Whereas no tribute might ever go down because the one David Bowie really deserves, Saturday’s three-hour “A Bowie Celebration” livestream got here inside spitting distance of giving the duke his due, with a worthy forged of dozens that included Duran Duran, Trent Reznor, Andra Day, Yungblud, Adam Lambert, Ian Hunter and Gary Oldman fronting excellent preparations put collectively by host Mike Garson, Bowie’s longtime pianist.
The $25 webcast will proceed to be obtainable by means of 6 p.m. P/9 ET Sunday by way of the HYFI platform (click on right here) or producing platform Rolling Dwell Studios (right here), at which level it will likely be taken down — a lot to the consternation of followers who used the latter web site’s reside chat perform to say they’d been watching it on steady loop and hoped for a everlasting file of the present. The stream was initially set to premiere Friday evening, on the fifth anniversary of Bowie’s demise, however was pushed again a day as a consequence of customers being unable to entry the present (shades of Justin Bieber’s delayed New 12 months’s Eve livestream).
Highlights of the three hours included each large names and singers culled from the ranks of backup singers or different lesser-known figures. Two feminine duets that got here close to the start and finish of the webcast simply counted as standouts, though they represented utterly totally different genres, as Bowie’s catalog did. The second track of “A Bowie Celebration” had exhausting rock queen Lzzy Hale becoming a member of with actor/singer Lena Corridor (a Tony winner for “Hedwig and the Offended Inch”) to belt, in individually filmed tandem, the “Ziggy Stardust” basic “Moonage Daydream.” (Hale and Corridor lately met up for the primary time on agent Richard Weitz’s RWQuarantunes livestream sequence and bonded over their mutual love of Bowie there.)
The penultimate quantity, in the meantime, had Andra Day teaming with Judith Hill on the identical soundstage for a track that was initially conceived as a duet, “Below Strain,” beginning it off on stools as a gently nuanced R&B duet backed by Garson earlier than the looks of a digital full band kicked the Bowie/Queen chestnut into louder and extra acquainted gear.
The ultimate all-star run of numbers in the 30-song set additionally included Adam Lambert lending his sense of not-so-straight theatricality to a musically simple studying of “Starman”; Ian Hunter reviving Mott the Hoople’s cowl of Bowie’s “All of the Younger Dudes” in addition to singing “Dandy,” his personal 2016 homage to Mott’s one-time producer; and, to shut the present, Rolling Stones backup singer Bernard Fowler placing a soulful spin on what has lastly come to be Bowie’s best-regarded track, “Heroes.”
The prize of Bowie’s catalog for any vocalist with chops stays “Life on Mars?,” which boasts probably the most majestic melodies in all of rock; the honour of claiming it right here fell to one of many youthful members of the forged, Yungblud. “Finest second of my complete life,” tweeted the singer, who had modified his Twitter deal with Saturday to “Yungblud’s on Mars,” posting a photograph of his efficiency coming by means of his laptop computer.
greatest second of my complete life. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/VMb60U8jbL
— YUNGBLUD’s on mars (@yungblud) January 10, 2021
Though “Life on Mars?” has been Garson’s go-to when anybody asks him to play even a snippet of a Bowie track, he properly turned over that track to the person who performed piano on the unique monitor, Rick Wakeman of Sure, who had not misplaced a step in his capacity to convey splendor to that half, regardless that he’s performed it at the very least a whole bunch or hundreds of fewer occasions in the intervening half-century than Garson has.
In all probability no efficiency was extra anticipated than that of Trent Reznor and his scoring/9 Inch Nails collaborator Atticus Ross. Reznor impressed Bowie sufficient to be invited to tour and file with him in the mid-’90s. Fairly than revive their recorded collaboration, Reznor selected two different Bowie catalog songs — the avant-funk “Style,” which featured a full-band remedy and the inclusion of Reznor’s spouse Mariqueen Maandig Reznor as a backup vocalist, and, extra stripped down, the far lesser identified “Lodger” monitor “Improbable Voyage,” which thought-about mortal-coil stuff beneath the shadow of nuclear proliferation on the time.
Whereas many of the webcast had performers singing in entrance of Garson-led ensembles made up largely of alumni from Bowie’s touring and studio bands, Duran Duran opened the present with none exterior help, with “5 Years,” the track most clearly befitting the anniversary setting, even when that “Ziggy” quantity’s sci-fi theme appeared ominously 5 years forward to a looming catastrophe as a substitute of 5 years tragically again on a devastating loss.
Additionally submitting their contribution individually, with out assist from any of the home bands, was a supergroup made up of Corey Taylor, Taylor Hawkins, Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney, which mailed in very high-energy performances of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” and “Dangle On to Your self.”
