Posts Tagged ‘live stream’

Mike Garson’s Bowie celebration live stream event 8 January 2022

This live stream event was the second produced by Mike Garson, former pianist with David Bowie forScreenshot (194) much of the 70s. I virtually attended Mike Garson’s previous event, which was excellent and consisted of a great collection of contemporary artists, all Bowie fans themselves, performing some of David Bowie’s best songs. This live stream event promised a similar collection of Bowie classics, performed by a different collection of artists including Joe Elliott with Def Leopard and solo, Living Colour, Simon Le Bon and John Taylor of Duran Duran, Noel Gallagher, Ricky Gervais and Gary Oldman, the latter two are of course both actors.

Screenshot (176)This was an equally splendid event with Joe Elliott clearly wearing his David Bowie fandom badge near his heart and Simon Le Bon putting in excellent versions of David Bowie classics. Gary Oldman once again performed astoundingly as a vocalist and Ricky Gervais spoke tenderly of his interactions with David Bowie, particularly in relation to his Extras TV programme. Mike Garson was, as before, an excellent master of ceremonies and compere for the entire event. Living colour, a band I am not familiar with, again surprised me with powerful and passionate versions of selections from David Bowie’s massive back catalogue. The house band, featuring Duran Duran’s John Taylor, gave excellent support to the solo vocalists.

Screenshot (179)Setlist: Fame (WALK THE MOON); Young Americans (Living Colour and David Sanborn); I’m Afraid of Americans (Living Colour); It Ain’t Easy (Judith Hill); Five Years (Gaby Moreno); Space Oddity (Billy Corgan); The Jean Genie (Bernard Fowler); Goodnight Mr. Jones (Joe Elliott); Time (Charlie Sexton and Gaby Moreno); Lazarus (Charlie Sexton); Golden Years (WALK THE MOON); Starman (Gretchen Parlato); As the World Falls Down (Evan Rachel Wood and The Worm from Labyrinth); Drive-In Saturday (Def Leppard); Ashes to Ashes (Charlie Sexton); Slip Away (Gary Oldman); Let’s Dance (Simon Le Bon and John Taylor); Wild Is the Wind (Bernard Fowler and Judith Hill); All the Young Dudes (Joe Sumner); Valentine’s Day (Noel Gallagher); Shadow Man (Gail Ann Dorsey); Under Pressure (WALK THE MOON); Modern Love (Jake Wesley Rogers); Life on Mars?  (Jake Wesley Rogers); Changes  (Rob Thomas); Heroes (Rob Thomas).

Chrissie Hynde sings Bob Dylan at the Royal Opera House London live stream event 26 December 2021

CHRISSY 0Chrissie Hynde is clearly, like many of us, a Bob Dylan fan. I had not realised it but she had the privilege of singing Dylan’s classic “Leopardskin Pillbox Hat” alongside the great man himself in Wembley Stadium, London on his 1984 tour which I caught at St James’s Park, Newcastle. She has recently, in May 2021, released an album Standing in the Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan. This live concert took place on the evening of 26 December, Boxing Day, in the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Opera House, London and was live streamed via VEEPS, the very same streaming platform that hosted (and on which I watched) Bob Dylan’s Shadow Kingdom show last July.

CHRISSY 5Chrissie’s band for the evening consisted of Pretenders guitarist James Walbourne, with Carwyn Ellis on keyboards and Danny Williams on upright bass. Chrissie sat on a stool in the middle of the band, playing acoustic guitar. The band sat quite closely, almost intimately, together centre stage surrounded by beautiful Christmas lights, chandeliers and a Christmas tree. Lovely!

