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Celebration of Bowie at the Roxy

Celebration of Bowie
By Russ Allsup

The Celebration of David Bowie show at the Roxy in Hollywood
on Feb. 8th was a magical night. Over seventy musicians came together and over the course of the evening played a staggering forty Bowie songs over a four-hour period.
This was the first official Los Angeles celebration of David
Bowie’s life since he unexpectedly passed away on Jan. 10th of this year. On my way up to the Roxy, I ran into actor Gary Oldman, who was running around tying up loose ends before the show started. After that I ran into Seal, who wasn’t listed as a performer for the show but I was thinking maybe he would be a last minute addition to the show, so I knew the night would be special and hopefully full of surprises.

I entered the Roxy and got a spot right in front of the stage on the middle left side. The show ended up covering all phases of a career of a performer who had more personas than any other artist that I can think of. Most of the audience were still in shock from losing an entertainer of Bowie’s magnitude. His influence has been felt starting in the early seventies up through now- five decades- and will be felt for a long time. This event was not about mourning and sadness, but a celebration devoted solely to the music of David Bowie.

I could go into a long winded statement about the times I’ve seen him perform live, my favorite songs of his, or his influence on culture and music, but I won’t bore you with that here. The evening was just a joy to be part of and yes there were treats for the audience. Gary Oldman came out several times during the evening to sing, including singing the Classic ‘Five Years’. Ewan McGregor came out to sing and electrifying version of ‘Heroes’. One of the highlights in an evening full of them was when Bowie’s longtime band mate and keyboard player, Mike Garson came onstage and said a few words about his friend, at one point his voice cracking with emotion. It was from the heart and you could have heard a pin drop. After that, he sat down at the keyboard and played the intro to a song he hadn’t played in over twenty years- ‘Aladdin Sane’. Then Seal joined him and they played the Bowie tune ‘Bring Me The Disco King’.

There were a few more songs after that, and everyone in the place knew they had been part of something very special. Best of all, the event raised $10,000 for the Max’s Kansas City Project, a non profit organization devoted to helping displaced individuals in the creative and performing arts for housing, medical and legal aid. They also help teens through the arts with a focus on substance abuse and suicide prevention.
The personal highlight for me was when Fishbone singer Angelo Moore performed a devastating version of ‘Moonage Daydream’ that just floored me. Personally, I’m still totally in shock from this particular loss. This one hit me hard, and I don’t feel like I’ll ever fully come to grips with it, but it’s a part of life and you have to go on. But thank God we’ll always have the music. In a way, because of his songs, he’ll live forever. Rest in Peace Ziggy. You changed my life as you did with so many others and left the world a better place. The event was considered a big success, and $10,000 was raised for the Max’s Kansas City Project, which provides emergency resources to financially distressed individuals in the creative and performing arts for housing, medical and legal aid


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