8 Touching Musical Highlights From The David Bowie Memorial Concert
Written by Emmy Mack on 4th April, 2016
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Mere hours before the death of David Bowie, a tribute concert was announced at New York City’s historic Carnegie Hall.
After his passing, the event grew into a two-night extravaganza featuring a lineup of music royalty covering Bowie classics, in honour of the fallen Starman and his legacy.
The second event took place at the Radio City Music Hall, and between the two there were incredible performances from the likes of R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, Blondie’s Debbie Harry, The Pixies, Cat Power, Mumford and Sons, The Flaming Lips, Heart’s Ann Wilson and more.
The Roots, Kimbra and Bilal were all originally set to appear at the concert as well, but pulled out at the last minute, with Questlove attributing the move to “bitchassness” and a dispute over equipment.
Nevertheless, the laid-back concert offered a touching communal tribute to an immortal artist whose music and style continues to inspire generations.
Check out some of the most touching musical highlights from the event below.
8. The Pixies – Cactus
The American alt-rock veterans delivered a cool rendition of Bowie’s Cactus at Carnegie Hall.
7. Cat Power – Five Years
The American singer-songwriter delivered the Ziggy Stardust track with heartfelt vocals.
6. Debbie Harry – Starman
Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry paid tribute to her contemporary and friend David Bowie with a take on one of his most iconic hits.
5. J Mascis & Sean Lennon – Quicksand
John Lennon Jr. fielded guitar on this touching rendition of Bowie’s 1971 acoustic ballad, with vocals from Dinosaur Jr. grunge icon J Mascis.
4. Ann Wilson – Let’s Dance
The Heart singer took on Bowie’s classic 1983 hit with pitch-perfect gusto and some enthusiastic booty-shaking for good measure.
3. NYC Children’s Chorus – Space Oddity
This will legitimately give you shivers. Toronto-based vocal group Choir! Choir! Choir!, the New York City Children’s Chorus and the audience all sang along to Bowie’s eerie classic Space Oddity.
2. Michael Stipe and Karen Elson – Ashes to Ashes
According to many, Michael Stipe stole the show after emerging from his post-R.E.M. obscurity for a haunting cover of Ashes To Ashes at Carnegie Hall. In a few moving words before launching in to the performance, Stipe shared the impact that Bowie had on him growing up, explaining: “David Bowie was a hippie before he was a spaceman. I was a hippie from the age of 12.”
1. The Flaming Lips – Life On Mars?
The Lips’ excellent rendition of Life On Mars? at Carnegie Hall came complete with frontman Wayne Coyne singing whilst riding atop of a giant Chewbacca. What more could you ask for?