This was not your standard Bob Dylan tribute set. Chrissie didn’t play safe by performing a set of his best-known songs. Indeed, there were several songs which I did not recognise at all. Those that I did recognise included “Blind Willie McTell”, “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” and “Every Grain of Sand”. Each song was performed acoustically with great guitar work from James CHRISSY 4Walbourne and equally well performed keyboards and double bass. Chrissie was on fine form. Her voice sounded as strong as ever and she was clearly enjoying every second of the experience. Dressed casually in a T-shirt “Don’t Pet Me – I’m Performing”! and the usual jeans and knee-high leather boots, she looked every part the lady rockstar that she always has done, since I first saw her in Newcastle Mayfair at the start of The Pretenders life. At one point Hynde admonished a lady in the audience “Switch Off That Phone”; only to have to apologise at the end of the song, when she realised the phone flash she thought she had seen was in fact the Exit sign flashing across her eyes! You couldn’t make it up!

CHRISSY 2Having completed the Dylan set, Chrissie moved on to a couple of songs which she announced as being composed by another great writer Ray Davies (a former beau) rather than announce them as Pretenders songs: “I Go to Sleep” and (my favourite) “Stop Your Sobbing”, which took me right back to those early days when she was first starting out as a musician and artist. These were the highlights of the show for me.

The band then moved on to a few songs that Chrissie had written with guitarist James Walbourne. These songs appeared on the Pretenders most recent album Hate for SaleCHRISSY 3, and were intertwined with a great version of the Hoagy Carmichael classic “I Get Along Without You Very Well” for which she put down her guitar, picked up the microphone and stood stage front. The single encore was a song, which was new to me, by French singer-songwriter Charles Trenet: “Que Rèste-T-Il De Nos Amours?”, reading the lyrics from a piece of paper, which she often needed to consult! It seemed a strange choice, but also quite fitting and marked the end of a lovely evening spent (virtually) with the musical legend, that is Chrissie Hynde.

CHRISSY 6Setlist: In the Summertime; You’re a Big Girl Now; Standing in the Doorway; Sweetheart Like You; Blind Willie McTell; Love Minus Zero/No Limit; Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight; Tomorrow Is a Long Time; Every Grain of Sand; I Go to Sleep; Stop Your Sobbing; Maybe Love Is in NYC; You Can’t Hurt a Fool; Crying in Public; I Get Along Without You Very Well; (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am

Encore: Que Rèste-T-Il De Nos Amours?

An audience with Paul McCartney live stream from Southbank Centre 5 November 2021

paul4 - Copy (2)Paul McCartney has recently written a wonderful book entitled The Lyrics, which is a beautifully presented, two-volume (in a presentation box) selection of 154 of his lyrics. The book was edited by the poet, Paul Muldoon, who  helped Paul choose the lyrics to be included. This live stream was from a question-and-answer/audience with event which saw the two Pauls interviewed by Samira Ahmed in the Southbank Centre, London. I would have loved to attend the actual event in London but, given my circumstances, it was more practical to settle for the live streaming. Having said that the live stream was excellently done, and I really enjoyed it. It was actually almost “like being there”!

“More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.” – Paul McCartney, The Lyrics

“In this extraordinary book, with unparalleled candour, Paul McCartney recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career – from his earliest boyhood compositions through the legendary decade of The Beatles, to Wings and his solo albums to the present.” (From Paul McCartney website)

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I have just received my own copy of the book and haven’t had time to go through it properly yet. However I can confirm that it is a beautiful artefact, well presented, and provides fascinating insights into the lyrics of one of our true musical geniuses, and one of my heroes. I look forward to going through the book in more detail in the weeks to come.

Paul McCartney’s collaborator and editor in this venture comes with an incredible pedigree and background, which makes him an excellent choice for working on The Lyrics. Apparently the two Paul’s worked together for five years, carefully selecting which songs to include, spanning Paul McCartney’s entire career: “Paul Muldoon is an Irish poet. He has published more than thirty collections and won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the T. S. Eliot Prize. At Princeton University he is currently both the Howard G. B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities and Founding Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. He held the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1999 to 2004 and has also served as president of the Poetry Society (UK) and Poetry Editor at The New Yorker.” (From Wikipedia).

