why lorde's tribute to david bowie was perfect

The New Zealand singer gave an emotional performance at last night's Brit Awards in London.

by Matthew Whitehouse
25 February 2016, 10:50pm

Whether David Bowie would have even wanted a tribute is questionable. For a man who, during the 1970s, was the most exhilarating, transformative, lock up your daughters/sons/everything in between pop star on the planet he didn't half spend the latter years of his life giving the impression of someone who'd rather not cause a fuss. Yet, with the annual Brit awards rolling into town just seven weeks following the singer's death, a fuss is what he was inevitably going to get - which is why it was great to see the Brits played it just right.

Taking on one of his best, most vivid songs, it fell to New Zealand's Lorde - a singer whom Bowie once described as "like listening to tomorrow" when they met in 2013 - to deliver an emotional performance of 1971's Life On Mars?. Bathed in red light and backed by Bowie's last touring band of Mike Garson on piano, Gail Anne Dorsey on bass, Gerry Leonard and Earl Slick on guitars (Earl having worked with the singer since the Diamond Dogs tour in 1974), it was both touching and tasteful, with Lorde in a full Thin White Duke regalia - an outfit so iconic it seemed in danger of swallowing her up (until she swallowed up the entire room instead).

Just as Bowie, for that almost decade long high-water mark, acutely reflected the fractured world around him, so too Lorde, with all her twitchiness, her angles, her ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, acutely reflects the world around her too. If this really is what tomorrow sounds like, we're in safe hands. 

david bowie
Brit Awards