Live on Mars: Bowie Tribute

Published on June 11th, 2019

“But her friend is nowhere to be seen/Now she walks through her sunken dream…” It’s been three years since David Bowie passed away at 69 from liver cancer and almost 50 years since the album “Hunky Dory” was released. Who would’ve thought half a century ago that the simple, but exquisitely surreal song “Life on Mars?” could endure as a classic?

Harder to believe, still, is that David Bowie could die. Someone who could reinvent himself with such ease, influencing and adapting to the times, had to be immortal — or at least not vulnerable to something as unfortunately commonplace as cancer. Bowie deserved better, yet he’s nowhere to be seen and his fans have been left to wander.

The producers of Brit Floyd and Rumours of Fleetwood Mac filled the void in 2017 with a stage production celebrating the pop music idol’s music as well as his artistry, showmanship and style, Live on Mars — A Tribute to David Bowie. Mining a deep catalogue of music and visual resources, they found the perfect vessel in singer Alex Thomas.

Pabst / Riverside / Turner Hall

A lifelong Bowie fan, his natural likeness and the versatility of his British-accented baritone allows him to deftly navigate the different eras and alter egos the late musician embodied. If the producers outfitted him with a contact lens to mimic Bowie’s anisocoria, well, maybe that would be too much.

Rounded out by world class musicians, dancers, performers and audio/visual manipulations, this is more than nostalgia as they cover tracks like “The Jean Genie,” “Heroes,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “All the Young Dudes,” “Changes,” “Modern Love,” “Young Americans,” and more. These are the obvious choices but beyond their popularity, concertgoers have praised the reverence of how they are performed — the key factor that elevates this show above other tributes.

David Bowie’s place in music will never be re-occupied. His place in the hearts of his fans won’t, either, for that bond is indescribable. Like the song? Why do its nonsense lyrics sound so fresh today, like they were ripped from the headlines and written in a cheeky kind of code? Maybe there is life on Mars after all.

Live on Mars – A Tribute to David Bowie performs 8pm June 13 at the Fillmore Miami Beach.  ~ Abel Folgar

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