Image: Singer and actor David Bowie is shown on screen as singer Dave Grohl performs during the In Memoriam segment at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Musicians joined David Bowie fans at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Thursday night for the first of two sold-out benefit concerts paying tribute to the late veteran rock star.
Singers including Blondie’s Debbie Harry and former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe belted out the pop chameleon’s famous hits during the two-hour event commemorating Bowie who died from cancer in January at the age of 69.
Cyndi Lauper kicked things off with “Suffragette City” while The Flaming Lips’ singer Wayne Coyne performed “Life on Mars?” dressed in a suit adorned with lights while sitting on the shoulders of a “Star Wars” Chewbacca figure.
Harry paid tribute to Bowie with “Starman”, Stipe performed a melodic version of “Ashes to Ashes” with Karen Elson while American singer Bettye LaVette sang “It Ain’t Easy”.
Other Bowie hits such as “Rebel Rebel” and “Let’s Dance” had the crowd dancing and the show wrapped up with a children’s choir and the audience singing “Space Oddity”.
“God bless David Bowie,” singer Jakob Dylan said after his rendition of “Heroes”.
The Carnegie Hall benefit concert, an annual event celebrating singers to raise money for music education for underprivileged children, was announced just hours before news of Bowie’s death and tickets sold out quickly.
A second show will be held at Radio City Music Hall on Friday.
(Reporting By Alicia Powell in New York; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London)
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