We’ve seen more than our share of David Bowie covers and tributes since the icon’s unexpected passing in January, but few do justice to the legend and legacy of the man quite the way Michael Stipe has.
The former R.E.M. frontman, who has scheduled a rare solo performance on March 31st and April 1st as part of the Music of David Bowie memorial concerts, visited The Tonight Show on Tuesday to deliver a stunning rendition of Bowie’s beloved 1970 track “The Man Who Sold the World”.
Accompanied only by a piano, the cover is breathtaking. Stripped to just an accompanying piano, Stipe wears the track like a long-hidden tailored suit of a stranger that happens to fit him perfectly.
The Carnegie Hall event will see performances by The Roots, Cyndi Lauper, the Mountain Goats, Heart’s Ann Wilson, Perry Farrell and Jakob Dylan, with all proceeds from the show benefitting Young Audiences New York, Little Kids Rock, Church Street School of Music, the Center for Arts Education, the American Symphony Orchestra and Grammy in the Schools.
A second night will include Stipe, Pixies, Cat Power, Mumford & Sons, the Flaming Lips and Blondie, April 1st at Radio City Music Hall. Stipe will perform at both the Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall gigs, which will be live-streamed at MusicOfDavidBowie.com.
“The unexpected death of David Bowie has made this tribute to him into a memorial concert,” organizers wrote on the concert’s official site. “While the series has had the surprise appearances and performances of the honoree several times in the past, this one will certainly become a poignant honor of his music by his friends, peers, and fans. We are all deeply saddened at this news, the timing of our public on-sale bizarre in its timing, and the show is taking on many more emotions. RIP David and may gods love be with you.”