Taranaki daily news
Review: Ziggy Stardust captured in onstage tribute show
The Ultimate Bowie Tribute show is touring New Zealand.
TSB Showplace Auckland
Sunday, August 14 2016
Reviewed by Andrew Owen
As the band finishes an impressive version of Rock 'n' Roll Suicide, from David Bowie's 1972 Ziggy Stardust album, a voice shouts out from the audience, "You're very good".
"Just as well," replies Ed Blaney, who is performing as David Bowie.
It's the Englishman's first time in New Zealand. "Imagine coming all this way to be crap."
The tribute show was just like seeing the real David Bowie in action.
Actually, our friend near the front row is quite right - he really is very good. Spookily accurate, in fact.
From the dyed red mullet haircut and multi-coloured spaceman costume of Ziggy (a look that's still fashionable in some parts of Australia) to the red suit, red shirt and blond hair of early eighties Bowie, Blaney manages to capture the very essence of the man.
Shut your eyes and he sounds exactly like him - same singing voice, same 'Sarf Lahndan' way of speaking.
Blaney does the stagecraft, too: Bowie's distinctive part-mime way of moving about on stage, the occasional high kicks at the end of songs, even the way he holds the microphone. It's all there - accompanied by a first-rate band.
The audience - a healthy turnout, though not a sellout - seemed impressed, and it was interesting watching how they loosened up.
In the first half, the Ziggy years, people simply sat and clapped politely at the end of each number; in the second half, the eighties, a few actually danced in the aisles to songs such as Fame and Ashes to Ashes - not many, but fair play for having a go.
I actually did see David Bowie in concert in 2003 - he was about three miles away from me in a huge auditorium, but, hey man, I was there. And on Sunday night I was there again.
"As captivating as Bowie himself!"
Flamboyant, charismatic and a master of reinvention, David Bowie has left a rich and diverse musical legacy for all to enjoy. From his early glam rock days through to
the soulful sensuality of the mid 70's and dance track successes of the early 80's, his talents have been unsurpassed.
It's a daunting challenge but Ed Blaney along with his seven piece band have kept that legacy going with a standout performance from beginning to end. It's six years since Ed and the band brought their show to Whitley Bay, and tonight in Swansea they've proved that they really are unbeatable at what they do.
Dressed in an oriental inspired outfit complete with red hair and white boots, Ed blazes onto the stage, emulating a slightly more camp Bowie, in the form of Bowie's much loved alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, who was inspired by the real life rock "n" roll singer, Vince Taylor. The moves, gestures and expressions are carried out to perfection, not least the vocals, and more significantly notes in a higher register which Bowie was also known for. As Ed performs the catchy "Five Years" (from The Ziggy Stardust album), you are irresistibly drawn into Ziggy's world, and not least by that dazzling earring!
Like it so far? Cue the knee high red boots and THAT outfit, complete with stripes and shoulder pads as Ed gives a stunning rendition of those unique classics, "Starman" and "Space Oddity" .
After the more light hearted tribute to the Stardust songs, the beginning of the latter half of the show is somewhat more subdued as the haunting lyrics and melody of "Blackstar" (from Bowie's final album), are brought to the stage. It's a solemn and moving rendition, echoed in the choice of costume - a long black coat and symbolic references, and more importantly a fitting tribute to the late Bowie, as Ed brings a little of himself to the role. Again wonderfully captured by the band's excellent musical skills, as well as their lead singer's powerful vocals and performance.
But it wouldn't be complete if they didn't keep swinging! As Bowie himself would have liked, "Ultimate Bowie " bring the show to an exuberant close with "John, I'm only dancing", "Golden Years", John Lennon collaboration "Fame" and so many more.
Magical, captivating, and eerily accurate. See it to believe it.
