A star-studded sold-out show at Glenside’s Keswick Theatre, Celebrating David Bowie.
Sunday night’s sold-out Celebrating David Bowie live showcase at Glenside’s Keswick Theatre – an annual event curated and programmed by guitarist-singer Angelo “Scrote” Bundini since before Bowie’ 2016 passing – got just an extra bit of Philadelphia love than it may have in past editions; Philly being the home of some of Bowie’s first Ziggy Stardust shows in 1972, where he recorded David Live at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby in 1974, then jumped into Sigma Sound Studios on North 12th Street to make Young Americans with Sound of Philadelphia percussionist Larry Washington as part of the “plastic soul” sessions.
It’s important to note that the Celebrating David Bowie is, according to its legend, “an expansion of the Interpreting Music Series conceived, created, and produced by Bundini in Los Angeles which organized recording and session players to interpret a back catalogue of an innovative artist – Miles Davis, Annie Lennox, Fela Kuti, Burt Bacharach and Talking Heads” as examples prior to Bowie.
Along with Scrote and a crack band of players that included Spacehog singer and pianist Royston Langdon, the scent of Philly in the air came from more than just the Phillies’ wins and losses in the World Series to date.
There was post-folkie soul man Jeffery Gaines, forever an admitted Bowie acolyte, who sang the hell out of a slow grinding “Win” from that 1975 Young Americans album. Gaines also wailed on the thumping “Blue Jean” from the Tonight album and captured the glam cocky spirit of the 1974 anthem “Rebel Rebel” from Diamond Dogs. Adrian Belew, the night’s chicken choking guitarist who toured twice with Bowie and recorded on the Lodger album, has forever been tied to the Philly area though his longtime and early association with the Paul Green School of Rock and two of its most formidable students, the brother and sister of bassist Julie Slick and drummer Eric Slick from Dr. Dog. The siblings joined Belew, barely of Green’s School of Rock for a power trio that lasted for several minutes and were housed, often at World Café Live.
The biggest Philly booster was striped-haired, one-time Upper Darby native and Bowie contemporary Todd Rundgren who, not only donned a silver space suit in which to sing “Space Oddity,” but also performed a dramatic “Life on Mars,” and part of the night’s closing round robin of “Heroes.”