David Bowie’s spectacular 50th birthday concert is the one thing you should watch today

Featuring Lou Reed, Foo Fighters, Sonic Youth, The Cure's Robert Smith, Billy Corgan, and more


Photo by Ron Frehm/AP

    21 years ago today, David Bowie turned 50 years old and he celebrated in style with a concert at Madison Square Garden. It was a star-studded affair with guest appearances from many of his famous friends and was aired as a per-per-view TV special with a DVD release shortly after. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can relive the experience on what would have been Thin White Duke’s 71st birthday.

    The show’s first guest was Pixes front Frank Black, who joined Bowie on “Scary Monster” and “Fashion”. The Cure’s Robert Smith, Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, and members of the Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth all joined him on stage throughout the evening.

    Lou Reed, one of Bowie’s biggest influences and music heroes, was the most significant guest. After the pair performed Bowie’s tribute to Velvet Underground, “Queen Bitch”, they followed up by performing three songs written by Reed: “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Dirty Boulevard” and “White Light/White Heat”.


    Watch the concert above and check out the setlist below.

    David Bowie setlist:
    Little Wonder
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) [with Frank Black]
    Fashion (with Frank Black)
    Telling Lies
    Hallo Spaceboy (with Foo Fighters)
    Seven Years in Tibet (with Dave Grohl)
    The Man Who Sold the World
    The Last Thing You Should Do (with Robert Smith)
    Quicksand (with Robert Smith)
    Battle for Britain (The Letter)
    The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
    I’m Afraid of Americans (with Sonic Youth)
    Looking for Satellites
    Under Pressure (Queen cover)
    Queen Bitch (with Lou Reed)
    I’m Waiting for the Man (The Velvet Underground cover) [with Lou Reed]
    Dirty Blvd. (Lou Reed cover) [with Lou Reed]
    White Light/White Heat (The Velvet Underground cover) [with Lou Reed]
    Moonage Daydream

    Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill cover) [Performed by Gail Ann Dorsey]
    All the Young Dudes (with Billy Corgan)
    The Jean Genie (with Billy Corgan)
    Space Oddity

    Earlier today, a demo of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” recorded with Nile Rodgers was released in honor of his birthday.

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