How do you sum up a career like David Bowie's? It's pretty much impossible; with everything we've ever written about him, we've only ever just scratched the surface. Doing it in a brief televised performance? Even more impossible. Yet Lady Gaga went for it, and, man, she fucking went for it. She performed "Space Oddity" and "Changes" and "Rebel, Rebel" and "Let's Dance" and "Heroes." She had the Bowie orange hair look on lock, there was a dancing robotic keyboard, and Bowie's friend Niles Rodgers stepped in to help.
Here's the thing: There wouldn't be a Gaga without Bowie—there wouldn't be a lot of people. And her performance was, above all, a reminder of that. Gaga is, or at least has been at various points, the 21st century pop world's premier purveyor of wild, theatrical camp, and she was the person we needed to remember exactly what it was that made Bowie so exciting. And we got a performance that was full-on theater kid, pure over-the-top spectacle, the kind of thing that energizes familiar music and brings back its sense of wonder. Get Gaga a David Bowie Broadway revue. Take it to Vegas! Put it on Cee-Bee-Ess for the Grammy Awards, baby! She could be a hero, just for this one televised day:
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