Moira Richardson - Boisdale Canary Wharf
Saturday 30th April
So went to Boisdale last night to see Ultimate Bowie again, as he blew us away at Basildon.... absolutely phenomenal!! Hubby is a die hard Bowie fan and has been since 1971, and has completely converted me over the years! Ed Blaney is so spot on with his voice, gestures and characteristics, its like being in the room with the great man himself. It was a different set to the first time we seen him, which was very impressive. Ed has also added Blackstar to his repertoire and is note perfect. Cannot commend him and his wonderful band, who are all absolutely amazing enough!! If you are wondering whether to go and see them, please, please do..you will not be disappointed!! They are terrific, and I promise you will have a great night!!
The Sunderland Echo
Saturday 13 December 2014
IT’S probably the best blast from the Bowie past you’ll ever get.
As much as fans would love to see David Bowie take to the stage again, better still perform a ‘best of’ tour date in the North East, I’d bet my copy of David Live on vinyl this is the closest we’ll ever come to the man himself.
Ed Blaney, who launched his tribute act almost a decade ago after appearing on Stars In Their Eyes, not only staged a homecoming gig but made his debut to the town’s audience last night after building up a solid reputation at venues and festivals across the country.
He and his band showcased a whirlwind ride of Bowie’s back catalogue, from the Ziggy Stardust years through to his 80s tracks and it was joy to sit back and let one after the other kick in.
All the greatest hits were there - The Man Who Sold The World, Diamond Dogs, Changes, Ashes to Ashes and Heroes, with a duet with Ed’s wife Christina in the role of Freddie Mercury for Under Pressure also added into the mix.
But the stand out songs for the audience, as it voted with its feet to take to the floor, were Let’s Dance and Jean Genie. There was proper dancing going on down at the front and it was brilliant to see the crowd, many dressed in Bowie t-shirts, sequins or Christmas jumpers for the festive occasion, lose itself.
Listen to any amount of recordings of Bowie’s shows to your heart’s content, but the chances are it’ll never match the set list here, nor that feeling of the drum beat in your chest or the lasting ringing in your ears. Years of living in a seaside town where tribute bands were often the only live music going, I lost heart in such acts ages ago, but this restored the joy of seeing someone who really knows their stuff recreate it well. Shut your eyes, I doubt you would notice much of a difference in the voice or music from the genuine article either, with the band’s renditions of his tracks spot on.
Even when you hear versions by tributes, the flounces and twists added often jar. Here, you can imagine this is how it would really be and Ed’s done a great job of mastering the accent and the moves.
With three costume changes, from jumpsuit to powder blue three-piece and finally an all in red 80s inspired outfit, it moved the show through the ages smoothly.
The group told the audience at the newly-opened venue they had been waiting for the right place to play before a local gig, and while the town hall might not go on to gain the same reputation as the Hammersmith Odeon, it was great to see a packed room enjoy the night and fill the gap town leaders said it would.
And should Bowie fail to visit this end of the country, at least we’ll have Ultimate Bowie to entertain us, with the added bonus of touches like the ones we saw last night.
From singing a chorus of happy birthday for Norman’s 60th, to dedications of songs to a band member’s daughter, this one was just for us.
Bowie tribute the ultimate
By Graham Miller - The Daily Record
MOTHERWELL was rocking to the sounds of a glam-rock god last Friday night when tribute act Ultimate Bowie wowed the civic centre.
MOTHERWELL was rocking to the sounds of a glam-rock god last Friday night when tribute act Ultimate Bowie wowed the civic centre.
As one who still feels disappointment over the great man’s late postponement at T in the Park five years ago, it was wonderful to hear these fabulous songs performed live at last and to perfection.
The technically superb eight-piece band – fronted by uncanny Bowie sound-a-like and Stars in Their Eyes performer Ed Blaney – effortlessly ran through a selection of many of the Thin White Duke’s greatest hits, spanning Space Oddity to China Girl.
