Members of Arcade Fire threw a colourful, festive second line parade around New Orleans Saturday to memorialize one of their most prominent musical mentors, David Bowie.

The Grammy-winning Canadian band hosted the event — dubbed "Pretty Things" after the tune from Bowie's 1971 album Hunky Dory — alongside New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Hundreds of fans, many whom adhered to the request for Bowie-themed outfits, marched in the city's streets with members from both bands while performing Bowie music, including Heroes, Suffragette City and Rebel Rebel.


Bowie, 69, died last Sunday after an 18-month cancer battle.

Arcade Fire collaborated with Bowie on several occasions. The first was in 2005, when they performed a collection of their songs together during a fundraiser at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Bowie then contributed vocals on the title track of the band's 2013 album, Reflektor. Bowie reportedly liked the song so much that he threatened to steal it from the band, according to an interview with band member Richard Reed Parry in NME.

"David Bowie was one of the band's earliest supporters and champions. He not only created the world that made it possible for our band to exist, he welcomed us into it with grace and warmth," the band posted on Facebook after news of Bowie's death.

"We will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of our lives."

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler took charge of Saturday's parade, leading playful, upbeat renditions of Bowie tunes via a red megaphone. At one point, he stopped to yell "David Bowie is alive" several times to big cheers from parade-goers.

He later DJed from a nightclub balcony for people on the street below.

The parade came about in conversations between Preservation Hall creative director Ben Jaffe and Arcade Fire's Butler and Regine Chassagne. By chance, the group of musicians had been rehearsing the Bowie tune Modern Love together.

"It was a lot of fun to get together and riff on it," Jaffe said.

"That's the way Bowie would want us to celebrate. He would want people out in the street dancing."

Bus ride to Bowie

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, Bruce Springsteen began the encore of the first show of his current tour with a tribute to Bowie, leading the E Street Band through a version of Rebel, Rebel.

The two musicians had met more than once, including in late 1974 when Springsteen visited Bowie in a Philadelphia studio when the latter was recording what would become the Young Americans album.

"I took a Greyhound bus down to Philly, that's how early [in my career] it was," Springsteen laughed as he introduced the song.

Bowie in the mid-70s would end up recording two songs from Springsteen's debut album, Growin' Up and It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City, although they wouldn't show up on an official Bowie release until several years later.

With files from Associated Press