Ultimate Bowie is as you would expect from the name, is a David Bowie tribute band fronted by Ed Blaney (as David Bowie) and backed by a very talented backing band. Everyone in the band (including Ed) has an impressive musical background going back several decades in some cases.
With any tribute band, there seems to be no middle ground - they are either very good, or very bad. These guys were very good, and this was one of many return performances to The Brunton from them. Tonight's show covered all the big songs that you would expect from Space Oddity to China Girl, and of course taking in the classics - including Starman, Ziggy Stardust, Heroes, All the Young Dudes, Suffragette City, Queen Bitch, Life on Mars and many more. Vocally Ed was in great form tonight and visually he pretty much looked the part. Does anyone though really have that skinny androgenous look of David Bowie himself (particularly the early 1970s glam rock look and the gaunt "Thin White Duke" look)?
The nice thing about Ed and his band at Ultimate Bowie is that they know they are not David Bowie and his band. As Ed chatted to us in the audience during the show, his love of David Bowie's music and his desire to just share that music with us came across. Not to single anyone out of a talented and tight band in particular, but Ultimate Bowie has two very talented guitar players up front - Colin Harrison and Paul Carr - and so much of the Ultimate Bowie experience credit goes to them too as they are out in front all the time.
There were some genunely nice audience interactions tonight such as getting Ed to sing "Happy Birthday" to his daughter Penny, and when he asked "what tour the red suit was from", someone in the audience shouted back "Butlins!".
The show over-ran tonight by a good half hour and no one was complaining. Both the band and the audience were just having a great evening out. Ed and everyone in the band were on great musical form tonight.
What always makes a trip to The Brunton nice too is the staff. They just seem to like talking to the people.
If you want to find out more about Ultimate Bowie, go to their website at http://www.ultimatebowie.com/NavigationPage.htm
Review by Tom King