This week hundreds of music lovers in Aylesbury experienced a very special evening which had more than a nod to our town’s musical history.
The last surviving Spider From Mars Woody Woodmansey brought his band Holy Holy to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Monday - to play he album which he first premiered with David Bowie at our town’s Friars club in 1972 - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
And as if that couldn’t be more poignant, Woodmansey’s band Holy Holy featured none other than Tony Visconti, the Grammy Award-winning music producer who worked directly with Bowie on no-less than 12 of his classic albums, including his final record Blackstar, released just days before his death in January last year.
It is clear as we stand in the packed auditorium that the significance of these ‘stars coming out tonight’ is not lost on the crowd either. And as the opening chords of the seminal Five Years - which references our town strike up together with images on the big screen of Bowie’s Ziggy performance it is clear that we are all privy to something rather special.
After playing Ziggy in its entirety the band - which also includes Heaven 17 vocalist Glen Gregory, Alarm and Cult guitarist James Stevenson and Heaven 17’s Berenice Scott on keyboards - treats us to tracks from The Man Who Sold The World, as well as hits including Heroes and final track of the night Changes.
Ian Hunter’s guitarist Paul Cudderford treats us to some extra special lead sections, while supporting artist Jessica Lee Morgan joins the band for vocals, rhythm guitar and saxophone parts.
And then as the show closed it was the turn of Friars promoter David Stopps to take to the stage to present the band, and Woody and Tony separately with Friars Hero awards which clearly moved the great musicians.
Said Woody Woodmansey as the show concluded: “This was where it all started, and it set us up for the rest of the shows.
“It’s great to be back in Aylesbury.”
David Bowie launched both his Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust albums in Aylesbury in the 1970s, and championed the town as a first touring stop for the likes of Blondie, The Ramones, Iggy Pop and Modern Lovers.
More than £100,000 has been raised for the world’s first David Bowie sculpture by Andrew Sinclair which will be housed under the Market Square arches later this year.