The event title could have played on one of many puns, ripe for the picking from David Bowie’s lengthy discography. ‘Starman’, ‘Hero(es)’, ‘Legacy’, ‘Golden Years’, even ‘Sound And Vision’. But organisers wisely went for something that simply tells it like it is.
‘Celebrating David Bowie’ is an international tribute by musicians around the globe, kicking off today and tying in nicely with what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday.
Concerts will take place throughout January in cities that each have a strong connection with Bowie and his work: London, New York, Tokyo, L.A. and Sydney (we still think Berlin would have been a good fit since Bowie lived there for a time and recorded a trilogy of albums in the city).
Anyway, featuring a set of 30 core musicians as well as local artists, the shows are being projected as “Bowie people performing Bowie music, Bowie style”.
The London strand of the event is being hosted today, January 8, in Bowie’s birthplace of Brixton at the O2 Academy and will be led by actor Gary Oldman who delivered a speech about his late friend at the Brit awards early last year. Key musicians on board include former Bowie band members Mike Garson, Adrian Belew and Earl Slick, and Bernard Fowler from The Rolling Stones.
Leading the group in Sydney later this month will be Garson, Belew, Slick, Fowler and a vast extended musical family of musicians with two degrees of separation from the Starman (ie: having worked with everyone from Brian Eno to Iggy Pop). These musicians either performed, wrote or recorded with David over five separate decades including 1973’s Ziggy Stardust tour and more recently on his second last LP The Next Day.
Local artists taking part in the Sydney concerts, which are being held at the Sydney Opera House, include Bernard Fanning, Sarah Blasko and Paul Dempsey, each doing their bit to emulate and reinterpret the brilliance of Bowie’s vast canon of songs.
Throughout the past 12 months, we’ve seen plenty of tributes to the world’s most chameleon-like musical legend, be it via YouTube, in theatre, even through symphonic orchestra. But nothing to date has been as big as this on an international scale. Antonino Tati
‘Celebrating David Bowie’ takes place at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 29th and Monday 30th January, 2017.
In the meantime, for some symphony-meets-pop check out the tribute to Bowie meshed with Prince above. It seriously is brilliant.