About halfway through John's performance at the intimate Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles Wednesday night, he shared a story about Bowie, who died earlier this week.
John said that many years ago, he was looking for a new producer and arranger to work with, "then I heard a record which blew me away called 'Space Oddity.' "
John hired Bowie's collaborators to work on his breakthrough hit, "Your Song."
"I have David Bowie to thank for that," John said. "So I'd like to dedicate this to the star man himself."
With that, John began a rich, layered cover of "Space Oddity" before launching into "Rocket Man."
Amid a set filled with hits and guest appearances by such artists as Demi Lovato and Shawn Mendes, John also debuted several songs from his forthcoming album, "Wonderful Crazy Night," an experience he called "nerve-wracking." The album comes out on Feb. 5.
"Playing new songs for the first time is a terrifying feeling," he said. "Thank you for being so patient."