David Bowie made a brief cameo on Arcade Fire’s 2013 album, Reflektor, but it wasn’t the first time the two acts had teamed up. During a 2005 Fashion Rocks event at Radio City Music Hall, the late music legend joined Arcade Fire for a stirring performance of “Wake Up”, rallying vocals, electrified stage presence and all.
The live collaboration was more than just a surprise treat for those in attendance, though — for Bowie, who’d been rather dormant since suffering a heart attack in Germany a year earlier, the affair was something of an especially triumphant return. To this day, it serves as one of the last few times the Thin White Duke appeared on-stage.
“It’s like meeting a mentor, someone who has navigated pop and experimental stuff. There are very few role models you can point to who have success like that,” Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler said in 2013 of their Reflektor collaboration. “Many artists get lost chasing success and end up killing what brought them success in the first place.”