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Chair and chief questioner Samira also comes with impeccable credentials: “On TV I present Newswatch on BBC1 and the BBC News channel. I was named the British Broadcasting Press Guild Audio Presenter of the Year 2020. On radio I present Front Row on Radio 4 and the Intelligence Squared podcast How I Found My Voice.” (In her own words, from her website).

The event was fascinating and well presented. Samira did an excellent job, questioning the two Paul’s. It was very clear that Paul and Paul have built up a very close working relationship. Paul Muldoon clearly has a deep understanding of Paul McCartney’s lyrics and throughout the evening it became very clear the very careful and almost forensic way in which they had approached the selection of the lyrics. They felt that the final collection represents the entirety of Paul’s career and includes important lyrics each of which tell their own story. The lyrics are presented alphabetically, rather than chronologically (which is what I for some reason expected), as they explain: “Arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, it establishes definitive texts of the songs’ lyrics for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now.” (From Paul McCartney website).

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The first thing that came over to me very clearly was just how natural Paul McCartney sounded and behaved. I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I saw was an ordinarily guy, without any big ego, chatting about his work and his life. It was a pleasure to see and hear him talk so naturally about songs which have become parts of all of our lives and which mean so much to many of us. There were many little snippets which came out and revealed aspects of the songs and their lyrics of which I was not aware. A few I remember, I will recount below.

“Ticket to Ride”. Paul revealed that there was a double meaning to this song. Apparently, he and John Lennon wrote the song during a trip to a family home on the Isle of Wight and “Ride” has a double meaning, referring to “Ryde”, the town on the Isle of Wight where they were heading.

“Eight Days a Week”. Paul was travelling in a taxi and he asked the driver what sort of week he had had. The taxidriver replied “It has been really busy. I have full on working eight days a week!” Paul rushed to see John and said “I have a great title for our next song!” The rest is history. I wonder if that taxidriver ever clicked on.

“Let It Be”. This iconic song came to Paul in a dream where his mother appeared to him and, as Paul appeared worried about something, she gave him a piece of advice. She simply said to Paul “Let It Be”. He said she seemed completely real in the dream. I think we all have such dreams which seem real to us. I often wonder if they do have a deeper meaning and represent some alternative reality.

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Paul also discussed how the fact that he is left-handed and John was right-handed helped them when writing songs together. Instead of the necks of their guitars getting in the way and hitting each other, they would point in opposite directions, enabling the two to watch each other as they played and sang. Paul said he could watch John’s guitar playing and this would help him complement it with his own guitar or bass playing. He also said it brought the two young men closer together which helped with their singing, harmonies and songwriting. A fascinating insight which, in some ways, is obvious yet reveals a lot.

The evening concluded with Samira selecting a small number of questions from the audience within the Southbank Centre and from those sent in online.

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A fascinating event, which complements a wonderful book, and gave some unique insights into the thought processes behind the lyrics and songs of one of our musical geniuses.

It is not often that we get an opportunity to gain intimate insights into the mind and thoughts of a musical genius. One thing I forgot. Paul also spoke lovingly of his education at school. He admitted that, although he did not realise it at the time, he learnt a lot from one particular teacher, who taught him English Literature. He said that he particularly enjoyed Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales (“very rude, filthy!”) He also admitted that all four Beatles gained a lot from school and that influenced their songwriting, perhaps without them realising.

The Zombies live stream event on Veeps from Abbey Road studios 18 September 2021

VEEP ZOMBIES 1The concert had a few different segments, Including quite a few songs I knew well and others that I was hearing from the first time. The setting was the famous Abbey Road studios. It was great to see the band performing live in those legendary settings in front of a small audience which, I suspect, consisted of invited guests, relatives and friends. I am, of course, a great fan of both Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone and have seen them many times in various incarnations of their bands including the Zombies, Colin solo, Argent, Rod solo and Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone as a duo. Rod Argent is a fantastic organist and keyboard player and Colin Blunstone has a very distinctive voice: strong, yet soft at the same time.

