Thoughts on the 6/15 DMQ “Under Pressure” Bowie Performance

under pressureOn Saturday 6/15, the Dudley Manlove Quartet performed our big “Under Pressure” show  at the Crocodile in Seattle. Also on the bill were our friends “Halloqueen”, delivering their tribute to Queen. I had been working hard on the guitar parts for these songs over the past few months and created detailed transcriptions for my own reference in learning the parts. My objective was to do more than merely delivering a credible bar-band version of the songs; I wanted to absolutely recreate the original studio performances and tones. I’ll provide detailed notes on my transcriptions in another post.

The show involved setting up both bands with all equipment onstage and ready to do. This was necessary due to the number of songs where we combined elements from both bands. Multiple rehearsals were held to polish these songs involving guest performers. We knew it was going to be something special, and the show was a blast.

Here is the set list DMQ performed during the Bowie portion of the evening:

  • Ziggy Stardust
  • Rebel Rebel
  • Space Oddity (with Brian Bermudez-sax)
  • Suffragette City (with Sean Bates-vocals, Tim DiJulio-guitar, Brian Bermudez-sax)
  • The Man Who Sold the World
  • Life on Mars?
  • Ashes to Ashes (with Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)
  • Changes (with Brian Bermudez-sax, Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)
  • Golden Years (with Brian, Kim, Nikol)
  • Fashion (with Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals, Chris Friel-drums)
  • China Girl (with Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)
  • Fame (with Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)
  • Blue Jean (with Brian Bermudez-sax, Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)
  • Young Americans (with Brian Bermudez-sax, Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)
  • Let’s Dance (with Brian Bermudez-sax, Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)
  • Heroes (with Brian Bermudez-sax, Kim Virant-vocals, Nikol Fiala-vocals)

I wound up using my trusty black stratocaster for this show. During rehearsals I experimented with using my Les Paul, but due to the range of guitar tones involved, the strat seemed like the best overall fit. I brought the Eric Johnson strat as well, fully intending to use it for the later material, but once we got underway there was just no time during the set to make the switch.  That black strat and I have been together a long time and it never fails me. Honestly I don’t know why I even own other guitars :)

Overall I was very satisfied with the performances during the show. The most difficult material for me to really nail was the ferocious Robert Fripp guitar solo in “Fashion”, and the delicate guitar work in “Life on Mars”. For tone building I relied on a combination of the Wampler Sovereign distortion, Way Huge Pork Loin overdrive, Line6 delay, TC Electronic reverb, and Strymon Lex rotary pedal. It was also the debut of my newly reconfigured pedalboard and I was happy with the outcome. For our next public performance, DMQ will be performing more of a standard mix of material, but I suspect a few Bowie songs might sneak their way into the set.

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