Over two nights, March 31 and April 1, 2016, twenty artists will gather at Carneige Hall to perform the songs of David Bowie. The event is part of an annual tribute series that benefits music education programs for underprivileged youth. Scheduled before the rock icon’s passing, the event was reframed as a memoriam tribute after Bowie died of cancer this past January.
Among the scheduled artists are musicians Bowie knew personally and respected. Laurie Anderson, the wife of Bowie’s old friend Lou Reed, is on the roster, as are The Pixies, a band whom Bowie covered as part of his own catalogue. Cyndi Lauper, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., The Flaming Lips, Heart, Debbie Harry, Bette Midler and Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers will all take the stage.
The New York Times reported that frequent Bowie producer Tony Visconti will lead the house band on both nights.
Bowie released his final album, Blackstar, just two days before his passing. The album’s single “Lazarus,” the video of which features Bowie in hospital attire and retreating into a closet at the end, was seen by many as a reference to his pending death. Anderson called Bowie’s final works a kind of “Japanese death poem,” in an interview with MSN.
After Bowie’s death, the official Twitter account of The Pixies posted a picture of the icon with the band, with the caption, “RIP David Bowie. A true inspiration.” Bowie covered the band’s song “Cactus” on his Heathen record, and often called the group one of his favorites.
David Bowie has been memorialized on many stages over the past several weeks. Lady Gaga gave a spirited, and somewhat controversial, performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards alongside Bowie’s Let’s Dance producer Nile Rodgers. Lorde performed a moving rendition of Bowie’s “Life on Mars” with Bowie’s own touring band at the 2016 Brit Awards.
The Carneige Hall tribute concert is presented by Michael Dorf and City Winery. It is the 12th of the “Music Of” series, which has in past years featured music by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Prince and many others. The Grammy Foundation, Young Audiences New York, Church St. School for Music and Art, and The Orchestra Now will all benefit from the program.
Both shows that form the Carneige Hall event are currently sold out.
(Below: Watch Lady Gaga's tribute to David Bowie at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.)
Image: Sarah Stierch/Flickr Creative Commons