“The Bowie Prom was well intentioned but was never going to please everybody. Here’s my take on the hits and misses of the night.
‘Warszawa’ from Low was a brave and sombre opener, which set the tone for the evening. Although I felt the orchestra were out of sync a few times during it, perhaps it was just a nervy start to the night?
Neil Hannon was particularly impressive on ‘Station to Station’ and really did it justice, I wished he’d be given a larger part to play throughout the concert.
Marc Almond, clearly a Bowie superfan, sadly didn’t do ‘Life on Mars’ any favours. I think the song is too big and iconic for him to carry successfully. He improved for ‘Starman’, but it made for uncomfortable viewing.
When I heard Laura Mvula was going to be signing ‘Fame’, I thought that was an inspired choice and vocally she was outstanding. It was disappointing that the arrangement was so light on bass, big brass rasps or even organ could’ve worked well.
Paul Buchanan of the Blue Nile’s standout performance was certainly ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ from Blackstar. He brought the right level of gravitas and emotion, while retaining his own unique style. It was pretty special.
Anna Calvi and Amanda Palmer were very strong and powerful in their delivery of the title track from Blackstar, it was so close to the original but was taken to another place and perspective simply by being performed by someone else.
The night lacked upbeat Bowie songs, so it was a relief when John Cale brought it up a level with ‘Sorrow’ and ‘Space Oddity’ as we’d never heard them before. I fear his set started too late though.
In the spirit of avant garde I would’ve liked to have seen something from Outside, quite possibly Bowie’s most avant garde album, would’ve been really exciting to see what an arranger could come up with from that album .