The Who honour ‘friend and brilliant innovator’ David Bowie at New York gig

Band describe late singer as 'a true icon of music and art'

The Who paid tribute to David Bowie during their New York concert at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night (March 3).

Bowie, who passed away in January at the age of 69, was a well-known fan of the band. Following his death, guitarist Pete Townshend described the late musician as a “monumental figurehead of the British arts scene”.

Mashable journalist Yohana Desta posted a photo from The Who’s New York gig showing a projection shown during the show.


The message on the sceen read: “David Bowie. Friend of The Who. Son of New York. Tonight we will distinctly miss David Bowie, longtime fan of The Who. He’s told the story of how he climbed the fence at London’s Roundhouse to sneak backstage and give Pete Townshend a copy of his new 1969 album, David Bowie. He covered ‘I Can’t Explain’ and ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ on his Pin Ups album. Nearly every year at MSG, he sat in the first row right beside the stage. We’ll miss our friend, a true icon of music and art, and a brilliant innovator.”

See the message in the photo beneath.

The Who are currently touring to mark their 50th anniversary, what is widely regarded as their final full touring stint.


After Bowie’s death, Townshend wrote on the band’s official website: “Woke up to the awful news that my lovely friend David Bowie passed away. I am so deeply sad, but he just completed a radical and audacious new album, and that is a great thing. Personally I am grateful to him for doing it.”

“For those who were his fans he was a charismatic and exotic creature and still gloriously beautiful even as he approached 70. But face to face he was funny, clever, well-read, excited by the arts, and really good company.”


“In a Japanese restaurant we once ate tiny live crabs sent over to our table by a businessman fan. David said we must try, out of courtesy. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone else on the planet. Delicious, of course.”

“He was simply a joy to be around, so good at making everyone feel at ease. I’m sorry to hear it was cancer that got him. I knew he had been ill for several years but didn’t know the details. My thoughts now go to his family and close ones, and to so many of his fans who will be beyond distraught today. We have lost a monumental figurehead of the British arts scene. We have also lost a wonderful clown whose combined sense of mischief and creativity delightedly touched our hearts. David Bowie was my Salvador Dali. He was also one facet of my perfect Ace Face.”

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