’m being supercritical and yeah I’m going to be super critical because…it just seemed to sour and go bad really quickly.

I got really excited when John Cale came on the stage. He seemed to lift what was happening. I really enjoyed his version of Valentine’s Day. But again after that track it just seemed to go downhill and it became a farce. I suppose a farce is too strong a word. It just lost credibility and genuineness and…authenticity.

Also Amanda Palmer’s version of Heroes was appalling and was too…well, subsequently not too short because it was so appalling and I didn’t really like it as it was just too over the top and pompous and that’s when she grated on me completely.

People on Twitter in the final stages of it, especially that group singalong towards the end were likening it to Earth Song. It just started to feel like a mass of insincerity in the end.

Marc Almond performing Starman was quite good. It was quite a good singalong…I suppose. Kitschy…and kind of sweet.

It should have been knockout! It should have been GREAT…but it was decidedly “meh”.


The real point of it proved one thing – no one can do David Bowie like David Bowie.

It just highlights the void he has left.

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