Review: ‘BSO: The Music of David Bowie’ at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) honored the remarkable career and personality of glam rock icon David Bowie with a spectacular tribute production: The Music of David Bowie, featuring the late musician’s most celebrated catalog of compositions.

Set behind a fully-whetted rock band and vocalist Tony Vincent (who has appeared on Broadway’s RentAmerican IdiotJesus Christ Superstar, and TV’s The Voice), renown music arranger/conductor Brent Havens led the instrumental talents with his own scores and curation of Bowie’s greatest hits, delightfully merging his rock idiom with a full orchestra to present a cutting-edge blend of musical palates.

Havens, who also has experience working in feature film and television, as well as rock-inspired symphonic shows, coordinated with the BSO to develop a captivating, universally-engaging set list, including classic crowd-pleasers like “China Girl,” “Under Pressure,” “Heroes,” “Let’s Dance,” “Young Americans,” “Golden Years” (guest conducted by a Facebook contest-winning fan) and “Changes,” not only to convey Bowie’s vibrant vision and adventurous persona but to highlight his brilliant genre-diversity, spanning from “Space Oddity” to “Blackstar” – the “parting gift” he gave his fans in January.

Hitting the ground running, Vincent amazed the intergenerational audience with his extraordinary energy and electric magnetism throughout the two-hour production, opening with the enduring “Rebel Rebel” and capping with “Fame”, each song strikingly underscored with sumptuous string orchestration, intermittently rallying the crowd to clap, sing along and rise up.

“You’re awesome!” roared an enthusiastic attendee.

“Thanks, man!”  Vincent gratefully responded back.

“Keep it going!”  another animated audience member shouted out.

By the show’s end, spectators became participants, some even gathering near the stage and aisles throughout, cheering, dancing and hailing while Vincent joined the band by playing the drums – it felt as though an unconventionally, avant-garde rock concert randomly came to life at the Meyerhoff.

Bowie would be proud.

Running Time:  Approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

BSO:  The Music of David Bowie performed for one night only on Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 8 pm at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall – 1212 Cathedral Street, in Baltimore, MD. For more info go to their website.

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