Tag Archives: Jon Batiste

Musical Stars Come Out –Until the Rain – for ‘We Love NYC Homecoming Concert’ in Central Park – Here’s a Photo Replay

New Yorkers celebrate recovering from the coronavirus pandemic with a “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” on the Great Lawn in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

Despite being cut short midway through, the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park on Saturday, August 21, was a huge success, having brought together an estimated 60,000 enthusiastic, vaccinated New Yorkers to be entertained by an A-plus list of performers, as eclectic and diverse as New York City.

New Yorkers displayed their trademark hospitality and resiliency in being packed together on the Great Lawn in a way they haven’t been allowed to for the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enjoying Carlos Santana at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” on the Great Lawn in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Gayle King of CBS pointed to the day that COVID-19 pandemic became real to her: when she heard of a nurse who reused her mask by turn it inside out and used a garbage bag because there was no more PPE.

“New Yorkers found a way – we were the epicenter of the virus, now the epicenter of recovery. There is a way out, even if it takes a while. We’re done with COVID but COVID is not done with us. Stay strong,” before telling the crowd assembled on Central Park’s Great Lawn to “party New York style.”

Marin Alsop conducts the New York Philharmonic to open the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” on the Great Lawn in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The concert opened with the New York Philharmonic playing a new “New York Medley” arranged by William Ross of composers and music celebrating New York City, New York’s iconic orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop, accompanied tenor mega-star Andrea Bocelli who sang Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and Italy’s standard,  “O Sol Omio.”

Tenor Andrea Bocelli performs at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” on the Great Lawn in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Then the Philharmonic closed its set with its first-ever collaboration with Jennifer Hudson — winner of honors including Academy and Grammy Awards and the star of the new Aretha Franklin biopic — who rather than singing Aretha’s famous ,”Respect,” thrilled the audience (and the orchestra) by singing an opera aria, Nessun dorma from Puccini’s Turandot, which the Queen of Soul herself once sang on the Grammys. (Did not see that coming).

Jennifer Hudson thrilled the audience by singing an opera aria, Nessun dorma, with the New York Philharmonic at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Jennifer Hudson thrilled the audience by singing an opera aria, Nessun dorma, with the New York Philharmonic at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Jennifer Hudson thrilled the audience by singing an opera aria, Nessun dorma, with the New York Philharmonic at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Then began a stunning parade of legendary performers presenting a full spectrum of musical genres and tastes. That was intentional, said producer Clive Davis.

Clive Davis, who produced the We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 in conjunction with New York City and Live Nation, says the program intentionally tapped a full spectrum of musical genres © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Carlos Santana; Rob Thomas; Journey; Earth, Wind & Fire; Jon Batiste; Hip Hop starsSpliff Star, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, LL Cool J, French Montana and Remy Ma; country singer Kane Brown; Julia Michaels; Polo G performing music they are best known for.

Carlos Santana performs at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Fat Joe and Remy Ma perform at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rev Run joins LL Cool J on stage at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
LL Cool J performs at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Kane Brown brings country to the city at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Barry Manilow had just sat at the piano, about to begin “I Made It Through the Rain” around 7:30 pm when an announcer cut in, telling the crowd to leave the park immediately due to impending dangerous weather.

That left headliners Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and The Killers among the performers cut off.

But a light rain quickly turned into a downpour that flooded city streets, and there was thunder and lightning and one could only imagine what would have happened if they did not begin moving people out when they did.

“While it’s disappointing that tonight’s concert had to end early, the safety of everyone in attendance had to come first,” Mayor Bill DeBlasio tweeted. “To everyone who came out tonight: thank you. Thank you for showing the world that New York City is coming back stronger than ever before.”

Jon Batiste gives a spirited performance of “Freedom” at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Jon Batiste gives a spirited performance of “Freedom” at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Earth, Wind & Fire thrill the audience at the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here’s the full list of concert performers:

Jon Batiste
Andrea Bocelli
Kane Brown
LL COOL J
Elvis Costello
Lucky Daye
Earth, Wind & Fire
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds
Cynthia Erivo
Jimmy Fallon
Jennifer Hudson
Wyclef Jean
Journey
The Killers
Gayle King
Don Lemon
Barry Manilow
The New York Philharmonic
Polo G
Carlos Santana
Paul Simon
Patti Smith
Bruce Springsteen
Rob Thomas
Maluma

New York City’s biggest cheerleaders, US Senator Chuck Schumer, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and Stephen Colbert also addressed the crowd with an upbeat message of New Yorkers having come through one of its worst crises and looking to a brighter future.

US Senator Chuck Schumer cheers for New York City’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray were hopeful the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” would be able to finish before the rain, but unfortunately, the concert was ended half way through before the first clap of thunder © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Stephen Colbert cheers for New York City’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Concern that the celebration might be premature given the resurgence of the Delta variant and breakthrough infections among vaccinated was set aside, at least for the evening, as the music got underway.

The concert was for the most part free (plus Ticketmaster fees), but people could pay for VIP packages (with premium location, VIP entrance, private restrooms, concessions with specialty food and drink options) and premium seating, and as the concert got underway, there were rumors of tickets going for as much as $5000.

An appreciative audience of some 60,000 vaccinated New Yorkers attended the “We Love NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, Saturday, August 21, 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Central Park concert was the climax to a week of free concerts in the boroughs: The free concerts, livestreamed by Behind The Rhyme on Twitch, were held:

●       Monday, August 16th, 3:00 p.m. at Orchard Beach in The Bronx

●       Tuesday, August 17th, 4:00 p.m. at Midland Beach on Staten Island

●       Thursday, August 19th, 4:00 p.m. at Brooklyn Army Terminal in Brooklyn

●       Friday, August 20th, 4:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens

See also:

NYC HONORS HEALTH CARE, ESSENTIAL WORKERS WHO BRAVED COVID-19 WITH TICKER TAPE PARADE THROUGH CANYON OF HEROES

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