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Review: David Bowie Experience, New Theatre, Cardiff

It’s hard to believe it has been more than seven years since the legendary David Bowie left us. In that horrible year of 2016 we lost so many of our iconic heroes.

But his music more than lives on in the electric, spectacular ‘Bowie Experience’ which came to town (minus the Goon Squad) at the New Theatre, Cardiff, on Friday.

The full-house was taken through the constantly-changing career of Bowie, with a pulsating two and a half hour set of all of his greatest hits.

It was a case of ‘they haven’t sung that one’ and sure enough, it was just around the corner.

Oliver Slee WAS Bowie performing as the full range of the Bowie alter egos – Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Halloween Jack, and the Thin White Duke to name a few!

And through these personas we were entertained to arguably all of Bowie’s iconic hits in a fast-paced, high energy performance.

The show started with Space Oddity and the band quickly went through the gears with Changes, Life on Mars, John, I’m Only Dancing, Sorrow, and Sound and Vision.

There was a real energy to Boys Keep Swinging, Suffragette City, Diamond Dogs, Rebel Rebel and The Jene Genie, and the audience were excellent on backing vocals.

Bowie’s later years followed with Fashion, Ashes to Ashes, and two from his most successful mainstream dance album Let’s Dance – China Girl and of course the title track itself, Let’s Dance.

Well, they were dancing in the aisles, the stalls, the circle and the upper circle by this point!

Slee was joined by vocalist Charlotte-Elizabeth Leighton in an incredible performance of Under Pressure, Bowie’s No 1 collaboration with Queen from 1981. She has some voice!

Slee was brilliantly supported by a cast of Tim Wedlake on lead guitar who was also musical director; Darren Jones on guitar; Lidia Cascarino Close on bass; Paul Gill on drums; Martyn Cooper on keys, the aforementioned Leighton on vocals and percussion; and Jemma Love on vocals and saxophone.

The costume changes, while slick, often allowed for some fantastic solos from Wedlake and Jones, and credit must go to dresser Karen Smith, and costume artist Elizabeth Cooke. The outfits were absolutely spot on.

The show concluded with a superb version of Heroes, an encore of All The Young Dudes, and the crowd demanding more.

Changes? None at all.