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Bowie By Any Other Name

David Brighton tries to keep pace with a shapeshifter



The paradox about being a David Bowie impersonator is that David Bowie himself is an elusive entity, constantly staying one step ahead of trends and transforming faster than the blink of an eye, famously killing off personalities like Ziggy Stardust only to pop up as another completely different incarnation. It is tough to mimic that shape shifting.

Moreover, the challenge is to match the versatility of Bowie's style and voice and showmanship; the anger in "Panic in Detroit," the dreaminess in "Major Tom," the imploring of "China Girl," the grandioseness of the Spiders from Mars tour.

But for David Brighton, whose initials are not the only element to line up with David Bowie, the trouble has never been being like David Bowie. In fact, before he had his start as an impersonator, the trouble was being too much like David Bowie.

"I played lead guitar and sang in a number of recording acts," explains Brighton. "When I had my own record deal, one of the things I kept hearing from the label people is that I sounded too much like David Bowie when I sang, even when I tried not to."

The idea to set up a David Bowie tribute show came to Brighton at a time when he was touring as George Harrison in a number of Beatlemania-style shows. While in Las Vegas (not surprisingly), he came across a "Legends in Concert" show, which highlights musicians like Elvis and Michael Jackson. Brighgton decided to start his own tribute band, and gathered a group of talented musicians, some who had recorded and toured with the likes of Eddie Money, America, and Foreigner—and, since then, has become the foremost David Bowie impersonator.

"To try to be as similar as humanly possible to someone who tries to be as different as possible than other artists is a bit funny when you think about it," admits Brighton.

Each show is unique, says Brighton, and includes several costume changes, as he draws from various eras of Bowie's varied career.

"[Bowie]'s done so many styles, invented so many genres of music, and created so many different personas and images," explains Brighton, "so it's as if you were recreating many artists' work."

Space Oddity: David Brighton's Tribute to David Bowie

8 pm, Saturday, June 13

Tower Theatre 835 NW Wall St.


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