Theatre Review: The Bowie Experience


By Jasmine Snow

David Bowie may no longer be with us, but his legacy lives on through the Bowie Experience, a breathtaking concert featuring all of Bowie’s greatest hits from Space Oddity to Black Star. Laurence Knight’s tribute act started back in 1997 at the end of his college music course. Today he is touring the entirety of the UK, performing with intricate attention to detail, making it an absolute must see for all Bowie fans.

The Bowie Experience opened with Bowie’s familiar sound of sharp lead guitars, played by Tim Wedlake and Darren Jones, alongside playful piano, performed by James Stead, set the tone for the rest of the night. Knight’s ability to so faultlessly replicate the charisma of the late legend – all the way down to his very distinctive dance moves – showed his personal adoration for Bowie. The same could be said for Knight’s band who seemed able to retell every instrumental as an exact pastiche of it is original with Charlotte-Elizabeth Talbot and Emily Westwood stepping in on backup vocals to support Knight throughout some of Bowie’s more moving vocal harmonies and belting choruses.

Bowie’s ability to recreate himself had a seismic impact on popular culture, influencing how people looked, dressed and behaved. This was not lost on the costumier Amy Knight, who recreated some very distinct stages in Bowie’s career, such as the pale skin, shocking red hair and otherworldliness of Ziggy Stardust. As well as the crisp white shirt, black suit and slicked-back blond hair of the Thin White Duke. Not forgetting the colourful, flamboyant and avant-garde styles of the New Romantic Pierrot, and if that was not enough, each song was illustrated by a beautiful graphic. The most notable being a series of exploding objects such as plain flour, apples and a blender to accompany the song ‘Under Pressure’.

The Bowie Experience is above all, a night of fun, dancing, and nostalgia. Throughout the concert, if you managed to tear your eyes away from the stage you would see, a few drinks, some 80’s dance moves and a lot of happy faces. Towards the latter stages of his performance, Knight repeated Bowie’s famous words ‘Let’s Dance’, where people rose from their seats and lead their loved ones to the front to dance until ‘Heroes’ concluded the night.

Bowie himself always wore his influences on his sleeve, with references to Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground in his own work. It takes a special type of person to get on stage and play tribute to an artist by performing their songs. Not to mention when it is one of the greatest pop icons in the world, but, Knight did so with an incredible amount of faith and passion that was a testimony in every way to the sound and vision of David Bowie.