Watch This Man

Bringing Bowie to The Whale is clearly a labour of love for Playbacks leading man, Justin McCann.

He was the artist who taught everyone that it wasn’t okay to be different, it was amazing…

And back in 1973, after four years of being written off as a one-hit wonder with 1969’s Space Oddity, David Bowie was finally the wizard, the true star that he had always wanted to be.

The breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, and its follow-up 10 months later was written on the road and in the spotlight. And when you listen to Aladdin Sane even today, its raw, nomadic creation burns through, on tracks such as Watch That Man, Time, Drive-In Saturday and, of course, The Jean Genie.

“This is a perfect Bowie offering to play live,” says Justin McCann, head honcho of Playback, who specialise in recreating classic albums on stage.“There was a real sense of a real band just burning through these songs in one or two takes, given that Aladdin Sane was recorded on the road. It gives the music some real raw power, and a sense of urgency, of immediacy, that’s still there.

“It’s an intoxicating album to play. It feels like a 3am party every time…”

We’re at Cafe Grey, the same spot back in October 2019 where we talked about Playback’s take on Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. That album is marking its 40th anniversary just as Aladdin Sane celebrates its 50th.

“There was a time when an album was very much a complete work in itself,” says McCann, “when people knew each and every song, as though it was just one long piece of music. And that’s what we’re out to celebrate. Those albums – such as Rumours, Dark Side Of The Moon, Blonde On Blonde, Aladdin Sane, etc – that need to be heard in full.

“And they need to be heard live, in a room full of people, and turned up all the way to 11…”

You can catch Playback’s Aladdin Sane at The Whale on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of October.



The New Norma
As she prepares for The Whale on March 7th, jazz legend Norma Winstone reve...
Making Contact With The Living
Ahead of his latest Social Fabric live interview on February 29th, we do a ...
Frankie Goes To Greystones
The Swing Cats bring their Kings of Swing tour to Greystones. It’s har...