Exactly two people can pull off David Bowie’s iconic neon shock of a painted thunderbolt with aplomb. The first, the legend himself, is no longer with us, devastatingly enough. Thankfully, the second, Lady Gaga, did him justice by offering up a tribute of his life’s work in spectacular fashion at the 58th Grammy Awards.
The task of summing up an extraordinary career in a matter of minutes was no small feat, but Lady Gaga breezed through a medley of Bowie’s greatest hits in a manner that was sharp, concise, and jaw-droppingly good. She rolled up to the Staples Center with a shock of orange hair and otherworldy garb fit for Ziggy Stardust himself. While she nailed the aesthetic before she hit the stage, that was nothing compared to her vocal acrobatics and sure feet as she navigated an arc that brought us from “Space Oddity” to “Fame” to an utterly resplendent (albeit brief) take on “Heroes,” all with Nile Rodgers overseeing the pristinely controlled chaos with guitar in hand. It was (fittingly) lightning-quick, and had the honor been handed off to a lesser talent, it likely would’ve crashed and burned before it had the chance to begin, given the blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em transitions and rapid-fire delivery of the set. With Gaga’s sky-high belt and theatrical intensity, an ambitious six-minute blitz through Bowie’s most beloved hits couldn’t have been more tailor-made for this poignant tribute.
Watch Lady Gaga’s Grammy tribute to David Bowie below: