Last night, Carnegie Hall held the first of two major David Bowie tributes being thrown in New York City. The performance did not feature the Roots, but it did feature Michael Stipe, Debbie Harry, Wayne Coyne, the Pixies, Parry Ferrell, and many more artists.
The cumulative effect of so much talent was, as one would imagine, pretty overwhelming, especially when punctuated by Michael Stipe’s touching rendition of “Ashes to Ashes.” Similar to his performance of “The Man Who Sold the World” earlier this week, the song is stripped bare and slowed down, showcasing its poignancy. Watch it in the video below, where he’s joined by Karen Elson, a super-talented vocalist.
Unfortunately, Wayne Coyne also performed — on the shoulders of Chewbacca. It might be a little too cheeky for what’s meant to be a sentimental collection of performances, but it also might be a crime to demand seriousness from Coyne at this point, and it’s a pretty enjoyable performance. Worth watching just for the wardrobe.
Debbie Harry performed “Starman” with as much pomp and attitude as you’d hope.
The Pixies, really stretching themselves (and the concept of a “cover song”), played a cover of David Bowie covering their own song, “Cactus.” But really they just played their own song.
Cat Power performed one of Bowie’s best, “Five Years.”
Word also has it that Perry Farrell performed “Rebel Rebel” while dressed like Jack Fairy from Velvet Goldmine.
UPDATE: We have confirmation of Perry Farrell’s outfit.
It’s a shame there isn’t more (or better) footage from the show, but tonight’s Radio City Music Hall tribute will be streamed online, so for those who missed last night’s, no need to totally lament the lack of footage the day after.