Entertainment & Arts

David Bowie death: London's Union Chapel hosts tribute concert

David Bowie tribute concert at Union Chapel in Islington, London Image copyright PA
Image caption A huge screen showed images of the star in his many guises, before the part gig, part remembrance service

The life of David Bowie has been celebrated with a tribute concert at a London chapel.

Hundreds of fans packed out Islington's Grade I-listed Union Chapel to pay homage to the 69-year-old musician who died of cancer on 10 January.

The service saw an eclectic mix of artists, including the Magic Numbers and ex-Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, perform the star's music.

Bowie's death was confirmed two days after he released his album Blackstar.

Since then, tribute concerts have taken place around the globe and scores of his hits have re-entered the UK charts.

Starman sing-a-long

Fans filled the small north London chapel as Bowie's best-known tunes, played by an organ, echoed around the hall.

A huge screen showed images of the star in his many guises, before the part gig, part remembrance service kicked off with a rousing mass sing-along of Starman.

Maggi Ronson, sister of late Bowie guitarist and collaborator Mick Ronson, was joined by The Featherz to sing Ziggy Stardust, paying tribute to Bowie's "massive influence".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Fans stood and sang along to Bowie's hit Starman
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many fans painted their faces with Bowie's trademark Aladdin Sane lightning bolt

Guy Pratt, a former bass player for Pink Floyd and Roxy Music, told the audience that Bowie was the "greatest artist I've known in my lifetime", before performing Life on Mars with members of The Feeling.

The gig, streamed live on YouTube, saw a marathon five hours of Bowie's hits performed, interspersed with clips of the star's interviews and music videos, and readings and tributes by journalists, authors and those who worked with him.

There were Bowie-esque quirky moments too, as Where Are We Now? was performed on a saw and Wild Is the Wind was strummed on the harp.

'Greatest tunesmith'

Flowers and candles adorned the dimly-lit, smoky hall, which is a working church and music and comedy venue.

At the back, a wall of remembrance saw fans, many sporting Bowie's trademark Aladdin Sane lightning bolt, post personal tributes and messages.

One said: "Thank you for giving my son the freedom to be himself." Another: "RIP David, the soundtrack to my life."

One read: "You left amazing music with us forever and you will always be remembered."

Image copyright PA

Comedian David Baddiel told the audience: "I assumed Bowie was immortal. I thought he was a space god who had come to live amongst us. And I couldn't process that he had died...

"He is, was, the greatest tunesmith we have."

'For fans, by fans'

Organisers said the event was a chance for those who were "inspired, influenced or touched" by Bowie's work to pay tribute.

One, Neil Lindsay, said it was "for fans by fans".

"He's been around all our lives but he's still as relevant and interesting now. You can't say that about all artists who become legends," said Mr Lindsay.

"He was still innovating even in the way he said goodbye."

Tickets had been priced at £4 to cover the show's costs, organisers said, while a collection for MacMillan Cancer Support raised more than £2,000.

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