A Bowie Celebration, from Mike Garson and Rolling Live Studios, returned for year two.
The livestream featured Def Leppard, Noel Gallagher, Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon and John Taylor, Rob Thomas, William Corgan, Living Colour, Evan Rachel Wood, Gary Oldman, Walk the Moon, Jake Wesley Rogers and more, with a special appearance from Ricky Gervais, benefitting Save the Children.
The concert, with direction by Kerry Brown and musical direction by Mike Garson, took place on what would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday.
This year’s show also honored the 35th anniversary of Labyrinth, the classic fantasy film and Jim Henson/David Bowie collaboration, with a special performance from actress Evan Rachel Wood and a beloved character from the film created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop specifically for the event, along with an appearance by Brian Henson. The show was dedicated to frequent Bowie photographer Mick Rock.
Highlights from this year’s concert included the first performance by Def Leppard in two years as they performed Bowie’s hit single “Drive-In Saturday.” Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon and John Taylor performed an energetic “Let’s Dance” featuring many of the Bowie alumni musicians who recorded that mega-hit song with Bowie.
WALK THE MOON rocked three Bowie classics including “Fame,” “Golden Years” and “Under Pressure,” while Grammy Award winner Judith Hill soared to new heights with her take on “It Ain’t Easy” and her jaw-dropping duet of “Wild is the Wind” with The Rolling Stone’s Bernard Fowler, who also expertly sang the Bowie classic “The Jean Genie.” The show featured a stunning turn by Bowie alumni Gail Ann Dorsey who sang “Shadow Man” from Bowie’s recently released Toy album, along with a gorgeous rendition of “Valentine’s Day” by Noel Gallagher.
Academy Award winning actor and friend of Bowie, Gary Oldman sang an emotional “Slip Away” while Living Colour offered a powerful “I’m Afraid of Americans” and a thrilling version of Bowie’s hit “Young Americans” with the song’s original legendary saxophone player David Sanborn. Up and coming singer/songwriter Jake Wesley Rogers commanded the stage with show-stopping takes of “Modern Love” and “Life on Mars?” along with Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas who performed “Changes” and a soaring “Heroes” encore.
The band was comprised of former Bowie alumni band members from throughout his legendary career, led by Mike Garson, who was the rock icon’s longest running and most frequently used band member. Other players included David Sanborn, Charlie Sexton, Alan Childs, Steve Elson, Mark Guiliana, Omar Hakim, Stan Harrison, Tim Lefebvre, Gerry Leonard, and Carmine Rojas.
Additional guest performers included Gaby Moreno, Gretchen Parlato, Joe Sumner, The Section Quartet, Billy Mohler, Max Gilbert, plus Kitten Kuroi, Maiya Sykes, and Jules Galli who sang with the band.
About Mike Garson
Universally respected for his impressive skills as a pianist, Mike Garson is a respected composer, performer and educator, as well. He is perhaps best known for his relationship with David Bowie which began in 1972 for Bowie’s first performances in the United States. Garson made his mark on dozens of Bowie albums and travelled thousands of miles with him on his world tours. In 2006, Mike accompanied Bowie for his final public American performance. In more recent years, Garson has headlined his critically acclaimed concert production “A Bowie Celebration” touring the world with fellow alumni band members of Bowie’s bands along with world-class vocalists. He is also the subject of the international bestselling biography of his life, “Bowie’s Piano Man – The Life of Mike Garson” by Clifford Slapper. Garson is as comfortable in jazz, classical, pop and the rock arena and is considered one of the world’s best improvisers who has also composed thousands of pieces in every imaginable style. He continues to be called into duty as the secret weapon behind billboard-topping, Grammy lauded albums, tours and longstanding artist success.
About Rolling Live Studios
Rolling Live Studios offers premiere access to concerts, curated private events, fundraisers and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From exclusive interviews, performances from both legendary and emerging artists, and celebrity-studded live-streamed events, experience the highest standard of audio and visual quality directly on your television or digital device. Rolling Live Studios encompasses a new model for all things entertainment. Since its inception, Rolling Live Studios has produced more than 150 live virtual events and helped raise over $30 million in donations for an array of charities. Recent credits include the City of Hope’s Song of Hope Gala honoring Smokey Robinson, (DE)TOUR Virtual Music Festival presented by Morrison Hotel Gallery, Chrysalis Night In – Virtual Gala, The Fine Art of Self Distancing with Jesse Malin, RWQuarantunes in collaboration with WME’s Richard Weitz, Motion Picture & Television Fund’s pre-Emmy’s awards event “The Evening Before,” The Oscars’ “The Night Before,” and multiple livestreams for The Recording Academy.
About Save the Children
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.