My Last Gig Before Lockdown - Holy Holy at The Roundhouse - 11th March 2020
I love going to gigs. The noise. The thrill that kicks in as the lights go down. The expectation - will they be any good? Will they be crap? One always hopes for the former, obvs, though there is a perverse pleasure in seeing a really spectacularly crap gig. Some you go to to discover something new. Some you go to to sing along to the old and familiar
This gig was firmly in the latter category. To give them their full title, this was a show by Woody Woodmansey's Holy Holy - a Bowie tribute night, featuring the aforenamed drummer from the Spiders from Mars, along with Tony Visconti, bass player in The Hype (Bowie's short-lived 1970 band). Visconti went on to produce Bowie on and off for over 40 years. What a dude (though to be fair, probably not a "young" one these days).
The gig was a celebration of another gig - The Hype had played The Roundhouse in March 1970 on the bill at The Atomic Sunrise Festival (festivals these days are really poorly named - that sounds awesome!). Visconti and another Spider from Mars, Mick Ronson, were part of The Hype along with Bowie and this show is considered the birth of "glam rock". Bolan was there taking notes - clearly he was a great note taker....
Obviously, Bowie and Ronson are sadly gone, entertaining a greedy deity in the next life with acoustic versions of Starman and Lady Stardust (well, what's the point in being God if you can't have the odd command performance?). So Glenn Gregory steps into quite enormous shoes and takes vocals. He is superb, doesn't try and over Bowie it, which could have turned a bit "Stella Street". Is it wrong though I kept hoping they'd play Heaven 17's Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry? Probably.
The gig is sold out, though there are clearly some understandably nervous no-shows - we all sort of know what's coming; that this may be our last chance to see a band (indeed it is so my friends are here in force).
The lights go down and they launch into the whole of The Man Who Sold The World album. Admittedly not my favourite Bowie album, I only checked it out after hearing Nirvana's cover of the title track and it's over 25 years since I have heard the whole thing. But it's good, really good. And for a man in his 70s, Woody drums like a madman (though I am sure his false teeth flew out of his mouth at one point, he was hitting the drums so hard).
Though it's Woody's band, Visconti is clearly in charge, and the band are tight. I vow to play the album again properly when I get home (job done, it's still good).
But then we really get to the good stuff. Songs from Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Diamond Dogs, Space Oddity....and even Where Are We Now? from The Next Day. It's wonderful, though Five Years takes on new meaning as the pandemic outside is starting to take hold.
And then that's it, what turns out to be my last gig for well over a year. It's great, I've sung along, drunk beer, resisted the merchandise stand (well done JO'B!). We file out....all the fat skinny people, all the tall short people, all the nobody people and all the somebody people. And we know...we know...we know...