I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I read an ad in a newspaper for a David Bowie impersonator. He was described as having the looks, the moves and the sound of the late rock icon.
I saw the real David Bowie at a rock festival in the California desert a number of years ago. The temperature had crested over one hundred degrees that day, the water taps were on the fritz and the first aid tents were full of sun-burned folks in various states of distress. To put it mildly, the crowd was in a raucous, ugly mood. And yet when Mr. Bowie entered the stage, looking elegant as always in a suit and tie and began to perform “Cracked Actor” with his usual theatrical flair, a reverent hush fell over the unruly crowd.
So while impersonators may have the look, the moves and the sound of David Bowie, they will never capture his charisma. The feeling that one is in the presence of genuine and highly respected rock royalty.
And while I am on the subject how come most of the performers mimicked are white? Oh sure, there is one Tina Turner impersonator that I know of (and Ms. Turner is one of the few performers being copied who is still alive) and a friend tells me there is a Prince impersonator in eastern Canada (good luck with that) but to date I haven’t heard of any touring Tupac acts (although that may change with the upcoming biopic All Eyes on Me) or Notorious B.I.G. imitators.
Maybe I don’t get out much but all I seem to hear about is Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond (!) impersonators , touring Abba tributes and Creedence, Pink Floyd and The Band soundalikes. I suppose this fills the need for people who, for various reasons, were/are unable to see The Real Deal.
But for me, at least, there is no substitute for the genuine original artist/group.