In the current incarnation of the Zombies, Rod and Colin are joined by (I believe) Steve Rodford – drums, Tom Toomey – guitar and Søren Koch – this guitar. Steve Rodford is the son of the late, sadly missed, bass player Jim Romford who was a founding member of Argent and also a long-term member of The Kinks and of course, the Zombies.

veeps zombies 2The opening song, which I didn’t know was great, an excellent piece of British RnB, blues influenced music. British bands of the early sixties have such an honest approach to blues and rock and roll. Rod Argent’s electric piano was particularly good. The band then went on to play several songs that are great, but unfamiliar to me. They were a mixture of old and new. One song in particular was interesting. Although I didn’t recognise the song, they announced that Tom Petty had covered it and so they went on to play “their own cover of a Tom Petty cover of a Zombies song”. Colin Blunstone also performed the haunting hit song of his “so you don’t mind”; written by Denny Laine. This was followed by a few songs featuring a string quartet which added an additional dimensional and texture to the music.

This was followed by a short selection of songs from the Odyssey and Oracle album. Now I love this album so hearing four songs from it was just great. The final song of the four was, as you would expect, the wonderful US hit “Time of the Season”, which still amazes me to this day. The use of breathy vocals and clapping around the main song is unique and gets me every time.

veeps zombies 3The next segment contained new songs which featured excellent playing by Rod Argent and strong vocals from Colin Blunstone. We were then on the home strait and into Argent’s “Hold Your Head up”, which still gives me great memories of dancing on the tables when seeing Argent back in the early 1970s at Sunderland Top Rank. Finally, the best was, as it should be, kept to the last and we were treated to “She’s Not There” which still sounds fresh since I first heard it in the 1960s.

Many thanks to my old friend and colleague Ciaran, from Limerick, who also watched the event and allowed me to use some of his words in my review above. Ciaran summed up the last couple of songs well: “I know ‘Hold your Head Up’ of course, but the live version was terrific – I much preferred it to the record: the organ solos were great here. The band was in great form on this one, and again on ‘She’s Not There’ which worked really well too, more great instrumental breaks.”

The set closed with an encore; a moving duet of Colin and Rod which rounded off the evening well. I’m quite getting to like live streaming events. Of course, they are not the same as “the real thing”, but they have a unique attraction of their own. My next live streaming event is to watch Paul McCartney being veeps zombies4interviewed about his Lyrics book at the Southbank Centre, London. Now, in the past before my accident, I would have been tempted to travel to London for this event. This is now no longer very practical for me, so live streaming allows me to “be there” virtually, which is the next best thing. The other great thing about some live streaming events is that I can watch them the next day, or again, if I wish.

To summarise, a great performance by a classic 1960s band with two legendary and very accomplished musicians. The 1960s produced some unique, excellent music which lives on to this day.

Setlist: Moving On; I Want You Back Again; Edge of the Rainbow; I Love You; Say You Don’t Mind; Different Game; You Could Be My Love; I Want to Fly; Tell Her No; Care of Cell 44; This Will Be Our Year; I Want Her She Wants Me; Time of the Season; Merry Go Round; Run Away (For All My Life); Hold Your Head Up; She’s Not There. Encore: The Way I Feel Inside

Patti Smith Veeps live stream from Electric Lady Studios 10 September 2021 2 AM BST!!

patti lady tixThis was (I think) my third live streaming event by Patti Smith. This was a little bit special as it was billed as a one-off live streaming event (no re-watching afterwards) from the famous Electric Lady Studios. There was one problem. It was at 2 AM BST (British Standard Time). Now my days of being awake, or getting up, at 2 AM are well past. I am just too old for this lark! It was different when I was younger and I was lying in a station bench in King’s Cross, Edinburgh Waverley or Victoria, but these days this was a real test of strength and willpower. Anyway, a little against my better judgement, I bought my ticket from Veeps. On the night before the event I drank my usual evening tipple, one can of draught Guinness, and went to sleep around 10 PM. At 1:45 AM my carer for the evening, Chris, woke me up, perched the computer above me in bed and switched it on ready for the show to start.

patti lady 3The event was billed as: “Patti Smith returns to Veeps for a very special collaboration with Electric Lady Studios and Spotify: streaming from the legendary recording facility on September 9th. A message from Patti “We are very proud to be part of this very special series at our favourite recording studio. It was a unique challenge and offered us an exciting and innovative platform”.”

