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STARDUST STADIUM

Stardust: The Music of David Bowie, photo by Karen Lowe
Stardust: The Music of David Bowie, photo by Karen Lowe

STARDUST: THE MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE
PERTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA WITH ELISE CHONG (CONDUCTOR), ADDISON AXE (VOCALS) AND STEVE HENSBY (VOCALS)
HBF STADIUM
THURSDAY 17 SEPTEMBER

Tickets from Ticketmaster

Have you been out yet since us lucky folk in Western Australia were allowed to gather in groups of more than two again?  Yes, you.  The one just about to watch that repeat of Eight Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, or put your slippered feet up in front of an episode of Wheeler Dealers.  I’m talking to you.  Did you know that live music is back in Perth and that, this Thursday, you have the chance to witness the biggest of big events anywhere in the world right now?

And you thought just the idea of going out again was scary.  Hah!  Step out of that dressing gown, put on your best glam rock duds and get thee to the stadium.

Interested?  You should be.

Perth Symphony Orchestra are doing the music of David Bowie, this Thursday 17 September at HBF stadium and it’s going to be the best night out you’ve had, like ever.

Yes, that’s right, in a stadium.  Stadium rock is back in Perth!  Bowie is back!  Rock lives!

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Put down the remote control and come and join us.  Get yourself a ticket right here, right now.

Now, for those of you who need more convincing, Around The Sound sat down with two of the stars of the show, Addison Axe and Steve Hensby to talk to them about all things Bowie and Perth Symphony Orchestra.

You may remember Axe from the Highway To Hell event when bands of all persuasions played on the back of trucks up and down Canning Highway in March this year, just before we all went home for the duration.  She’s the blonde haired dynamo who made you wonder what you’d been missing staying home all this time.

Hensby also is blonde, so they’re kind of a matching pair.  When he’s not belting out Bowie songs, he’s often out there performing with a circus, or the biggest of big bands, so, for him fronting an actual orchestra is no biggie.

Having been on the shelf for the last six months, these rockers are raring to go.  “I’m terrified, excited, curious,” said Axe when asked how she was feeling about the upcoming stadium date.  “It will be in some respects the biggest show of my career, both on paper and emotionally.

“Stardust was due to be at the Astor theatre, a venue I’ve sung at many times over the years. Of course I leapt at the opportunity – I’ve never sung with an orchestra… let alone one as exciting as PSO! But aside from the orchestra, I was in my element – no big deal.  A global pandemic later and things are very different. I’ve not performed or sung live since March. Many of us musicians have wrestled with our identities over the period of lockdown where we’ve found ourselves somewhat useless. Some of us have found other creative outlets, some have struggled with our mental health, some of us are not quite sure we’re the same person coming out as we were going in. So returning to the stage is, well big, and scary, and our cosy Astor has been replaced with a stadium!”

And you thought just the idea of going out again was scary.  Hah!  Step out of that dressing gown, put on your best glam rock duds and get thee to the stadium.

On the prospect of performing with Axe and PSO, Hensby said, “I have done a couple of PSO shows before and they were a blast, they are a well-oiled machine!  Also performing with Addison is a real treat, I’ve been on the same bill as Axe Girl and The Tommyhawks a few times but it’s great to share the stage with her. She has a great voice and brings a lot of energy to the show! It’s has also been great meeting and working with Elise Chong. The first time I met her she was in full makeup with the Bowie stripe across her face.  It’s a great way to greet an amazing conductor! This show is going to be quite special.”

Elise Chong, PSO Conductor (Photo by Karen Lowe)

On the topic of dressing up, you’ll not be out of place in your sequins and makeup.  As well as a conductor in full Bowie regalia, Axe, Hensby and the musicians have all dug deep into their fancy-dress boxes.

“On our second last UK tour I scored an amazing suit for next to nothing in a London sale,” Hensby told us, “so I get to bust that out! It’s also nice to bring a bit of the theatre to the stage and stay true to Bowie’s live act. I’m always up for ‘attempting’ to look sharp at a show — that’s up for interpretation — but we are definitely going all out and over the top for this one.”

“This is Bowie!” said Axe. “The visual is almost as important as the music. Something that I really relate to as an artist. It would be a sin not to honour that. To me the visual element is about expressing the fashion, hair and makeup.”

Cracked Actors (Photo by Karen Lowe)

OK, so if you’re not sold yet, you must be nearly dead.  Hand me the defibrillator!  Clear!  BZZZZTTTZZTZ!!  OK, that should bring you back in time for the show.

“But it’s not just about dressing up for the artists,” Axe continued.  “More than that it’s about embodying the songs, without being fake or naff. Finding your own truth in someone else’s songs is hard, but that’s what I’ve been working on most.”

You’ll definitely recognise whose songs you’re hearing on Thursday night, with PSO, Axe and Hensby you’re in safe hands.  But they’ll also take you on a flight of musical fancy Bowie himself will be smiling down upon from that great gig in the sky (yes, we know, a Pink Floyd reference, but we thought it relevant here).

“Some of the arrangements are quite true and some are reimagined,” Hensby told us. “PSO have done such a great job with the orchestral arrangements and has been quite delicate in what stays true to the original and what has changed. Some of the material has turned somewhat musical theatre, which Bowie obviously would have loved! It’s also nice having some of the arrangements stripped back for a more intimate performance.”

Axe’s take on this?  “It really varies from song to song. Some are really quite close, and others take on a whole new identity. I think the audience will be mesmerised by how epic some of the arrangements are, and relieved that they’ll still be able to sing along to every word if they want to!”

Told you you were in safe hands, people. 

More than safe hands.  You’re not going to see a show better than this one this side of the next global pandemic.  It is truly epic and, if you don’t come, you won’t be able to talk about it around the water cooler on Friday while you wonder how that glitter got all over your hands, in your ears, up your nose…  For a stadium show, it will be very intimate 😉

One last thing.  We tried to get Axe and Hensby to give us the scoop on the set list.  They didn’t give much away, but one of them, we won’t say which one, because they might get in trouble with the conductor, did let slip that they would be doing THAT duet.  No, not the one with Jagger!  The other one that Bowie did with Freddie Mercury and Queen.

I have goosebumps right now just thinking about it.  No pressure, but I can’t wait!

Just don’t miss this show.  Get your tickets right now and we’ll see you there.

The folk who fell to Earth (Photo by Karen Lowe)

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