Ever since R.E.M. parted ways a few years ago, Michael Stipe has mostly shied away from the spotlight. But he’s taking part in this weekend’s David Bowie tribute concerts at Carnegie Hall. And last night, he brought his massive new Rasputin beard to The Tonight Show, making his debut TV performance as a solo artist. With only a pianist backing him up, Stipe sang “The Man Who Sold The World,” Bowie’s oft-covered classic, and he did it as an impressionist hymn. We don’t always think of Stipe as a great pure singer, but this is a really nice performance, tingly and beautifully sung. There are some high notes toward the end that are just crystalline. Watch the performance below.
You can find all the info on those Bowie tribute shows here.