Local boy Billy Sloan prefaces tonight with a reflection about his train journey from Glasgow to witness the Thin White Duke perform forty years ago at Wembley. Moments later Earl Slick’s wailing overdriven guitar leaves the audience sweeping goosebumps on to the floor.
Just four months after Bowie’s death you could be forgiven for half-expecting him to appear from the shadows. Slick and Fowler are no slouches. The former adorns black shades with spiky barnet to match while dishing out beguiling riffs and licks. Fowler also has presence to burn, instantly taking command of the vocal. No one is under any illusion about how difficult the task is and the even the big man admits: “I had a rough time with these songs.”
He refers to a “religious” element and you can literally feel the light and dark energies which defined Word On A Wing. The funk-pop-soul of Golden Years and playfulness of TVC 15 offer a lighter touch. Stay is muscular as ever, Fowler assists on bongos to enhance the frantic Latin percussion. We are treated to Diamond Dogs and the rarely performed Win, Steve Norman’s sax summons the same Philly Dogs vitality that graced David Live. The Jean Genie has Glasgow in raptures, Fowler rests his arm on Slick’s shoulder summoning the Bowie/Ronson moment on TOTP. It’s not lost on these Bowie enthusiasts who have gathered as Fowler suggests “to celebrate a life”.