New York City’s Carnegie Hall hosted a tribute concert for the late David Bowie at the beginning of April and Michael Stipe was among the performers. He performed “Ashes To Ashes” alongside Karen Elson, backed by Paul Cantelon on piano. Stipe published a brief reflection on how it felt to honor Bowie at the event via R.E.M.’s website:
To play carnegie hall and radio city music hall is, in itself, a huge honor–they are incredible venues each with incredible histories. for carnegie in particular, i wanted the room to be the main instrument. its reverberation and energy is profoundly weighted and airy all at once—it can transform music into something holy— so that informed our arrangement choices for ‘ashes to ashes’. radio city music hall is a way different room, but equally resonant. it was two stunning evenings, hearing songs that i grew up with, all contributors honoring the output of such an astonishing songwriter. for myself, including the performance on the tonight show starring jimmy fallon, in one week i got to interpret and perform two of my top 20 favorite songs of all time. a giant thank you is due to especially paul cantelon and karen elson for their help in pulling this off–and to shlomo lipetz and michael dorf for including me, paul and karen.
Watch a video of his performance below and read a recap of the concert here.