Before David Bowie’s family revealed that the iconic artist died Sunday, City Winery director and CEO Michael Dorf had planned a tribute concert at Carnegie Hall, honoring Bowie’s decades of music. The Roots, Cyndi Lauper, the Mountain Goats, and a band led by Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti would perform Bowie’s music at the New York City venue on March 31.
“The show will go on,” Dorf tells EW. He and his team, who have produced other tribute concerts at Carnegie Hall for artists like David Byrne, Prince, and Bruce Springsteen, have been planning the show for six or seven months.
“Obviously we thought we were going to be paying tribute to a living legend, and now we’ll be paying tribute to a legend who passed,” he says. The show’s proceeds will benefit charitable organizations like 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. “We know that music education was near and dear to David’s heart, so in that sense there’s a nice tie-in there.”
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Dorf says Bowie knew about the tribute show through Visconti, though it wasn’t clear if he had plans to attend.
Other announced performers include Jakob Dylan, Bettye LaVette, Ann Wilson of Heart, and Perry Farrell. “There’s no better analogy for these concerts,” Dorf says, “than being a kid in a candy shop. These artists look at every song and think, ‘What is a great interpretation? What is my personal connection to this music?’”
Though the full bill hasn’t yet been revealed, Dorf expects many more artists to jump at the chance to honor Bowie and his music. “This might be one of the only platforms for musicians who feel very touched by David to say goodbye in their own way.”
“This is obviously a tragic coincidence,” he adds. “This morning I woke up and listened to ‘Space Oddity.’ You can’t be a music fan and not understand how he’s connected to our collective conscious.”