Review: Ultimate Bowie at the Harlow Playhouse

ON April 20th, 1972, a “one hit wonder” stepped onto the stage of the Harlow Playhouse. His new album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and th eSpiders From Mars” had just been released. In three months time, he was to appear on Top of the Pops to plug a single that had been out for two months. The rest they say is….

Forty-five years later, Ultimate Bowie stepped onto the stage to pay tribute to the Thin White Duke.

The first half was dedicated to music from Space Oddity to Aladdin Sane. Th heifers thing we noticed that this was a cracking eight-piece band and at first seemed to be overshadowing, overpowering Bowie (Ed Blaney) but he steadily came into his own and produced a cracking vocal rendition of the song “Ziggy Stardust”. There were also beautiful versions of Time (with wonderful piano work) and Amsterdam (a great solo performance). The attempts at Drive-In Saturday and Life in Mars were a little bit plodding.

But it was the second half that you should really read about. It was a barnstorming hour that truly celebrated the work of Bowie with material that Ed Blaney seemed a lot more comfortable with.

They very very bravely started with Blackstar. The ten minute opener from the last album. It was then a run of songs that really rocked the Playhouse. Boys Keep Swinging was wonderful, as were Fame, Golden Years, a terrific Absolute Beginners and Ashes to Ashes.

Heroes was much more in the mould of Bowie circa 2002 and there was a lovely duet with Under Pressure.

It thundered to a climax with China Girl and a lovely encore with Rebel Rebel.

There is no doubt that the fame flame is safe in the hands of Ultimate Bowie. We look forward to seeing you again in Harlow.

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