The weekend saw two international live-streamed musical events celebrating the work of two musicians very recently passed away, on whose music and careers each had a huge impact.
In Britain, the Royal Albert Hall hosted Bowie Proms, as part of the regular Summer Proms season, bringing the rock god firmly into the establishment. Overly-respectful string arrangements of Bowie hits were performed by luminaries great, small and sometimes totally tuneless. So reverential were proceedings you longed for the intrusion of the laughing gnome himself to laugh uproariously at the goings on. Only John Cale really pushed out the boat away from the pious and into the seas of the more unpredictable. [Check out the YOuTube pages of the BBC Proms and RWNBTwA for most of the performances.]
But it was still fun, even if I couldn’t help wishing John Cale was across the Atlantic playing instead at the Lou Reed day sponsored by the Lincoln Center, and curated by Reed’s widow Laurie Anderson. If Bowie and Reed had a huge impact on each other, then Cale on Reed’s was far more.
And if the Albert Hall Bowie was reverential, this was anything but.
And the hardly uncommon bum note hardly seemed to matter at all.
PS: Stick to the end of Part 2 if you want to check out the poetry readings.