I never got round to seeing David Bowie live and of course I never will now, so the opportunity to see a highly-rated tribute act on my doorstep was not to be missed. The sound at the Harpenden Halls has been pretty ropey in the past, but from the first notes it was clear that this band had their own PA and had made an effort to get the sound right. The show consisted of two sets, with the first one comprising of songs from his great period in the early seventies – Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. The costumes and sound was pretty much spot on. The band were note perfect and classic after classic followed. I was expecting them to finish this set with ‘Rock’n’Roll Suicide’. Surely the perfect song to end the set.
After the intermission they started the second set with ‘The Thin White Duke’ and a few further costume changes. After moving on to the eighties they seemd to finish quite abruptly, playing nothing after about 1986. Not a single one of his later songs. The real problems started with the encores though. ‘Rebel Rebel’ was a crowd pleasing sing-a-long, fair enough. But then they literally murdered one of the greatest songs of all time, ‘Heroes’. The vocalist ad-libbed (badly), the guitar sound was all wrong and it was a shocking mess, to be quite frank. Really should have played it in the middle of the second set and kept it tight. Maybe ‘The Jean genie’ would have been a better encore choice. So overall an excellent first set, going downhill from there. My advice guys is to play all of Ziggy Stardust as a first set, then play a mixture of classics in the second.
Harpenden Halls is settling in to becoming one of the best venues for live bands locally. They had a second bar open and the staff seemed to be very enthusiastic. Long may it continue!