Bowie Alumni Celebrate The Musician’s Legacy at the Keswick

Last February when Mike Garson’s Celebrating David Bowie concert came to the Keswick Theatre, the show was fantastic yet somber – the pain from losing the iconic musician was still fresh. Now going on its second round of tours, however, the renamed “A Bowie Celebration” show was vivacious and truly a celebration.

New this year to the lineup was longtime member of Bob Dylan’s band, Austrailian vocalist/guitarist Charlie Sexton. When he sang, like  during “Life on Mars” and “Suffragette City,” he bore a striking resemblance to the “Thin White Duke” era of Bowie.

The show started with just pianist Mike Garson and singer Bernard Fowler (who will return to Philly with the Rolling Stones in June) performing a moving version of “Bring Me The Disco King.” The highlights, though, were when the band became real rock n’ roll: vocalist Corey Glover (of Living Colour)’s outrageous rendition of “Young Americans;” a rollicking version of “I’m Afraid of Americans,” and Fowler and Corey tag teaming on vocals for Queen and David Bowie’s duet “Under Pressure.”

Charles Sexton performing “Young Americans”

The band’s Philly setlist dedicated a portion of the night to Bowie’s 1975 Young Americans album, which was mainly recorded at the Sigma Sound Studios in Philly. In addition to “Young Americans,” the band performed the funky and irresistible “Fame” and deeper cut “Win.”

The band all came out to perform the Bowie classic “Heroes” for the encore. The entire audience stood and sung along, raising their fingers as the band sang “Just for one day!” It was a moment that encapsulated what a celebration should be, and just for one night it seemed Bowie’s spirit was right there in the walls of the Keswick Theatre.

“You don’t always get a Philly crowd,” remarked guitarist Earl Slick after the show, noting the heightened enthusiasm of the night. “This was the lineup I was dreaming of,” said Garson, beaming as he was leaving the stage. In our interview with Garson, he noted that he was open to continuing the Bowie Celebration tour if the fans wanted it. If there’s one thing that can be taken from the March 10th show, it’s that Philly continues to deeply love Bowie and his music.

All photos by Lauren Silvestri.

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