College Street Music Hall Celebrates David Bowie

Emma Dinnan

Picture this, College Street Music Hall is packed on a Friday night, as I sit in my seat hearing the sound of David Bowie’s “Fame” being played live I look around me to take in the crowd. In front of me is a couple I would put in their 70s dancing. This is a memory I will never forget, the joy in their eyes and the love they feel for one another as they sing and dance along to the music will forever stick with me. Sophia McCarthy and I are most definitely the youngest people who willingly chose to come here and were not dragged along by their parents. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way, the over-40 crowd added to the incredible experience that was “Celebrating David Bowie.”

 Following David Bowie’s death in January of 2016, Angelo “Scrote” Bundini put together a group of talented musicians and people who had worked with Bowie to perform a four hour tribute show. It was titled “Celebrating David Bowie.” This was intended to be a one-time event, but the sold-out show received such high praise the band decided to continue to perform. Eventually, the band went on tour in 2017 and completed a world tour in 2018. These shows were filled with special guests and full orchestras of musicians devoting their time to their love of David Bowie.

 On Friday, Oct. 21, I saw the 2022 tour, one brought together by Scrote and popular ​​multi-instrumentalist Todd Rundgren at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut. I grew up listening to many songs by David Bowie, but I had never been a super fan. I knew the basics and I, of course, had some favorites, but overall I really had no idea what to expect going into this show. But as the lights dimmed and I began to hear the instrumentals of the song “Sound and Vision” play out, I knew it was going to be a good night.

 The night was filled with high-energy performances by Rundgren and other lead special guests. These special guests consist of Fishbone’s Angelo Moore and popular guitarist Adrian Belew who not only played alongside Bowie, but was the 1990 Sound and Vision Tour music director. I was thoroughly impressed with the sheer amount of Bowie songs that I was familiar with having never known they were his. The two-hour long show kept the audience entertained as it switched off lead singers every song.

 The voices of Rundgren, Moore and Belew, although all very different, all fit perfectly to bring the spirit of Bowie to the music hall. Rundgren and Belew also showed off their incredible guitar skills with numerous solos and popular riffs. Moore did something quite different, though. Moore impressed the crowd with not only his talented saxophone playing, but he brought out a not as popular instrument – the theremin. The theremin is an instrument consisting of two metal antennas that use the frequency and amplitude of one’s hands to make sound. This instrument is incredibly difficult to play and Moore was able to bring out the other-worldy space sound that encompassed Bowie’s music.

 As the night came to a close, the band returned to the stage for an encore to perform Bowie’s infamous song “Heroes.” As all the special guests came together to perform the hit, the crowd stood and sang along. It was magical. Getting to see the people around me relive their younger years is a very surreal experience. I have to wonder, how many of these people got to see David Bowie live at some point? Being surrounded by such energy is extremely uplifting. The crowd was happy and singing and dancing the whole show. Being able to see the joy that radiated from the crowd will make this night one I will never forget.

 The venue of College Street Music Hall was absolutely perfect for the event. It allowed for a large crowd, yet an intimate show. I felt as though the artists were able to see and feel the energy from the crowd and play off of it all thanks to the structure of the venue.