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Bowie tribute concerts draw thousands to New York's Carnegie Hall, Radio City

Two tribute concerts dedicated to music legend David Bowie are taking place in New York. With a star-studded line-up, the gigs sold out within hours of being announced.

Global artists including Cyndi Lauper and former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe opened the first of two tribute shows dedicated to honoring the work of David Bowie. The initial event was held at New York's legendary

Carnegie Hall

on Thursday, and was designed to raise money for charities in support of support music education in schools.

The second show is scheduled for Friday, April 1, and will be held at Radio City Music Hall, another leading venue in Bowie's adopted home city of New York. It is due to feature artists including Mumford and Sons, Blondie, Bette Midler and many others.

Uncanny timing

The timing of the concerts happened to involve an uncanny coincidence: The benefit concert at Carnegie Hall had been planned well ahead of Bowie's death at the beginning of this year. The organizers behind the annual benefit concert for music education, now in its 13th year, happened to choose to focus on the work of Bowie as their theme this year.

David Bowie

Bowie had released his last album just days before his death, keeping his illness hidden from the public eye

They publicly announced the gig in January - just hours before Bowie's family announced that the rock star had died on January 10. Within two hours, the concert sold out, with the high demand for tickets resulting in the second show being added for the next day at Radio City Music Hall.

After Bowie's death many artists who were originally invited to perform said they wanted to be part of the event, but organizers apparently didn't have enough room, having to turn some away, said the show's producer Michael Dorf.

"We felt kind of awkward because we are usually so humbly grateful to anyone who wants to participate in this," he said.

David Bowie was one of the most influential artists in pop history. He

died after an undisclosed battle with cancer

on January 10.

ss/jr (AP, AFP)

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