New York – David Bowie was a man of many facets – glam rocker with flamboyant excesses in the introvert experimenter – and musicians paid tribute to him in New York chose to embrace this successful eclecticism. Nearly three months after the shock of the sudden death of Bowie – who chose to keep secret his fight against cancer – a handful among all the musicians influenced by his genius, gave two concerts in his honor, Thursday and Friday New York, in two of the most legendary venues in the big apple, Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall.
And, true to the rocker to be inventive and modern remained to the end, many of them preferred to look for new ways to explore a rich and diverse work, rather than simply more or less happy times. Michael Stipe, singer and soul of REM did not disappoint and gave the audience one of the highlights of these tributes, transforming “Ashes to Ashes” – the hit 80s that propelled David Bowie in pop for all – a piano ballad.
Stripe, banche long beard and robe, seemed to address Bowie in the hereafter, or better yet to the inventor of the character of Major Tom, in space, in a very soft whisper. A moment so hard as Radio City Hall and thousands of lucky people who were able to get tickets, were collected in almost complete silence. Stipe left Karen Elson, resume emblematic words: “I’m happy / And I hope you’re happy too”, as the composer Paul Cantelon ticked the song on a piano to melancholic sounds.
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The first night of tribute Thursday at Carnegie Hall, was intended to raise money for schools and music education programs and it is only by chance that the tickets were put for sale shortly after Bowie goes off on 10 January. The tribute to the living artist became a celebration of the dead genius, and the organizers have added a second date at Radio City Hall Friday to raise more than $ 300,000. Donny McCaslin, a saxophonist chosen by Bowie for his latest album “Blackstar”, which was released the day of his 69th birthday and just two days before his death, sang “Lazarus”. This piece retrospect seemed to be directed by the great artist to announce the end.
And Friday Bowie was not there to meet the notes of saxophone McCaslin, as it does on the album. The saxophonist has therefore used his instrument to make him perform the song, voice and music combined. A moment of virtuoso musician who has earned a standing ovation at Radio City Hall. The singers Anna Calvi and Amanda Palmer reinterpreted “Blackstar” – a long piece of 10 minutes speaking about violence and religion – with the Kronos Quartet and bassist Jherek Bischoff.
More traditional in tribute – but certainly not in the form it has taken – the Flaming Lips, who like Bowie love the glam and space, have interpreted “Life on Mars”. If the interpretation was classic, the group leader chose to sing draped in a scarf with flashing neon lights, perched on the back of a man dressed in Chewbacca giant shag of the “Star Wars”
Joseph Arthur, the independent rocker rides often sad, chose “The Man Who Sold The World”. On stage, he knelt before her guitar Jimi Hendrix way, but instead set it on fire, he briefly raised the American flag on which was scrawled an insult against Donald Trump, the controversial billionaire who made head in the race for the Republican nomination. Blondie, the Pixies, or Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction were wiser in their tributes. Although Bowie has lived in New York the last years of his life, his family was not there: she has chosen not to participate in any public ceremony.