The capacity audience, who ranged in age from 16 to people in their 60s, were spellbound from the opening number, a rousing rendition of Hang Onto Yourself. Ed, resplendent in an authentic striped catsuit and red patent platform boots, and his band of accomplished musicians cranked the atmosphere higher and higher as they ran through hits such as Changes, Starman, Ziggy Stardust and this writer’s personal favourite, Moonage Daydream.
During the aforementioned song’s amazing extended instrumental finale, the frontman exited stage left to return minutes later wearing an exquisitely tailored powder blue suit, for a fantastic rendition of Life On Mars. Not only do Ultimate Bowie endeavour to recreate a perfect sound, the vision is evidently of great importance too.
Following a brief interval and another costume change – this time into a cream baggy suit from the Serious Moonlight tour – the band got the audience on their feet with wonderful versions of Diamond Dogs, Ashes to Ashes, Let's Dance and a simply stunning Station to Station.
They finished off with perennial favourite Heroes and finally an encore of Modern Love.
This was Ultimate Bowie's first venture to Scotland and hopefully this certainly won't be the last.
Consett Empire Fri 26th feb 2010
ULTIMATLEY BRILLIANT..created the same atmosphere as early bowie concerts in small venues ie Newcastle City Hall.The whole band enjoyed what they did and the audience were captivated. Ed Blaney was incredible recreating Bowie at his best songs. I love Ziggy, don't know anyone else who could sing those songs the way he did. Rocknroll suicide,OMG.'Just give me your hand cause your wonderful'.
Can't wait for you to return to Consett, word has already got round. It will be a sellout!
I haven't had a great deal of experience with tribute bands. I assume that some are great and some aren't. I'd really enjoyed seeing 'T-Rextacy' back in 2007 (short review here: http://marshtowers.blogspot.com/2007/11/more-entertainment.html) so I was happy to see what 'Ultimate Bowie' had to offer.
The band moved into position just after 7.30 p.m. and when the lights came up the focal point was undoubtedly Ziggy Stardust, centre stage, complete with red hair, platform boots and acoustic guitar.
As they roared into 'Hang Onto Yourself' it was time to absorb the early impressions. Ed Blaney certainly looked the part as Ziggy Stardust and the rest of the group consisted of two keyboard players, three guitarists, a drummer and a backing singer/saxophonist.
The first half of the show focused on the early Bowie years and included material from his albums up to and including 'Aladdin Sane'.
'Moonage Daydream' was an undoubted highlight of the first half of the show, with Paul Carr's virtuoso guitar solo allowing Ed to leave the stage for a quick costume change, re-emerging with a blue suit (familiar from the 'Life on Mars' video). Indeed, 'Life on Mars' formed part of the first half finale. It was a very good session, but better was to follow after the break.
The second half of the show was based around 'The Serious Moonlight' tour of 1983. Stripped of the ungainly platform boots (which had caused a guitar to be inadvertently kicked off its stand in the first half), Ed came out resplendent in authentic Serious Moonlight garb, with very yellow hair replacing the Ziggy orange. The more sensible shoes allowed considerably more dancing and plenty of high kicks. 'Diamond Dogs' open the second set, which consisted mainly of up-tempo rockers, including 'Rebel Rebel', 'Let's Dance' and 'Modern Love'.
One of the biggest highlights of the whole show was a terrific version of 'Cracked Actor', which captured the staging and mannerisms of the 'Serious Moonlight' tour perfectly, including the director's chair, the cape and the skull. This really was Cracked Actor intacta.
More complex numbers were included too, such as the unique 'Ashes to Ashes'. Considering they were covering roughly a quarter of a century of Bowie's constant changes of direction, the virtuosity of the band was truly impressive.
Everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the show, form both sides of the stage. 'Heroes' heralded the conclusion, but they returned very quickly for an encore of 'Modern Love'. A second encore swiftly followed, which was greatly appreciated by all. This time it was 'All The Young Dudes'. David High brought his microphone into the audience, inviting some of us to contribute the harmony vocals. The first opportunity fell to me and I was happy to oblige (although, on reflection, this could have been why there wasn't another encore).
This is one tribute band which is definitely worth watching. It was a very entertaining evening and I'm looking forward to seeing 'Ultimate Bowie' again in the near future.
"Blaney's Bowie is sizzling hot!"
by Dorothy Billing for remotegoat on 21/06/10
Whether glammed up to the hilt or suave in wide legged trousers and slicked back hair, Bowie has transcended the years and our musical expectations, so it's no mean feat to live up to the reputation of such a star, and Ed Blaney is the man to do it. Accompanied by his eight piece band, Blaney wooed the audience within minutes, with well-loved hits like "Starman" and the enigmatic "Ground control to Major Tom." But the songs were not mere renditions, they really came alive with the lead man's wonderful interpretation and vocals which Bowie would have been proud of, ditto those camp touches with plenty of attitude, all presented very nicely by Blaney, in his glitzy jumpsuit and laced up platform boots. The spiky red hairdo which he boasted is also a nostalgic nod to Bowie's early glam rock years in the 70's, and he wore it well!
Blaney had the audience warmed up nicely in the first half of the show, but had them captivated in the second, with his rousing performance and interpretation of "Suffragette City". "Rebel Rebel" and "I'm only dancing", followed by the more contemplative "Heroes." Blaney's transformation to Bowie in the 80's was a truly charismatic experience, with his hip swaying dance moves and ice blond hair he was disturbingly close to the real thing, and his performance was at its peak.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Blaney blasted the audience with a powerful delivery of one of Bowie's ground breaking classics, and there's no mistaking those raunchy opening chords, it couldn't be anything else but the fantastic "Jean Genie", which had the audience up on their feet within seconds.
This show was wonderfully entertaining with great vocals and music - a treat for all Bowie fans, especially when it's performed by the one and only Ed Blaney. Keep on rocking Ed.
I just want to say…
…You SERIOUSLY ROCK!!!
Yes, Lichfield Garrick, the night of Friday 27 March 2009.
I am compelled to write, it would not be fair to suppress my absolute delight, the floating on air feeling and the renewed inspiration I feel after leaving your gig. You’ve no doubt heard it a million times before, but I don’t care! I must express my sheer thanks and admiration for the most wonderful performance you and your band gave tonight.
Bowie has meant so much to me all my life, as far back as ’75 probably. I have more albums than most people knew existed, and the music, words, imagery and drama of the performances have carried me through times of creation, drawing, expression, determination and ambition. (Not to mention an admiration for the rather attractive Bowie himself!)
To come to the Garrick tonight, see you on stage, well, it was almost greater than seeing the real thing. Not a lover of large venues, I felt treated with the exclusivity of the theatre, and there in front of me was the very embodiment of someone I have admired and has taken my breath away for over 30 years. (God, I can’t believe it’s that long.)
The quality of your voice, Ed Blaney, to me it is truly beautiful, melodic and powerful. What a voice, it made the very heart and soul sing. Your mannerisms encapsulating the very Bowie himself, and to close ones eyes, well, I’d have believed I had been transported back to the 70’s to see Bowie, which is where I’ve always really wanted to be. That not being possible, due to being born about 15 years too late, this is the nearest thing to it, and is, I imagine, just as wonderful and just as beautiful.
Thank you are not words enough, for such an outstanding artist and sharing the gift of your voice with us. And thanks to, to your most wonderful band, who played so passionately, that the stage was on fire with the excitement of it all. Your very own Mick Ronson, a guitar player beyond belief, such skill, such musicality.
I hope you will be touring for a very long time yet. I’ve promised my 12 year old that next time I’ll bring him so he can have an insight into the life long passion of his Mum’s that is Bowie…made possible by the wonderful Ed Blaney and his outstanding band.
With very best regards, and please please come back soon to Lichfield, or how about Symphony Hall Birmingham, that is a venue and a half, would love to see you there.