For one special night, the spirit of late singer David Bowie was in the room at Metro thanks to a well-crafted sold-out event on March 4. A tribute was held celebrating the music of the icon while also benefiting cancer research, with some of the proceeds donated to the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Bowie passed away from liver cancer on Jan. 10 of this year just two days after releasing his final studio album, Blackstar.
The band Sons of the Silent Age kicked things off, obviously a stellar choice to play the Starman's songs following many tribute gigs in this same space over the years by the group. Chris Connelly, the Scottish lead singer, has been a fan of Bowie's work most of his life. At times he sounded hoarsemaybe because of the wide range of the material; then, he was pitch-perfect, at times channeling the talented musician.
He tackled the vocal gymnastics of songs like "Ashes to Ashes" and "Fashion" with colorful projections behind him. Known by many for the acts Ministry and the Revolting Cocks, Connelly showed he has the talent and experience to hold the attention of a crowd this large. A highlight was his rendition of "Under Pressure."
Later, singer Ava Cherry took the stage. She seemed right in her element after a little sound trouble on the microphone. She spoke of the first time she met Bowie before becoming his backing singer. Cherry then launched into her song "That's How Loneliness Goes." Connelly returned to sing "Young Americans" with her, taking the lead.
The big surprise for many was an appearance by Irish crooner Sinead O'Connor, who belted out "Life on Mars" and "Sorrowful" before exiting.
The Sons returned to finish out an evening that allowed David Bowie to be honored in the correct way by the people that loved him.
Photos and text by Jerry Nunn