This was particularly interesting and tempting because of the venue. Electric Lady Studios is a famous recording studio in Greenwich Village, New York City. It was commissioned by Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Hendrix spent only ten weeks recording in Electric Lady before his death in 1970, but it was later used by many famous artists from the 1970s onwards, including Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, and David Bowie.

Patti has recently recorded a short album at Electric Lady Studios, and this event was a live performance of that album.

So, there I was, now fully awake and alert, waiting for Patti Smith to appear. It is always interesting at these live streaming events reading the chat box to see who else is watching alongside me (metaphorically). So, I notice messages such as “hello Patti from Tokyo”, “hi from London”, “hi there from Berlin”, “waiting for you Patti, from New York”, and so on… You get the idea.

patti lady 1Soon Patti did appear and we were treated to a great performance of the songs from the album. The aforementioned album contains a selection of old Patti Smith’s songs and some covers including a wonderful version of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings”. The lady was on top form and was backed by her usual musicians including long-time collaborator Lenny Kaye. Great! Now, a few people in the chat box were questioning whether the performance was really live or pre-recorded. To be honest, the way the songs blended from one to the next did feel like a pre-recorded performance and Patti had little to say on the evening. However, to me it didn’t matter; it was still another opportunity to see the great lady performing at her best. The set was short, matching the length of the album. Some people in the chat seemed disappointed at this. Me, I was quite satisfied, and in some ways, a little relieved that I could return to my sleep; dreams of Patti Smith live swirling around in my head. I awoke the next morning, a little tired, but actually none the worse for my experience.

patti lady 2Setlist: April Fool; Ghost Dance; Blame it on the Sun; Broken Flag; Birdland; One Too Many Mornings; Peaceable Kingdom

Bob Dylan Shadow Kingdom stream event 18 July 2021

DYLAN 0So this was another streaming event, this time by our old friend and troubadour Bob Dylan. I expected the event to be live, but it was clearly pre-recorded. However, this was not a disappointment and did not detract from the enjoyment of the concert, rather the pre-recorded setting of the event enabled a greater depth and atmosphere than would have been possible had it been a live performance. The streaming started late on Sunday night UK time and although I was really looking forward to it, I have to admit to wimping out and watching it the next morning.

Now I have seen Bob Dylan many times over the years, and in recent times his performances have sometimes been patchy. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed each time I saw him in concert, but on occasion his voice was not so strong and I know many other people left disappointed. But this time was something very different.

DYLAN 3Picture the scene. A smoky bar somewhere in Marseille, Dylan surrounded by his musicians including guitars and double bass and performing in front of a small audience. Everyone in the audience was smoking very heavily (and it looked like genuine smoke, but I suspect it wasn’t, and I also suspect that they weren’t really sitting directly in front of Dylan). However the effect was great and looked genuine. Dylan was dressed well, sometimes there was a change of suit or jacket; sometimes he would be playing guitar or mouth harp, sometimes simply standing singing. Sometimes he would be centre stage, and for other songs he would be to the left. The credits told us that the bar was in Marseille, but this was actually fictitious. I’m sure that it was all recorded within studios in America; but nonetheless, as I have said earlier, the effect was authentic and absolutely excellent.

Dylan performed a selection of some of his older songs from the 1960s and 1970s, some better known than others. I must admit, to my shame, that there were several that I did not recognise. This, however, did not spoil my enjoyment of the performance. The show was billed as Dylan “revisiting” some of his old classic songs. And revisit them he did indeed.

