Review: ‘Holy Holy’ at The Birchmere

The best way to celebrate artist David Bowie’s life is to attend a Holy Holy concert. Even David Bowie would have approved. The show played The Man Who Sold the World album with the drumhead featuring Bowie’s makeup-covered eye.

Holy Holy at The Birchmere. Photo courtesy of The Birchmere's facebook page.
Holy Holy at The Birchmere. Photo courtesy of The Birchmere’s Facebook page.

Holy, Holy features Bowie’s band mates, personal friends and musicians touched by him. Mick “Woody” Woodmansey, the drummer and only living member from Spider from Mars – kicked it on the drums. Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s long-time producer, and close friend, played bass. Glenn Gregory, of Heaven 17, who also sang on Bob Geldof’s “Feed the World,” fronted the band. Paul Cuddeford, who plays with Bob Geldof, was on guitar. James Stevenson previously of Gene Loves Jezebel, The Cult, and Generation X also rocked it on guitar. Terry Edwards played sax, guitar, and rhythm. Jazz artist Berenice Scott played the keys in a black cowboy hat, and Visconti’s sweet and talented daughter Jessica Lee Morgan belted backing vocals.

Jessica Lee Morgan at The Birchmere. Photo courtesy of The Birchmere's website.
Jessica Lee Morgan at The Birchmere. Photo courtesy of The Birchmere’s Facebook page.

Visconti started off the show sharing, “We thought about canceling the tour, but thought this would be a great way to honor David Bowie as music heals. I still can’t believe he is gone.” Visconti looked up and raised a kiss to Bowie.

Only a small group of people knew of David Bowie’s illness and Visconti honored Bowie’s secret. He worked with Bowie on his last album Black Star. Visconti is like the former MPAA head Jack Valenti, he seems to be part of history everywhere he goes. He was even married to John Lennon’s former girlfriend May Pang. He has produced the work of so many great artists like T. Rex, Moody Blues, Paul McCartney, and The Dandy Warhols.

The Birchmere is a sitdown concert venue, but after almost every song the crowd stood to its feet and cheered. The audience was most appreciative.  Fans sang along to songs like “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Life on Mars.” The emotionally charged show caused Gregory to express several times how hard it was to sing them  Gregory eerily sounded like the late Bowie and his stage presence charged up the crowd along with the expert playing by the whole band. Woody played so hard that his glasses flew off and a stage-hand searched for them with a flashlight which added levity to the most enjoyable show. Visconti and Woody thanked the crowd for attending and helping them heal.

On the last song, “Suffragette City” everyone was on their feet. What a fitting tribute to a man who influenced so many with his musical genius.  Thank you David Bowie!

Running Time: Two hours with no intermission.

Holy Holy performed for one night only on January 14, 2016 at The Birchmere – 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue, in Alexandria, VA. For tickets for future Birchmere events, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000, or purchase them online.

Previous articleReview: ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ at Castaways Repertory Theatre
Next articleReview: ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ at The Rude Mechanicals
Marlene Hall
Marlene Hall grew up an army brat and has lived all over the world and in Washington, DC where she was constantly exposed to theater and music. Marlene graduated from the University of Virginia where she wrote for the Cavalier Daily interviewing musicians. Commissioned as an Air Force officer, she served 8 years. She now works as a realtor with eXp Realty. In addition, Marlene dabbles in improvisational comedy and has taken classes at the famed iO Theater in Chicago and the DC Improv. She is very active in the DC charity and social scene and contributes her time to veterans’ organizations Team Rubicon and Team Red, White, and Blue. She also was a supernumerary in the Washington National Opera’s Carmen with opera singer Denyce Graves. She loves the music and theater scene in DC and goes to as many concerts and shows as possible.