A Night of Stardust at Union Transfer closes out a week long celebration of all things David Bowie.
The post-pandemic return to live events for Philly Loves Bowie Week – the January 6 through 14, 2023 celebration of the January dates that mark the birth, death and multi-mediated artistry of David Bowie – was a shining success as far as its co-founders (Patti Brett, Marla Kenevsky, Robert Drake and Gregory Shelton) and charities (CHOP’s Bowie Fund) were concerned. Blue Blue Electric Blue! Weckerly’s Ice Cream sandwiches were eaten, Loving the Alien Saison and Young Americans Cranberry Sours were consumed at Doobies, and Candy Volcanos exploded. The annual finale of Philly Loves Bowie Week, A Night of Stardust at Union Transfer created and curated by Gregory Shelton, was of course the celebration’s highlight.
After not-so-long-ago having witnessed Todd Rundgren, Adrien Belew and Jeffrey Gaines during the Celebrate Bowie concert at Glenside’s Keswick Theater, there was no better time than the present for Philly and NJ area faves to appropriate Bowie’s greatest hits.
Arriving late and missing the night’s first act means walking into Union Transfer at its most packed. Spattered with millennial fans and young Bowie-ites, the crowd that filled A Night of Stardust was definitely a 40 plus affair, and thick with elders who recalled the Philly-Bowie of nights at the Tower Theatre and Sigma Sound Studios.
While long-haired leather-jacket clad Dylan Zangwill aptly captured the energy and angst of “Under Pressure” and “Star”, vocalist Michele Peraino bravely tackled “Ashes to Ashes” (not an easy song to sing), “Stay”, and “Soul Love”.
After drummer Dan Kauffman strapped on a guitar and wailed through “Hallo Spaceboy” and a “Ziggy Stardust” singalong, the evening’s headliners hit the stage hard.
Vocalist Jimmy Gnecco – a New Jersey native – is beloved for his work for his longtime band, Ours, and did his best Bowie warble on everything from a raging “I’m Afraid of Americans” to “Starman”, “Space Oddity”, and “Fame”.
And while everyone hotly anticipated South Philadelphia’s own Adam Weiner and Will Donnelly – the infamously rock and rolling Low Cut Connie – they too had their own surprise to share: a guest appearance from the Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock. The assembled and Schock-supplemented LCC jumped on glam-era Bowie rockers such as “Jean Genie”, Rebel Rebel” and a slowed-done “Lady Stardust” before closing with a rough-edged “Diamond Dogs”. And the Night of Stardust closed out with Gnecco and Zangwill dueting on “Heroes” and the whole group regaling the crowd with the Philly-recorded “Young Americans”.
As it should.
Images: Moonloop Photo