Ex-David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson discusses the ch-ch-changes to the A Bowie Celebration tour

A new North American leg of the A Bowie Celebration tribute tour — featuring various musicians who played and/or recorded with David Bowie over the years — kicked off last week.

Anchoring the trek’s house band is keyboardist Mike Garson, who toured frequently with Bowie from 1972 to 2004, and contributed to more than 20 albums by the late rock legend.

Garson tells ABC Audio that he decided to change the set a bit for the current tour by showcasing two classic Bowie albums in their entirety — 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and 1974’s Diamond Dogs.

“We start off with the Diamond Dogs album in its entirety, and then the Ziggy Stardust album,” Garson notes. “And then the encore is maybe…eight [other Bowie] songs that I feel like doing.”

Mike says doing the full albums gives him the chance to play some songs live that he never performed in concert with David, including the Ziggy Stardust tunes “It Ain’t Easy,” “Soul Love” and “Star.”

The other Bowie alums joining Garson onstage are guitarist Gerry Leonard, bassist Carmine Rojas, drummer Alan Childs and keyboardist/guitarist Kevin Armstrong. In addition, three singers are handling vocal duties at the shows, Living Colour‘s Corey Glover, veteran Canadian rocker Sass Jordan, and Sting‘s son Joe Sumner.

As Mike notes, “[I]t kind of takes a village to do David’s music.”

Garson tells ABC Audio that doing the A Bowie Celebration tour is rewarding because he gets to interact with fans of all ages.

“[T]o see all the fans sing the words to every song, it’s [spellbinding],” he maintains, “because you’ll see three generations of folks there [all singing].”

The tour continues Wednesday in Portland, Oregon, and winds down April 11 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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