LL Cool J, Polo G, Barry Manilow, Santana & more played Central Park show cut short (pics, video)
Saturday's big, Clive Davis-produced We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert was evacuated and ultimately cancelled because of severe weather before Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Patti Smith, The Killers, Elvis Costello, or Maluma got to perform, but up until that point, the "mega-concert," held on Central Park's Great Lawn for vaccinated attendees, 80% of whom got free tickets (along with many more streaming it live on CNN), was running along smoothly. It began with the New York Philharmonic performing an NYC-centric medley that included parts of "Rhapsody in Blue," "New York, New York," "New York State of Mind," "Overture to Candide," and more, and also included performances from Andrea Bocelli (who sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "O Sole Mio"), Jennifer Hudson (singing "Nessun dorma"), Carlos Santana (who was joined by Wyclef Jean for "Maria Maria" and Rob Thomas for their 1999 hit "Smooth" and new single "Move"), Julia Michaels and JP Saxe (playing "If The World was Ending"), Journey (who played "Any Way You Want It" and "Don't Stop Believing"), Jon Batiste (who played "FREEDOM"), Kane Brown (who played "Homesick" and "Be Like That"), Polo G (performing "RAPSTAR"), and Earth, Wind and Fire (who played "You Want My Love" with Babyface and Lucky Daye and "September").
A particular highlight of the evening was a decades-spanning hip hop medley, that included Melle Mel and Scorpio (doing "The Message"), Fat Joe, French Montana and Remy Ma (doing "All The Way Up" and "Lean Back"), Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star (doing "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See"), A Boogie (doing "Look Back At It"), and LL Cool J (doing "Mama Said Knock You Out," "It's Tricky" with Rev. Run, and "Rock The Bells" with the whole group).
Barry Manilow had sang "Copacabana," and "Mandy," and was partway through "Can't Smile Without You," when the call came to shut down the show. The next song he would've sang, fittingly, was to have been "I Made It Through the Rain."
In the confusion that followed the call to evacuate, Mayor Bill de Blasio went onstage to suggest that the show would continue, while CNN broadcast call-ins from Barry Manilow, Elvis Costello, and Patti Smith, and an impromptu acoustic dressing room performance of "Mr. Brightside" from The Killers. While Davis and his son had reportedly been in talks for the show to continue without an audience after 10 PM, it was officially cancelled around 10:30.
See pictures and video from the whole show below.
photos by Toby Tenenbaum