DYLAN 2This was Bob Dylan, in my view, reborn. No more strange vocalising, no more “up singing”; this was Dylan with a strong, deep, emotional voice that in many ways returned to the form he was on in the late 1970s when I first saw him. This was Dylan performing, no more standing still, he would make small mannerisms with his hands; pointing and moving to emphasise the lyrics. When he sang classics (particularly the ones I recognised) such as “Forever Young” and “I’ll be your Baby Tonight” his voice was deep, twisting and turning and emotional. This took me back to the Dylan I saw in Blackbushe Aerodrome in 1978. Tremendous. I had tears in my eyes. The old Bob has returned, singing to us from his heart and his soul in a way that he has not achieved, in my view, for many years. You have to see it to understand. He really was that good, in my view.

DYLAN 1Dylan, at 80, remains a unique and indescribable presence in modern music. Long may the troubadour continue to sing to us and let’s hope the never-ending tour will soon resume so that we can witness the legend perform for us again. 

Set List: When I Paint My Masterpiece; Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine; Queen Jane; Approximately; I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; Just like Tom Thumb’s Blues; Tombstone Blues; To Be Alone With You; What Was It You Wanted; Forever Young; Pledging My Time; The Wicked Messenger; Watching the River Flow; It’s All over Now, Baby Blue.

David Bowie: A Celebration; Orchestrated by Mike Garson. 10 January 2021

bowie 1Yet another streaming event. Well it is all that is available the moment. This one was a bit different. We were promised a 3 hour extravaganza celebrating David Bowie’s birthday and featuring artists from around the world all performing together through the power of modern technology. The whole event was orchestrated and planned by Mike Garson, David Bowie‘s piano player from around 1973 and then throughout his career. The artists ranged from those who names I recognised: Duran Duran, Macy Gray, Boy George, Rick Wakeman, Ian Hunter, Ian Astbury, Joe Elliot, Adam Lambert and Peter Frampton and many others who were less familiar to me (probably because they are more recent and up-to-date than my old guy musical tastes and knowledge). We were also promised a band consisting of musicians who accompanied David Bowie throughout his career: Earl Slick, Carlos Alomar, Tony Visconti, Tony Levin and many others.

The event was originally set to be screened at 2 AM UK time on 9 January (it was being streamed from Los Angeles). So I set my alarm for 1:45 AM and woke up ready, excited and intrigued, for the ongoing proceedings. Unfortunately, after a short delay of a few minutes Mike Garson appeared only to tell us that thebowie mike g event was postponed by one day, due to difficulties relating to Covid. “We’ve been working around the clock for months putting together an amazing show for you. Due to the difficulties in the world and the situation with COVID in Los Angeles, we’ve had to move the show 24 hours to tomorrow at the same time. Hang in there with us – just for one day.” So back to sleep I went.

Now the deal was that you had a 24-hour slot in which to view the three-hour event, so this time I decided not to rise at the early hour of 2 AM. Rather, I settled for watching the event later in the day on Sunday 10 January.

The event itself exceeded all of my expectations. It really made the most of modern technology, seamlessly drawing together artists from all over the world; some live, some I suspect recorded, all on different screens yet all playing together. Fantastic. Mike Garson took us through the whole event, introducing each artist and the song and played piano on all, but one (I will explain this later) of the songs.

bowie duranThe concert started with Duran Duran playing “Five Years”, the opening track of Ziggy Stardust and one of my favourite Bowie songs. I suspect this choice of opener paid tribute to the fact that Bowie sadly passed away almost five years to the day, a few days after his birthday. Now I have lost touch with Duran Duran. It is many years since I have seen them and I used to be a fan in the 80s, back in the day. I was pleasantly surprised how well they delivered, no nailed, this classic track; Simon Le Bon almost spitting out the vocals. A great opener. But there was more to follow. An electric version of “Moonage Daydream”, followed by Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins meandering around the screen in his own TV, lost in a “Space Oddity”. An excellent version of “The Man Who Sold the World”. Gary Barlow punching above his weight throughout “Fame “. And so it went on. Bowie classic after classic, mixed with some less familiar tunes, Mike Garson constantly present on a grand piano. Macy Gray popped up on a screen to the left singing one of my Bowie favourites “Changes”, doing it full justice. A tribute to Mick Ronson and his wonderful version of “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” performed by Kevin Armstrong, bringing back memories of seeing Ronson perform it on his solo tour, in Newcastle City Hall many years ago. bowie joBowie fan, and Def Leopard front man, Joe Elliott sang “Ziggy Stardust” paying tribute to a hero of his youth, as he often does. Ricky Gervais popped up for a moment to introduce “Little Fat Man” harking back to Bowie’s performance of that song on his TV show Extras.

