A live music celebration of the late David Bowie on Saturday night will have deep meaning to the musicians involved. Months in the making, Starman: An Evening of David Bowie Songs, took on more significance, says organizer Sam Hurrie, when those performing in the show learned of the music icon’s death on January 10 at the age of 69.
“We’re still in shock about it, and the irony of it hasn’t escaped any of us. It’s added a whole new level of intensity to the show,” says Hurrie. “There was a big emotional shift with everybody in the show when he died. Just the fact that he’s so iconic, and you didn’t truly realize it until after he died.”
The multi-performer live music event was the idea of Vancouver Island MusicFest producer Doug Cox, who approached Hurrie, a longtime blues musician, about co-producing a large-theatre-style tribute to Bowie.
Featuring Hurrie and Cox, along with Juno Award winner Helen Austin, Shaun Verrault of Wide Mouth Mason, Linda McRae, Robin Layne and Rick May, the show will run through Bowie’s more than five-decade career.
“We’ve been rehearsing our faces off for months to get the songs down,” says Hurrie.
Each performer picked a few Bowie songs each. The group of musicians will be performing in Campbell River Friday, then in Powell River the night after. The hope is the show will eventually tour Canada, says Hurrie.
“I’m sure the big fans of Bowie will say that we should have done certain songs, but I think they will get a very fair representation of his catalog,” he says.
The musicians in the show have been inspired and pushed to the limits by Bowies’ material, says Hurrie, including some recently added songs from Blackstar, an album released mere days after Bowie’s death.
“It’s been very intense. Bowie’s music is very complex, challenging music,” says Hurrie, “and it’s fair to say it’s been challenging for all of us. It’s good to work outside your comfort zone now and then.”
Starman: An Evening of David Bowie Songs
When: 7 pm, Saturday, February 6
Where: Evergreen Theatre at Powell River Recreation Complex