After being delayed for 24 hours due to COVID-19 conditions in Los Angeles, the “Just For One Day” David Bowie tribute streaming concert took place last night. Hosted by Bowie’s longtime pianist Mike Garson, the show featured a number of artists (and actors) across genres and generations, backed by alumni from Bowie’s various bands through the decades.
The show took a creative approach to social distancing; during some performances, there were musicians sharing the stage with each other, often accompanied by other musicians via monitor screens. At times, it was hard to figure out who was “there” and who wasn’t. Most of the artists weren’t introduced (nor were the backing musicians, who switched off), so if you didn’t know who they were you might have been confused. And many songs were obscure (although most of the big hits were played), so often, you didn’t really know what you were seeing or hearing. Which felt very much in the spirit of Bowie. (And at the end of the show, the music credits for each song were listed on the screen.) Unfortunately, as of presstime, there are no plans to post performances to YouTube, or for any other release of the performances.
Here’s how the show went:
- Duran Duran opened with “Five Years,” accompanied by Mike Garson, who was part of almost every performance. Duran recorded a different version of the song and released it earlier in the week.
- Halestorm frontroman Lzzy Hale and Broadway star Lena Hall performed “Moonage Daydream
- Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins sang “Space Oddity” accompanied by Garson on piano.
- Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction and his wife Etty Farrell, accompanied by a mime, performed “The Man Who Sold The World.”
- Singer/songwriter/guitarist Anna Calvi performed “Bring Me The Disco King,” from Bowie’s 2003 Reality album
- Gary Barlow from ’90s British boy band Take That sang “Fame.”
- Corey Glover of Living Colour, who has toured with Bowie alumni on their “Bowie Celebration” tours, sang “Young Americans.”
- Bowie’s former bass player Gail Ann Dorsey sang “Can You Hear Me,” from Young Americans.
- Bernard Fowler, a long time member of the Rolling Stones’ touring band, and another alumnus of the “Bowie Celebration” tours, performed “Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise).”
- Charlie Sexton, who opened for Bowie in the ’80s and who has been a longtime member of Bob Dylan’s band, performed “Let’s Dance.”
- Judith Hill, who has worked with Michael Jackson and Prince, and was featured in the 20 Feet From Stardom documentary (and was a contestant on The Voice) performed “Lady Stardust.”
- Macy Gray, who opened on one of Bowie’s final tours, performed “Changes.”
- Garson then paid tribute to one of Bowie’s legendary sidemen, Mick Ronson, by performing “Slaughter on 110th Avenue,” the title track of Ronson’s 1974 solo debut.
- Jazz singer Catherine Russell performed an obscure song from Bowie’s early career, “Conversation Piece.”
- Charlie Sexton returned to play “Rebel Rebel.”
- Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott sang “Win,” from Young Americans, followed by “Ziggy Stardust.”
- Taylor Momsen of the Pretty Reckless did a stripped down version of “Quicksand” accompanied by Mike Garson.
- Charlie Sexton returned again, to play “D.J.” and “Blue Jean.”
- Michael C. Hall — star of Six Feet Under and Dexter, who played the lead role in stage production of Bowie’s Lazarus, sang “Where Are We Now?” from 2013’s The Next Day.
- “Ground Control,” a band comprised of Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, performed two songs. first, Hawkins sang “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” (there was another drummer filling in). Then Hawkins went behind the drums and Taylor sang “Hang On To Yourself.”
- Actor Gary Oldman performed a stripped down version of Tin Machine’s “I Can’t Read.”
- Jesse Malin, a singer/songwriter and frontman of ’90s punk band D-Generation, sang “The Jean Genie.”
- Gail Ann Dorsey returned to sing “Strangers When We Meet,” a song Bowie first recorded for 1993’s The Buddha of Suburbia and re-recorded for 1995’s 1.Outside album.
- Peter Frampton, who played guitar in Bowie’s touring band in the ’80s, played “Suffragette City.”
- Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross performed “Fantastic Voyage,” from 1979’s Lodger. Then they were joined by Mariqeen Maandig (the three are in a band called How To Destroy Angels together; she and Reznor are married) for “Fashion.”
- Ian Astbury of the Cult sang “Lazarus,” from Bowie’s final album, 2016’s
- British singer/songwriter YUNGBLUD, accompanied by Rick Wakeman of Yes, performed “Life On Mars?” Wakeman played on the original version of the song.
- Boy George did a medley of songs from the 1973 Aladdin Sane album: “Lady Grinning Soul,” “Time” and “Aladdin Sane.”
- Mott The Hoople frontman Ian Hunter performed one of his own solo songs, “Dandy,” a song that he wrote paying tribute to Bowie; it’s on his 2016 album, “Fingers Crossed.” After that, of course, he sang Mott The Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes,” written for the band by Bowie.
- Adam Lambert, who has been singing for Queen for years and is a solo star as well, sang “Starman.”
- Judith Hill returned to duet with R&B singer Andra Day on the Queen/Bowie duet, “Under Pressure.”
- Bernard Fowler finished the show with a triumphant “Heroes,” accompanied by 10 year old drumming sensation, Nandi Bushnell.