When David Bowie died in January 2016, the world lost one its greatest musical and cultural figures. Bowie’s creative restlessness led to a career of unparalleled change, from the psychedelic Space Oddity, to the driving rock of Suffragette City, the soul of Young Americans, and the anthemic Heroes. Then there’s Let’s Dance, Moonage Daydream, China Girl, Fame, Starman, Ashes to Ashes and the epic Life on Mars.
On Saturday 18 January, Pop-Up Bowie comes to the Kenton Theatre, where the award winning Paul Antony and the band will perform around 30 of Bowie’s best-loved songs.
We caught up with Paul ahead of his visit to the UK’s fourth oldest working theatre.
When did you first become aware of David Bowie?
Like many Bowie fans, I saw him performing Starman on Top of the Pops in 1972. It was like his music was in Technicolour.
Did you ever meet him?
Sadly no. Fortunately we have his songs and his records, so his music will always live on.
What is it that makes Bowie stand out as an artist?
His willingness to experiment with different genres. He was consistently a great songwriter and never did the obvious.
What is your favourite Bowie song – to listen to and to perform?
I always feel better after listening to Sound and Vision, while I love singing China Girl. Vocally it’s both delicate and powerful, while the pop melody conceals a strong message.
You bear an extraordinary likeness to Bowie, especially on stage. Was this the motivation for starting Pop-Up Bowie?
I’ve always performed Bowie’s songs. The first one I learned to play on guitar was Jean Genie. Pop-Up Bowie evolved over the years.
What can the audience expect from a Pop-Up Bowie show?
A Pop-Up Bowie gig is primarily a celebration of the music. Bowie fans are loyal, knowledgeable, and incredibly passionate. They cut across age barriers and it’s fascinating to see which era people respond to. For some it’s Ziggy, while others love Aladdin Sane, the so-called Berlin Trilogy albums, or the eighties period.
Is this your first visit to Henley?
We’ve played in Maidenhead and Basingstoke, but this is our first time in Henley. There are Bowie fans all over the country and we’ve done shows from Exeter to Cleethorpes, Pembroke to Great Yarmouth. The Kenton Theatre is a new one for us and I gather it has been active as a theatre for over 200 years. One of the perks of doing the show is playing in venues with interesting histories.