With so many arts and entertainment events to preview every week in the Comox Valley, rarely, if ever, can I find room to print a review of a show.
Fortunately, every once in a while, an article can do both.
Such is the case with this one.
Starman – Bowie Songs In-The-Round comes to the Filberg Centre Tuesday, October 4.
I had the opportunity to see the very first production of the show, February 6 at the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River, February.
I left wishing the evening had not ended.
The timing of Starman was almost unfortunate.
Doug Cox first conceptualized this tribute to the influential English rock star six months before Bowie’s death. He passed away Jan. 10, less than four weeks before the premiere of the production.
It was never intended to be a memorial tribute.
Even the word “tribute” can so often be misconstrued.
No one will be dressed like David Bowie. They are not trying to sound like “The Starman” himself.
What it amounts to is individual interpretations of the rock icon’s music.
Cox has recruited a solid cast of professional musicians for the tour, including Juno award-winning singer/songwriter Helen Austin, and Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason.
Other members of the show include Cox’s long-time collaborator Sam Hurrie, Linda McRae (Spirit of the West), percussionist Robin Layne (Locarno) and Canadian bassist extraordinaire Rick May.
“We like to refer to it as a celebration of his songs,” explained Cox.
A celebration, it is.
With Verreault, Hurrie, Austin and McRae taking lead roles in the production, it’s a constant flashback for anyone who grew up listening to, and being influenced by, Bowie’s music.
The concert flows seamlessly from song to song, and although most Bowie fans will recognize virtually every tune by the third note, their individual interpretations of his songs makes the show unique.
Co-lead guitarists Verreault and Hurrie feed off each other wonderfully.
As keyboardist, Austin is… Austin: forever smiling, and clearly enjoying herself. She beams on stage and you can tell she is totally in her element.
A banjo is not the first stringed instrument most people would associate with David Bowie music, but Linda McRae pulls it off beautifully.
Layne and May provide brilliant backing, and Cox is the consummate pro, taking moments in the spotlight, but for the most part leaving the glamour for the “front row” while he multi-tasks the rhythm section, with his guitars and various percussion instruments.
As I said the night of the show in Campbell River – if I leave a concert saying “it was as good as I had hoped it would be” then it’s a good night. This show is better than I expected it to be… And I had high expectations. Don’t miss it.
The show comes to the Filberg Centre for one night only, Oct. 4.
Tickets are available online at islandmusicfest.com