The 58-year-old Bowie joined the band at the end of their concert in Central Park, and the audience roared at the sight of the rock icon.
In town for New York Fashion Week, Bowie took the stage in a white jacket and pants — which stood in stark contrast to Arcade Fire's all-black attire. After performing a song of his own with the group, Bowie strapped on an acoustic guitar and joined Arcade Fire's Win Butler in singing the band's "Wake Up."
It was just Bowie's second performance since having a heart attack last year. Last week, he and Arcade Fire played at the Fashion Rocks concert.
Bowie earlier explained his comeback, "I told them I'd only do it if they got Arcade Fire to perform. They're fantastic."
The Montreal-based band, whose debut last year, "Funeral," wowed critics, is currently on tour. Thursday night's sold-out show was part of the CMJ Music Marathon (search) for indie bands.