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The upcoming show is set to feature dozens of Bowie's tracks through the decades, including the 1983 smash hit Let's Dance which the show is named after.

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"I was a massive fan; he (Bowie) wrote some of my all-time favourite songs and he kept changing because he was never musically satisfied," says Roberts.

Endearing tribute to an iconic rock star

Paul Roberts, ex-frontman of The Stranglers, honours David Bowie with a show full of the latter's classic rock tunes and more.
Nov 4, 2016 5:50 AM

PAUL Roberts might be better known as the ex-frontman of British punk legends The Stranglers but he will be paying tribute to a fellow English music icon next weekend instead.

Let's Dance: Paul Roberts sings David Bowie - presented by British Theatre Playhouse and Worldwide Entertainment - will feature the 56-year-old performing the hits of the Thin White Duke, who passed away unexpectedly in January this year.

Currently in town to prepare and promote the show, Roberts says: "This is me showing my love for an artiste who made my life fantastic."

Even before Let's Dance was conceptualised, he was already heading a side project covers-band called Bowie Band: "A lot of people have noted Bowie and I sounded similar - so, after he died, some of them told me I have to carry on (his legacy) but I also wanted to do it respectfully."

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The upcoming show is set to feature dozens of Bowie classics through the decades such as Space Oddity (1969), Rebel Rebel (1974) and the smash hit Let's Dance (1983) which the show is named after.

"I didn't want to pick songs that were too obscure or play from only one record because you'll then reach only a specific audience - I want as many people as possible to come and listen," explains Roberts, who will be performing with a four-piece band.

The newer stuff hasn't been left out either and one song from this year's Black Star (2016) has made it to the set list. The record is Bowie's 25th and final studio album which he recorded secretly and was released on his 69th birthday - two days before he passed away. Though Roberts prefers to not divulge which track it is to leave an element of surprise for those attending, he hints it is one with a tricky solo which his keyboardist initially protested against because of the complexity but has since gone on to work out.

Although Bowie and Roberts were musical peers during the height of their popularity, they never got a chance to meet each other. "I was once about 10 feet away from him backstage though when The Stranglers and him were playing the same show," Roberts shares.

But Bowie's influence loomed large even before Roberts became a musician himself: "I was a massive fan; he wrote some of my all-time favourite songs and he kept changing because he was never musically satisfied."

Roberts himself joined The Stranglers - best known for their 1981 hit Golden Brown - in 1990, replacing original vocalist Hugh Cornwell and recorded four albums with the band over 16 years before going solo.

Incidentally, there are actually two productions for Let's Dance - one which is more theatrical with a narrative, followed by a concert; and another that is a straight-up rock 'n' roll show.

Singapore will get the latter format because of the venue the show is presented in. "We want the audience to get up and dance but let's see - if things go well, we might bring the other show here too," Roberts quips.

  • Let's Dance - Paul Roberts Sings David Bowie will take place at Ce La Vi on Nov 10 to 12 at 8pm. Tickets cost S$120 to S$155 (inclusive of one drink) and are on sale at Sistic. There will be a charity gala in aid of The Mission to Seafarers and Riding for the Disabled on Nov 10. 
    For more info, check out BritishTheatrePlayhouse.com