I remember the night I learned it all was happening.
I was riding an Uber from Hoboken back into the city. I had just played a solo acoustic show at Northern Soul. It was the day we learned of Prince’s passing. I was sharing the Uber with Jaime de Jesus, mastermind of ALEO Productions and also the man who not only booked me for the night but also ran the soundboard.
He said, “Hey man, I’m putting together a tribute for David Bowie. It’s going to be on the waterfront. We’ll have the Manhattan skyline in the background. The sun will be going down. It’s going to be extraordinary. You should be part of it.”
How couldn’t I?
“Oh… And instead of doing the thing where I have a core backing band and then swap out the singers, I’m going to open it up. I want to feature everyone… the full breadth of this music community.”
It was then that I knew this man had to be insane. Not only is he trying to put together a tribute to a brilliant and musically-challenging artist, but he’s also trying to organize the entire music community? Just thinking about getting a rehearsal scheduled made my head spin, let alone how we were going to orchestrate the changes during the performance. Each drummer will have to use the same exact setup… there’s no time to make adjustments when we would be constantly swapping!
But wow, did it happen. The community pulled together and more than 35 musicians paid tribute to the music of David Bowie in front of the most beautiful skyline there is. It was an amazing display of community, artistry, and camaraderie. I felt proud to be part of something so special.
Here is the final song of the evening, “Young Americans,” where the role of backing vocals was assigned to EVERYONE. So here we are. Everyone involved in the performance on stage at once. Enjoying the moment.
If the embed doesn’t appear above, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH53Bl85Ikg
And here are some more pics from the night, courtesy of Capacity Images.