Lady Gaga's appalling tribute to David Bowie at the Grammys (whenever they were) got taken to pop star school at the Brit Awards Tuesday night by Lorde, with the help of Bowie's final road band.
The band moved through an expertly arranged two-minute medley of the instrumental bits of hits—"Space Oddity," "Rebel Rebel" (the little guitar hiccup just made it feel all the more live, "Let's Dance," "Ashes to Ashes," "Ziggy Stardust," "Fame," "Under Pressure," and "Heroes," while film of the man himself was projected overhead. They only played a couple-few bars of each, just enough to tickle the emotional memory and make you marvel (AGAIN!) at his incredible versatility, leading up to a stately, masterful performance of "Life on Mars" in its entirety.
The Gaga medley had a chintzy, Donnie and Marie quality (which Bowie himself probably would have dug) which only highlighted the fact that she wasn't really up to the job of singing those songs; she just liked wearing the outfit, doing the steps. Beep beep. Lorde, still a teenager, sang "Life On Mars" like a lion sings a zebra, a turn that makes you want to sing along, but you're too busy shutting up, and remembering, oh yes, that Bowie's death remains a very intense specter, not easily dismissed, or assimilated, and never to be forgotten. Compare videos below: