David Bowie’s The Glass Spider Tour is increasingly and infamously considered a career dip but around that time multiple instrument and multi-lingual Turkish musical maistro Erdal Kizilkay became one of his band members. He has “continued the tour” reforming as The Glass Spider Band.

One’s expectations were lowered because of how the media chorus denigrates that tour and its album, Never Let Me Down plus a personal distaste for any kind of “tribute show”: not after having experienced the real thing is a memory I do not want added to, thanks. Interpretation and covers are different. They must have a rationale beyond travesty. It takes extraordinary musical ability to bare comparison to, or sound as good as that.

After a late afternoon screening of Bowie movie Labyrinth, and a very Bowie DJ set from a Bowie specialist DJ, A bowler hatted cockney lanky gent appears in sparkling blue Legendary Soho character Phil Dirtbox started with the a couple of songs from the 60s and then lurched into the 70s. He could do that sort of walk a cross between clown parody and a malicious stalker with accentuated knee bends, his Antony Newley accent sounded great for the two sixties numbers, but he murdered Ziggy Stardust far too early in the night, it was not clear if this was meant as parody or as genuine art genius that I am too narrow in my specific tastes to absorb. I accept, it is probably both. On keyboards was Mick Ronson’s niece.

This was the musical interlude to fairly safe interview easy going interview with Erdal Kazilcay and his role as a Bowie collaborator. He is one of the more outrageous and adventurous bass guitar players treating it like upright double bass at times exploding with jazz spontaneity. He and Richard Cottle on keyboards were part of the original Glass Spider band. Another DJ interlude and then The Glass Spider set was about to start. By this stage of the evening my expectations had been lowered somewhat but then Erdal attacked his strings and the band came in over the Glass Spider poem opening the show, and a new atmosphere was formed.

And then the lead singer Simon Westbrook appeared, not floating from the ceiling as Bowie did to open the show. Westbrook appeared from the dark gleaming in a crimson suit as he opened with the song lyric “Don’t you hear this wasted cry” any sense that this was at all ordinary vapourised.

What is “good” about Bowie’s voice? Versatility and consistency across many different types of voice are most certainly an aspect. Belting it out loud is another. Simon Westbrook is a master of vocal control with quite extraordinary velocity and clarity who adds just enough affectation to make a lyric curl without taking it too far so that was all you noticed. He does not look like Bowie, but resembles him in movement. He does not dress like Bowie, he does something of his own.

The songs that worked extremely well were the ones you would think were the hardest to get right: Time, Boys Keep Swinging, China Girl, Young Americans and the opening number were sublime. The band were as real as it gets. The BV was sometimes joined by three dancers restoring some of the Toni Basil choreography from the original in smaller steps. Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet was a guest with a sparkling saxaphone.

It was a great concert, every bit nearly as good as the real thing but comparisons are endlessly boring. As a band in its own right, celebrating something that is relatively unknown in the Bowie catalogue, there is a future as the show and band are simply excellent.

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