Sure, Lady Gaga is a more than suitable artist to pay tribute to David Bowie. There’s no shortage of glam and flash and sass and songcraft in her work, she’s got pipes to die for, and in a way she’s like a grandchild of Ziggy Stardust — arguably the first admittedly self-manufactured superstar – if you consider Madonna Ziggy’s daughter.
Yet even with a stellar backing band led by Nile Rodgers – who produced Bowie’s multi-platinum Let’s Dance album – a Bowie tribute before an audience of millions is no cakewalk. The man had one of the most versatile and powerful voices in pop history, and his songs are filled with melodic twists and odd chord structures. Getting a tattoo to show your devotion is all well and good, but that’s not going to help hit those notes.
But Gaga loves a challenge, and she was more than up to the job. Racing through a multi-song medley that roared through 9 of Bowie’s best-known songs in six minutes — “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Suffragette City,” “Rebel, Rebel,” “Fashion,” “Fame,” “Let’s Dance,” and “Heroes,” with a tiny guitar lick of “Under Pressure.”
She kept it to his classic era – the most recent song was 1983’s “Let’s Dance – and wrapped, inevitably, with a soaring “Heroes” that earned a standing ovation.