Actor Gary Oldman performed a highly emotional version of “I Can’t Read”, soon followed by a great rocking version of “Suffragette City” performed by none other than Peter Frampton. Ian Astbury of the Cult performed “Lazarus” and then Mike Garson handed over his piano stool to Rick Wakeman who appeared in a virtual box delivering the introduction and wonderful background to “Life on Mars” as he did on the original version so many years ago; the song being performed by new voice Youngblood. Boy George delivered a highly theatrical performance of a trio of classics: “Lady Grilling Soul”, “Time”, “Aladdin Sane”. Then my hero Ian Hunter appeared to the left of the screen and performed his tribute to Bowie “Dandy”, followed by “All the Young Dudes” (of course). Current Queen front man and star in his ownbowie ian h right, Adam Lambert, performed an appropriately dramatic version of “Star man”. I can’t claim to recognise the name Bernard Fowler, but I did recognise the man as a long time singer for the Rolling Stones. He performed a number of songs during the show, and closed the event with a powerful rendition of “Heroes”. A fitting end to an incredible event. One which finally realised the potential of streaming and modern technology. An excellent tribute to a genius who I feel so privileged to have seen in performance several times. David if you were watching somewhere out there I’m sure you would have approved. Mike Garson is to be applauded for doing a wonderful job in putting together an excellent event. After the show the team behind A Bowie Celebration tweeted: “Thank you David. And our thanks to you all for coming together in a world where that has been so difficult. This couldn’t have been done without you, the amazing Bowie alumni family, our special guests and wonderful behind the scenes team at @rollinglivepro.” I even bought a signed copy of Mike Garson’s book! I will post an image of it here when it arrives.

bowie stones singerThe reviews in the press were almost all extremely positive. “In almost impossible circumstances, Garson pulled off a herculean task, doing Bowie proud, at a distance.”(Mark Beaumont in The Independent). “All that was missing was the star himself and the global audience, who were surely out there, singing in their homes.” (Dave Simpson in The Guardian).

Setlist: Five Years (Duran Duran); Moonage Daydream (Lena Hall and Lzzy Hale); Space Oddity (Billy Corgan); The Man Who Sold the World (Perry Farrell and Etty Lau Farrell); Bring Me the Disco King (Anna Calvi); Fame (Gary Barlow); Young Americans (Corey Glover); Can You Hear Me (Gail Ann Dorsey); Sweet Thing / Candidate / Sweet Thing (Bernard Fowler) ; Let’s Dance (Charlie Sexton); Lady Stardust (Judith Hill); Changes (Macy Gray);  Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Kevin Armstrong); Conversation Piece (Catherine Russell); Rebel Rebelbowie rick w (Charlie Sexton); Win / Ziggy Stardust (Joe Elliott); Quicksand (Taylor Momsen); DJ / Blue Jean (Charlie Sexton); Where Are We Now? (Michael C. Hall); Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide (Dave Navarro, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Chaney); Little Fat Man (Corey Taylor; introduced by Ricky Gervais); Hang On to Yourself (Corey Taylor, Dave Navarro, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Chaney); I Can’t Read (Gary Oldman); The Jean Genie (Jesse Malin); Strangers When We Meet (Gail Ann Dorsey); Suffragette City (Peter Frampton); Fantastic Voyage (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross); Fashion     (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Mariqueen Maandig); Lazarus (Ian Astbury); Life on Mars? (YUNGBLUD and Rick Wakeman); Lady Grinning Soul / Time / Aladdin Sane (Boy George and Charlie Sexton);  Dandy /All the Young Dudes (Ian Hunter); Starman (Adam Lambert); Under Pressure (Judith Hill and Andra Day); Heroes (Bernard Fowler); Ashes to Ashes (Instrumental over credits).

