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A Parade For Bowie This Saturday In New Orleans


Arcade Fire and David Bowie


I don’t think David Bowie ever lived in New Orleans, did he? But this is the place where a parade to honor the fallen rock star will take place this Saturday. Arcade Fire and Preservation Hall Jazz Band have decided to pay tribute to Bowie with a second line parade through the streets of the Big Easy.

‘Dress in your best Bowie outfit or something more strange and meet us at 4pm on Saturday, January 16th at Preservation Hall (726 St. Peter St., NOLA) to parade,’ you can read on the event’s Facebook page followed by a Bowie quote: ‘The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time’

Arcade Fire may perform a few Bowie songs – we can only hope for this – as the Montreal band has, of course, collaborated with Bowie a few times. The first one was a memorable rendition of ‘Wake Up’, in addition to ‘Life on Mars?’ and ‘Five Years’, during the 2005 Fashion Rocks concert,… which has to be one of Bowie’s last live performances ever – he only played a private Aids benefit held in New York in 2006. Bowie also appeared on Arcade Fire’s 2013 album ‘Reflektor’, which certainly demonstrates a real reciprocal interest. Arcade Fire’s frontman Win Butler talked about his privileged relationship with the famous rockstar:

‘David Bowie was one of the band’s earliest supporters and champions. He not only created the world that made it possible for our band to exist, he welcomed us into it with grace and warmth. I will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of my life. A true artist even in his passing, the world is more bright and mysterious because of him, and we will continue to shout prayers into the atmosphere he created.’

One of the great things about Bowie, was his generosity toward other artists, and in particular young artists like Arcade Fire. Scarlett Johansson also got some help from Bowie for backing vocals on two songs off her tribute album to Tom Waits, Placebo was a young band when they supported him on tour at his demand and they even recorded a duet together. Bowie also helped TV on the Radio, actually Dave Sitek received a call by the famous singer asking to meet the group and Sitek hung up on him convinced it was a prank… although the result was ‘Province’, a duet on the band’s 2006 album ‘Return To Cookie Mountain’. Bowie also attended a private performance by Grandaddy, and the indie band from Modesto got the shock of their lives when the Thin White Duke decided to meet them backstage once. There are certainly many other examples, so why not celebrating? A parade could be the least young bands could do in return.

And in case you were wondering why they picked New Orleans, the parade came about in conservations between Preservation Hall’s creative director Ben Jaffe and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. Both bands had been rehearsing ‘Modern Love together:

‘It was a lot of fun to get together and riff on it, and I thought maybe we could play a couple songs at the Hall, and it was really Win and Regine who said we need to parade,’ Jaffe said to Nola.  ‘That’s the way Bowie would want us to celebrate. With theater and tradition and music. He would want people out in the street dancing.’

‘People, musicians and artists like David Bowie — there are only a handful of people that touch such a broad spectrum of people, and it’s amazing to me,’ he added. ‘As interesting and peculiar and unique as his music is … that speaks volumes to who he is and was as an artist, and he had a special connection to New Orleans music, and you can hear it.’… His last album ‘Blackstar’ is all about jazz, or at least jazz, Bowie’s way, so suddenly New Orleans seems so natural.

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