Mike Garson leads A Bowie Celebration back to the Keswick Theatre

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Photo credit to Steve Rose

Famous duos are commonplace in music royalty: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards; Paul McCartney & John Lennon, Sonny & Cher, Simon & Garfunkel – but what casual fans may not know is that iconic artist David Bowie had a right-hand man in Mike Garson, his longtime pianist.

Calling his tenure with Bowie a “spiritual connection,” Garson was Bowie’s longest and most frequent band member. He was featured on more than 20 Bowie albums, including his acclaimed masterly solo on the “Aladdin Sane” track. Garson performed with David on both his first and last concerts in the United States as well as 1,000 concerts around the globe in between.

After Bowie’s death in 2016, Garson helped organized an all-star tribute to the iconic musician with other Bowie alumni. Titled Celebrating David Bowie, this iteration featured Bowie’s longtime guitarist Earl Slick (read our interview here) and bassist Carmine Rojas, as well as special guest vocalists Bernald Fowler (Rolling Stones), Corey Glover (Living Colour) Gaby Moreno, Joe Sumner and more.

Now called A Bowie Celebration, the second round of this tour returns to the Keswick Theatre in Glenside (right outside of North Philadelphia) this Sunday, March 10th. Earl Slick and Carmine Rojas are still in tow with Mark Plati and Gerry Leonard, but Australian Charlie Sexton will be the featured vocalist this time in Philly in addition to Bernard Fowler and Corey Glover. Lee John (Earl Slick’s son) will be on drums.

While touring in New York, Rock On Philly had the opportunity to speak with Garson on the phone about the upcoming Philly show and his time with David Bowie.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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