Top Bowie impersonator David Brighton keeps the Thin White Duke's music alive
David Bowie is not dead. He's alive and well, and he'll be inhabiting the body of David Brighton on the Bayou Theater stage at University of Houston-Clear Lake on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The show, “Space Oddity: The Ultimate David Bowie Experience” is proof that no truly iconic musician, not even one like David Bowie, can really die.
Brighton said his career as a David Bowie impersonator was born partly from necessity, and partly from natural similarities.
“I was a career guitar player and played as a side man for many big-name acts or in groups, but as we know in the arts, sometimes it’s feast or famine,” he said. “In a slow time, I performed with friends of mine at an event doing a Beatles parody wearing ridiculous wigs and performed as George Harrison and the place went insane. I heard about people who did this for a living, and found myself playing George in a spinoff version of ‘Beatlemania’ and toured the world.”
While playing George Harrison, Brighton said he learned more about the world of impersonation and found it was consistent work. “There’s always an enormous demand for Beatles work, and I did that on the side. It grew bigger and bigger.”
Brighton said he considered doing a David Bowie tribute show, since some record companies he’d worked with had actually complained that he “sounded too much like Bowie.”
“So, between Beatles tribute tours, I started doing David Bowie tributes,” he said. “I knew some great musicians in Los Angeles and over a number of years, we create this show. It was a labor of love, but it was also consistent work. We found an audience and it’s been an amazing adventure.”
But not every impersonator gets to meet their idol in person. “David Bowie’s people had taken notice of me,” he said. “I was asked to do a commercial for Vittel water with him. He played himself, and I was dressed as all his alter egos from his early years. It was surreal standing next to him while dressed like him.”
Cuts from the water commercial were also used to promote Bowie’s album, Reality, released in 2003.
“He was very generous and supportive,” Brighton said. “When you’re impersonating someone, you don’t know if they’ll be offended or flattered. He would occasionally talk about our shows on his social media.”
For his performance at the Bayou Theater, Brighton said he would cover as many of Bowie’s 50 years of songs as possible, with up to four costume changes. “We’ll do everything from Ziggy Stardust through the 90s, and we’ll see ‘Let’s Dance,’ as well as the Thin White Duke,” he said. “I’m blessed to work with great musicians. We go through the peak of Bowie’s creativity and beyond.”
For information about the Bayou Theater, or to purchase tickets to the event, go online.