Of all the Holy Holy gigs, this one will stay with me the longest. Because not only is this the last show of the tour…but I got to meet the band.I was lucky enough to go to the garage gig last September and knew then that Holy Holy were amazing. I have been shocked lately to hear them called a tribute act. I strongly dispute this and my reasons are as follows:
1. They have professional musicians – all been involved with other bands and levels of fame in their own right.
2. They do not dress up in red wigs and wear an Aladdin sane stripe on their face.
3. It contains the legendary spider from mars, Woody Woodmansey
4. It also contains Tony Visconti. Bowie producer extraordinaire.
5. And of course Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17, who is a self-confessed Bowie fan.
6. Also featuring a Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet
7. And of course special guests don’t get much more special (for me) than Marc Almond
I think I have won any argument from the haters now.So it was finally my turn to see Holy Holy. Waiting for the last show and seeing everyone’s photos on social media made me even keener to hear it. I had already bought the album that was recorded last year and had played it and played it in anticipation.
Finally the day arrived but things often don’t go to plan and as it was also my son’s college deadline, his college work needed to be completed first. I had hoped to leave for London by 1pm but when I asked him how much longer – he just replied ‘soon’ (That typical teenager response!). It drove me mad! We eventually left at 3pm, got to the hotel and headed off to the pub to grab something to eat.It took me an hour to order some food as suddenly every friend I knew who was going turned up and we all started chatting. This is the part of the gig that most band members don’t see. I cannot tell you what a pleasure it is to talk ‘Bowie’ with other like-minded people. It’s a great family to belong to.
We started queueing an hour before doors opened as I wanted to be right at the front. Priority O2 seems to mean nothing at this venue as they open all the doors at the same time. It was especially frustrating as the doorman couldn’t get his zapper to work. But soon I was in place ready. I stood right at the front and it was not long before we were offered up the first support act.Philip Rambow gave us a lovely start to the show with a selection of songs with his acoustic guitar. He got the crowd going and we were all singing away to his song (even if we didn’t know it well). His easy country style was not what you would expect from a support of a ‘Rock’ band but Phil really did a great job. This was swiftly followed by Jessica Lee Morgan and Morgan Visconti who together gave us another genre. Their father is the legendary Tony Visconti so it makes a lot of sense that they both have ended up in the music industry. And both are very talented in their own right. Morgan has a style that is very electronic and I can see him supporting bands such as ‘New Order’ and ‘Depeche Mode’. I really enjoyed the graphics that complimented the music. Jessica is pretty and can sing. Another big talent. I thought the two of them together make a good pairing but they do tour separately with their own stuff.
Finally what we had all been waiting for. Liz Kershaw from 6 Music came in to introduce the band and said how David Bowie had helped save 6 Music as it was the kind of radio station he would listen to. This got a big roar from the crowd.The first few bars of ‘Width of a circle’ came on and I had shivers down my spine. It had me singing along to every track at the top of my voice. But my 18 year old son was also singing away to every word of every song. I was impressed. If you say to people your son likes Bowie, they may assume its commercial Bowie. ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ album is not the most commercial album and that made me all the prouder. I have done a great job as a mum and have someone to leave my Bowie collection to when I am no longer here. It really was a fantastic night. I cannot put into words how emotional I felt during the performance but there was more than one occasion where there was a tear in my eye. Every musician looked like they were having a blast and so were the audience. The only dampener was the overzealous security who wouldn’t let people film any of the performance. Marc Almond and Steve Norman came on as special guests and gave fantastic performances. Can I pick a favourite performance? It’s very hard as I love them all but I have always loved the Medley of ‘Wide eyed boy from Freecloud/All the young dudes/Oh! You pretty things’. This was done as a duet with Glenn and Marc. They really gave it their all and I totally loved it. Oh how I didn’t want the night to end. So we stayed a bit longer and met the band.
I really didn’t think I would be able to say that anything could be better than the gig at The Garage last September, but this show has topped it. It blew me away and I was back to being a teenage girl singing Bowie in her bedroom. Who doesn’t want a bit of that nostalgia? Holy Holy are not only time lords, but they are giving an opportunity for Bowie songs to be seen live to a whole new generation. My son loved the show as much as I did. And I do need to say a huge thank you to Tom for his generosity at giving my son an album. He was blown away and said 'Mum, this is my first vinyl!'. It's so special and with the whole band wishing him a happy birthday, I don't think he will ever forget it. Just don’t know how I am going to top it for his birthday next year!
Photos can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasminestormie/sets/72157653802976563