Actor Taylor Momsen earned Garson’s approval, he mentioned in an introduction, by telling him that she’d turn out to be a Bowie fan at age 2. One of many few performers to shoot herself in closeup in a house studio, the “Gossip Woman” star selected the not-often-revived “Quicksand,” from “Hunky Dory,” an album launched greater than 20 years earlier than she was born. Though Garson made solely sparing feedback in regards to the 30 songs carried out, he referred to as “Quicksand” “one of many deepest songs David ever wrote.”
Garson had been a compatriot of Bowie’s from the time he was employed to go on a 1973 tour, famously occurring to be featured prominently on the “Aladdin Sane” and “Younger Individuals” albums and return intermittently for excursions by means of Bowie’s final one earlier than he retired from reside efficiency, in 2006. His prolonged piano solo on the title monitor of “Aladdin Sane” stays one of many extra celebrated strictly instrumental elements in the Bowie catalog, and the revival of it has been an in of all of the tribute excursions he’s led since Bowie’s demise 5 years in the past, because it was right here, when Boy George did a medley of the track with “Woman Grinning Soul” and “Time.” However Garson — who has at all times been extra of a jazz participant who simply occurred to search out his fame as a rock accompanist — lent that very same jazz really feel to passages in different numbers in this three-hour tribute, too, main mutual followers of Bowie and jazz to want that perhaps sometime he’d head up a strictly jazz salute to Bowie’s endlessly wealthy ouevre.
From his a long time backing Bowie, Garson is in fact properly conscious that totally different ensembles are in a different way properly fitted to the epochs of Bowie’s profession, and so, as he has when he’s led tribute excursions on the street, he put collectively totally different configurations of musicians. The one which performed reside with him on the soundstage on quite a few tunes included Charlie Sexton (who additionally sang “Let’s Dance” and a “DJ”/”Blue Jean” medley) on guitar, Carmine Rojas on bass and Alan Childs on drums. However he additionally enlisted totally different configurations to play a majority of the alternatives remotely, with typically as many as 13 musicians seen on display in utterly separate video bubbles. Essentially the most constantly seen distant gamers included Gerry Leonard on guitar, Mark Plati on guitar and bass and Sterling Campbell on drums, with frequent visitor appearances from guitarists who rely as superstars in the Bowie-loving world, Earl Slick and Carlos Alomar, amongst different alumni.
For “Younger Individuals,” sung by Dwelling Color’s Corey Glover, Garson managed to just about assemble a formidable six individuals who’d appeared on the unique 1974 single: himself, Alomar, drummer Andy Newmark, saxophonist David Sanborn and backup singers Ava Cherry and Robin Clark.
Within the one blatantly obvious audio glitch of the three hours, viewers in the chat room puzzled why the sax solo in “Younger Individuals” wasn’t being replicated. It was, at the very least in idea — attentive viewers may see Sanborn wailing away in his Hollywood sq. in one of many corners of the display — however he was to not be heard. Luckily, that was not the case on the 2 different songs on which Sanborn appeared: “Can You Hear Me,” sung exquisitely by latter-day Bowie collaborator Gail Ann Dorsey, and a medley of “Candy Factor” and “Candidate” that allowed Sanborn, Garson and Slick successive, prolonged solos.
The epic, nine-minute “Candy Factor”/”Candidate” medley — arguably a spotlight, if not the spotlight, of the webcast — was sung by Fowler, who actually counted as an MVP, between that and his show-ending “Heroes.” It was sufficient to make a Stones fan want that Mick Jagger would name in sick a while in order that we may hear what it’s sound like if Fowler took over a complete Stones set as understudy, if only for sooner or later.
However “A Bowie Celebration” was additionally outstanding for letting the highlight shine on a succession of lady-grinning-souls. Previous to her later duet with Day, Judith Hill was a solo standout with “Woman Stardust,” accompanied solely by Garson, who was not shy about utilizing “voice of a century” terminology. Dorsey additionally commandeered the present with “Strangers When We Meet,” from the “Exterior” album, in addition to “Younger Individuals’” “Can You Hear Me.”
Different contributions of observe included Billy Corgan doing a low-key “Area Oddity,” Perry Ferrell and his spouse Etty Lau Farrell going theatrically excessive with “The Man Who Offered the World,” Def Leppard’s Joe Eillott taking over the underrated “Win” in addition to the superbly rated “ZIggy Stardust,” Jesse Malin taking to the streets of New York for a bit, in a uncommon journey exterior studio partitions, to lip-synch to his personal “The Jean Genie,” one-time sideman Peter Frampton lastly getting his personal spin on “Suffragette Metropolis,” Ian Astbury doing the lone nod to Bowie’s career-capping “Blackstar” with the ominous “Lazarus,” and Gary Oldman doing an equally one-off dip into the Tin Machine catalog with an aptly portentous “I Can’t Learn.”