A long list of famous artists came together for a virtual event to celebrate what would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday.
“A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day!” was originally scheduled for Friday, Jan. 9, but was pushed back one day due to technical difficulties. Despite these bumps in the road, the virtual concert boasted notable performances from many of rock’s biggest stars.
The evening opened with Duran Duran covering Bowie’s “Five Years,” a track originally released on his seminal 1972 LP The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. The iconic New Wave group recently released their rendition of the tune as a promotional single.
“I can’t begin to explain how honored I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to perform this icon and to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music,” frontman Simon Le Bon admitted to People in the lead up to the event, adding that Bowie was the “reason why I started writing songs.”
Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor performed two of Bowie’s songs on the evening, “Fantastic Voyage” and “Fashion,” being joined by his wife Mariqueen Maandig and NIN bandmate Atticus Ross for the latter. Reznor famously had a close relationship with Bowie, having toured alongside the iconic rocker in 1995, and collaborating with him in 1997 on the remix of “I’m Afraid of Americans.”
“I’m grateful that our lives intersected, and I’m grateful for, whether he knew it or not, how much he helped me in those dark times before I chose to get my shit together,” Reznor explained to Consequence of Sound prior to the event, noting that Bowie helped him during a time of addiction. “And I can hear his voice. He penetrated through the layers of bullshit that I’d built around myself. I’m grateful for that.”
Other highlights from “A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day!” included Adam Lambert covering “Starman,” Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott singing “Ziggy Stardust” and Peter Frampton rocking through “Suffragette City.” The evening was organized and hosted by Bowie’s longtime piano player, Mike Garson.
Watch a selection of performances in the videos below.