SARAH BRIGHTMAN: A CHRISTMAS SYMPHONY Live stream concert 20 Dec 2020

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So here I am “going” to my second live streaming concert! This could become a habit until I can venture out into the real gig world again (please bring on that day soon). Now I have always had a fancy for seeing Sarah Brightman. She is a sort of guilty pleasure who I almost went to see in London couple of times, but “bottled out”, with some regret now. The concert was advertised as below. Plus you could buy a package which included the concert, a programme and a ticket (yet to be delivered from the USA). How could I resist? After all, this is almost like a real concert; I get a programme and a ticket for my collection (and to display on here when they arrive). What’s not to like? I am IN!

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SARAH BRIGHTMAN lights up the holidays with her first-ever livestream concert event SARAH BRIGHTMAN: A CHRISTMAS SYMPHONY!
Join SARAH as she transforms the historical Christ Church Spitalfields in London and welcomes viewers worldwide into her intimate winter wonderland on December 20th
Together with orchestra, chorister from Trinity College, SARAH has invited special guests Aled Jones, choir Gregorian to join her, and will be reuniting with Andrew Lloyd Webber for a memorable performance of a holiday classic! Curl up with your family and a hot toddy or two, and enjoy what promises to be an unforgettable Christmas spectacle at home with SARAH BRIGHTMAN!

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One thing about streamed events. You have to be careful to remember that they are happening! I almost forgot. I was busy answering emails (as I do most of my time!) Then suddenly I realised that I should be watching Sarah Brightman. We switched over quickly and joined the concert a few minutes late. However this was not a problem, because at the end I could switch to a recording and watch the few minutes I missed.

The setting was a lovely old church in London with Sarah surrounded by wonderful, appropriate Christmas lighting and an orchestra. She started with “Ave Maria”, followed by “Silent Night”; lovely if perhaps a little too traditional for me. She was then joined by Aled Jones to sing “Walking in the Air” which was also quite exquisite. This was followed by “Pie Jesu” with a chorister named Leo and then an ABBA song “Happy New Year” which I am not familiar with; followed by another unfamiliar song “Colder Than Winter”.

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Sarah was then joined by long-term friend Andrew Lloyd Webber for a performance of an old Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice song “Christmas Dream”. Great! The next song sounded familiar; after some thought and some googling I realised it was “Hymn” by none other than Barclay James Harvest; a song I have seen them perform many times before; shame on me for not remembering it. Lovely. Sarah’s voice is exquisite, angelic and very fitting to the mood, Christmas and the surroundings. This was followed by another old Christmas favourite from the late great Greg Lake: “I Believe in Father Christmas”. Sarah then left us while the orchestra played a piece, and she made one of many costume changes into another lovely dress.

We were close to the end at this point and Sarah continued with “Amazing Grace”, “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The closer was none other than Roy Wood’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”. All in all a lovely Christmas concert. But, as I observed last time I attended a streaming event, it can never be the same as a live concert experience. I must admit I was quite impressed by Sarah Brightman and I still remain tempted to go and see her should she return to the UK for a concert in the future. Will I attend another streaming event? I have none planned at the moment, but if anything interesting turns up I may well do so.

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Set list: Ave Maria: Silent night: Walking in the air (The Snowman) Aled Jones plus chorister Leo: Pie Jesu plus chorister Leo:  Arrival (ABBA): Colder than Winter (Vince Gill); Christmas Dream with Andrew Lloyd Webber; A Coventry Carol with Gregorian; Hymn (Barclay James Harvest); I Believe in Father Christmas (Greg Lake); Orchestral Musical interlude; Amazing Grace; Happy Christmas (War is over) (Lennon and Ono); I Wish it could be Christmas every day (Roy Wood)