NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

David Bowie - So Nice, We'll Pay Tribute Twice

David Bowie is not a musician that will soon be forgotten. This weekend, New Haven area musicians will hold a second tribute concert for Bowie. A few weeks after Bowie’s death on Jan. 10, a dozen bands and nearly a hundred fans showed up to Best Video and Cultural Center in Hamden to honor to the late icon.

“It was just shocking,” said Ben Erickson.

To help cope in the 72 hours after hearing about his death, Erickson said he recorded a tribute album of Bowie covers and jumped at the chance to play the live show and get together with other fans. The live bands covered everything from “The Man Who Sold the World” to “Heroes” in Bowie’s early catalogue ranging from the 1960s through 1980.

Adam Picarillo, who played with the coverband Super Creeps, said he noticed a sort of collective mourning of Bowie.

“You know you saw the internet blow up about it and everything and then like so many different kinds of people all different ages, all different race, gender. Everybody seemed to be influenced in some way,” Picarillo said. “I can’t think of anybody else who really has that much of an influence and an effect on so many different kinds of people and genres of music.”

At least a dozen fans mimicked Bowie’s aesthetic at the show. Some sported androgynous outfits. Others used glitter or a lightning bolt over one eye in a nod to Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover. Joanne Lewis -- who performed “Rebel Rebel” with the band Zoo Front -- chose multicolored pants, red Chelsea boots and a black tuxedo coat with tails.

Lewis paired the outfit with a shirt she made back in high school that says “Rebel” in silver disco letters. “[Bowie] just could dress any way that he wanted and it was cool,” she said. “And so that let a lot of my friends who wanted to be a little different be able to dress crazy, too, and it was alright.”

Up on stage, Brian Robinson of the Tet Offensive warmed up the crowd before his performance of “My Death” by Jacques Brel. Robinson shared that Bowie and he both were big fans of Brel and both loved to cover this song. But first, he also paid homage to Bowie’s gender-bending fashion sense.

“I’m wearing my wife’s pants tonight in honor of David Bowie,” Robinson said as he opened his set in a pair of stretchy bell bottom blue jeans, before telling the crowd that his wife’s love of Bowie helped bring the couple together.

“My wife wanted me to tell you that we’re both big Bowie fans, but she actually met him in October of 1995,” he added, pointing to his wife in the crowd.

“I didn’t know that then,” Robinson said, who remembers breaking into tears when he first learned Bowie died. “So that really sealed the deal for me… I love you, David Bowie.”

A spokesperson for Best Video said the turnout was more than double what the venue sees on a typical concert night. And the man who organized it all, New Haven-area musician Adam Matlock, said there was so much interest in the show that he had to turn performers away.

“You know, there was a lot of people that weren’t able to play the show because of time constraints,” said Matlock, “So we decided to put together a second show...focusing on his later output.”

Another tribute to Bowie’s career, from the 1980s to present, will be held Saturday, Feb. 13 at Cafe Nine. Door cover will be accepted in the form of gift cards, or gift baskets going directly to cancer patients in New Haven.