David Bowie's death last month at the age of 69 inspired an outpouring of grief from every corner of the musical world. It was only fitting that tribute be paid at tonight's Grammy Awards, and Lady Gaga was the one to do it. Over the course of a six-plus-minute performance — one of the longest of the night — Gaga and Chic's Nile Rodgers (a Bowie collaborator) ran through nine distinct selections from Bowie's discography.
Gaga's performance was billed as "experiential" and "multisensory" in the run-up to the show, terms that ended up alluding to the heavy use of computer graphics, holography, and live video processing. She began the tribute with a snippet of "Space Oddity," one in which several Bowie guises melted and transformed her face in real time, and she strutted onto the stage to "Changes" before kicking into "Ziggy Stardust" and "Suffragette City." When she reached "Rebel Rebel," she disappeared behind a screen and yielded to a warped projection. (It seems like that partnership with Intel paid off.)
It was a burst of rock 'n' roll energy on a sleepy night
She shared the stage with dancers for "Fashion" and "Fame," and she performed "Let's Dance" back to back with Rodgers over 30 years after he helped write it. She closed the segment with an energetic, fleshed-out arrangement of "Heroes" — in the style of Born This Way, basically — and earned a standing ovation for her trouble.