The lineup impressive, the performances marvelous and the technological feat bringing it all together went above and beyond, but it was the music of the late great David Bowie that really took center stage at the David Bowie virtual celebration taking place Saturday night (Jan. 9).
The "A David Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day" event was initially set to take place Friday (Jan. 8) in celebration of Bowie's birthday but technical difficulties and Covid-related restrictions led the massive undertaking to be pushed a day to make sure all went off without a hitch and the move paid off as everyone involved appeared on top of their game.
Duran Duran opened the show with their stellar new cover of "Five Days," bolstered by the piano accompaniment of longtime Bowie pianist Mike Garson who also hosted the evening's events. Set against the fantastical backdrop, it provided a glimpse of what was to come as artists appeared throughout the evening either via virtual remote or often in pre-produced performances, but it was all tied together to mirror a united concert appearance as possible.
Halestorm's Lzzy Hale and Broadway star Lena Hall united to bring some power and grit to Bowie's "Moonage Daydream," a performance that left both musicians with a high afterward. Hall shared her admiration and desire to collaborate with Hale, while Hale spoke on Twitter about the transcendent moment of paying tribute to one of their muses.
The early part of the show leaned more to the rockers, with Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan delivering a spine-tingling cover of "Space Oddity" featuring a spacy piano arrangement by Garson. This was followed by Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell with his wife Etty Lau Farrell and a masked dancer delivering a more theatrical interpretation of "The Man Who Sold the World." Living Colour's Corey Glover also earned raves early in the night for his soulful take on "Young Americans" that offered a "church" moment at the end showing the full range of Glover's vocal capabilities.
Def Leppard's Joe Elliott stuck around for a double dose of performances, first giving an understated but powerful performance of Bowie's "Win" that included a new arrangement from Garson. Then, embracing his love of glam, Elliott joined the band of Bowie alums for "Ziggy Stardust."
The Pretty Reckless' Taylor Momsen provided one of the night's highlights, appearing remotely and giving a vulnerable and beautifully heartfelt performance of "Quicksand" accentuated by Garcon's piano playing and an acoustic guitar backing.
One of the more anticipated performances of the night came from Ground Control, a supergroup made up of Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins and Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney. Corey Taylor sat out the opening number as Jon "Lou" Lousteau sat in on drums as Taylor Hawkins led a raucous version of "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide."
The Slipknot vocalist, sporting a Kid Bookie T-shirt, then joined his mates onstage. He opened the performance revisiting a portion of Bowie's cameo from the Ricky Gervais series Extras offering up a bit of "Chubby Little Fat Man" before the group launched into "Hang On To Yourself." The high energy performance was set against a kaleidoscopic backdrop with Taylor taking a tumble at the end of the set after getting worked up over the performance.
The night also included a killer cover of "Jean Genie" from Jesse Malin and a Peter Frampton-led rock up of "Suffragette City" before offering a showcase to one of Bowie's favorite rockers, Trent Reznor. The Nine Inch Nails leader initially joined Garson and a band of Bowie vets for a haunting and electronic-based version of "Fantastic Voyage." Then a pre-taped stylistic video for "Fashion" followed with Reznor joined by his How to Destroy Angels bandmates Mariqueen Maandig and Atticus Ross for a stellar cover of the Bowie classic.
The end of the evening also provided some wonderful performances. The Cult's Ian Asbury delivered a vulnerable take on "Lazarus," Yungblud wowed the viewing audience on "Life on Mars?" and Queen's Adam Lambert got all glammed up for his performance of "Starman." Like Hale earlier in the night, Yungblud too marveled at the moment as seen in the tweet below.
The three-hour celebration came to an end on a high note with Bowie veteran Bernard Fowler leading a rendition of "Heroes" which gave the night its "Just for One Day" moniker. The backing band for that performance included a next generation hero, with young YouTuber Nandi Bushell sitting in on drums for the performance.
Check out the full setlist for the show below. The "A David Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day" will continue to stream on Sunday and you can check it out here.
"A David Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day" Setlist
1. Duran Duran / Five Years
2. Lzzy Hale + Lena Hall / Moonage Daydream
3. Billy Corgan / Space Oddity
4. Perry and Etty Lau Farrell / The Man Who Sold the World
5. Anna Calvi / Bring Me the Disco King
6. Gary Barlow / Fame
7. Corey Glover / Young Americans
8. Gail Ann Dorsey / Can You Hear Me
9. Bernard Fowler / Sweet Thing
10. Bernard Fowler / Candidate
11. Bernard Fowler / Sweet Thing (Reprise)
12. Charlie Sexton / Let's Dance
13. Judith Hill / Lady Stardust
14. Macy Gray / Changes
15. Kevin Armstrong / Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
16. Catherine Russell / Conversation Piece
17. Charlie Sexton / Rebel Rebel
18. Joe Elliott / Win
19. Joe Elliott / Ziggy Stardust
20. Taylor Momsen / Quicksand
21. Charlie Sexton / DJ
22. Charlie Sexton / Blue Jean
23. Michael C. Hall / Where Are We Now?
24. Ground Control / Rock 'n' Roll Suicide
25. Ground Control / Chubby Little Fat Man
26. Ground Control / Hang On To Yourself
27. Gary Oldman / I Can't Read
28. Jesse Malin / Jean Genie
29. Gail Ann Dorsey / Strangers When We Meet
30. Peter Frampton / Suffragette City
31. Trent Reznor / Fantastic Voyage
32. Trent Reznor, Mariqueen Maandig + Atticus Ross / Fashion
33. Ian Astbury / Lazarus
34. Yungblud / Life on Mars?
35. Boy George / Lady Grinning Soul / Time / Aladdin Sane
36. Ian Hunter / Dandy
37. Ian Hunter / All the Young Dudes
38. Adam Lambert / Starman
39. Judith Hill + Andra Day / Under Pressure
40. Bernard Fowler / Heroes