At the 02 Isling­ton, Bowie’s long-stand­ing gui­tarist Earl Slick and his assem­bled cast of musi­cians per­formed their fourth night of what so far has been a huge­ly suc­cess­ful run of his mini tour of Sta­tion to Station.

The band includ­ed Steve Nor­man from Span­dau Bal­let on gui­tar, sax­o­phone and per­cus­sion (I saw Steve with Holy Holy in 2014). Also on gui­tar was Luis Cor­reia, who used to play with the Absolute Bowie trib­ute act, plus Lisa Ron­son on back­ing vocals and Earl Slick­’s son on drums. The con­certs were organ­ised before Bowie passed away, and his death gave the per­for­mance a cer­tain poignan­cy – but as Bernard Fowler said, we are here to cel­e­brate a life, not mourn.

Bernard Fowler sings on stage

Sta­tion to Sta­tion began with that famil­iar build up, the steam train rum­ble lead­ing into Earl Slick­’s cor­us­cat­ing gui­tar and that thrilling and famil­iar riff.  There was a long, heavy intro till Bernard Fowler came on stage, and I did for a few sec­onds won­der how he would build on this, but from the Thin White Duke intro, it seemed that he was a nat­ur­al fit. Fowler’s skill lay in his abil­i­ty to inter­pret the mate­r­i­al in his own way with­out com­plete­ly los­ing Bowie’s spir­it, he also man­aged to – just about – blend in with the oth­er stage per­form­ers, although with his mag­net­ic per­son­al­i­ty and strong stage pres­ence this was­n’t an easy feat.

Wild is the Wind was par­tic­u­lar­ly dra­mat­ic, Fowler start­ing with low key vocals in order to build the song effec­tive­ly. After StoS the band launched into Dia­mond Dogs and a bluesy Jean Genie, after which fol­lowed a selec­tion of num­bers from Fowler’s lat­est album. We knew that Heroes would con­clude the set and it was indeed a pow­er­ful ver­sion, with Earl Slick giv­ing it his all. A tru­ly won­der­ful night in which Earl Slick­’s band of sea­soned musi­cians com­mu­ni­cat­ed their love for Bowie and respect for his music, and it was a plea­sure to hear this often-time over­looked album


Isling­ton 02

April 29 2016




One thought on “Review: Earl Slick Station to Station

  1. A spe­cial evening indeed and just a small sam­ple of Earl Slick­’s 40 year con­tri­bu­tion to DB’s music in the stu­dio and on the road. Nice review, but no men­tion here of Stay licks, the heav­en­ly Word On A Wing or the spe­cial appear­ance of David’s old­est friend and back­up singing col­lab­o­ra­tor Geoff Mac­Cor­ma­ck (War­ren Peace) and daugh­ter for Gold­en Years. How about the sur­prise num­bers, a soul­ful Win that remind­ed us through Fowler’s light­ness of touch to revis­it Young Amer­i­cans album and a heart­felt nod to Ear­l’s work on The Next Day, in the per­fect ren­di­tion of Valen­tine’s Day? Bernard Fowler’s incred­i­ble vocal range and emo­tion­al depth show­cased why the Stones have insist­ed on his pres­ence since the 1980’s. And the oth­er songs played, they were a nod to Ear­l’s more recent work with leg­endary blues and Bud­dy Guy.

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