Just once you thought we have been able to fall again in love with large stay concert events once more — Hurricane Henri had different plans for New York City.
The ominous HH washed out what was purported to be a triumphant night time for NYC — greater than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic shook the Big Apple — on the We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert on the Great Lawn of Central Park on Saturday night time.
Midway into the concert — as Barry Manilow belted out “I Can’t Smile Without You” — the heavens opened up and pre-Henri arrived a number of hours sooner than anticipated, with the rain and lightning menace placing an finish to what was turning into an epic occasion.
It was as if Mother Nature was saying it was “too soon” to be celebrating overcoming COVID with circumstances rising as a result of Delta variant. Mother was very a lot telling us, “We’re not home yet.”
In equity, when the star-studded concert — produced by music trade legend Clive Davis and concert-biz behemoth Live Nation — was introduced final month by Mayor Bill de Blasio, issues gave the impression to be trending in a way more optimistic route for New York, however with COVID circumstances rising — even with some breakthrough optimistic assessments among the many vaccinated — there was some concern that we weren’t able to be partying within the park like that fairly but, even when proof of vaccination was required for entry.
But when the solar got here out simply before the concert began at 5 p.m. — with a yellow-dressed Gayle King just about symbolizing it — it really appeared as if brighter days have been forward. The “CBS This Morning” host launched the New York Philharmonic, who added a degree of gravitas and grandeur to the proceedings: We have been coming collectively to have a severe second of recognition of all that we had survived before all the enjoyable started.
Then when Andrea Bocelli — the Italian tenor who himself battled COVID early last year — sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” backed by the Philharmonic, it rang a powerful notice all through Central Park. It was as if he didn’t even want a mic as he implored us to “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart.”
And as if to indicate us all of the challenges that we’ve got overcome, the blind singer even performed the flute before telling us, “After a storm comes always the sun.”
After that emotional second got here Jennifer Hudson, who, contemporary off of her Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” opening final week, confirmed that she was to not be outdone by Bocelli. Paying tribute to the Queen of Soul, she carried out “Nessun Dorma,” the aria that Franklin famously sang on the Grammys in 1998 as a last-minute substitute for Luciano Pavarotti.
It was a regal efficiency for the ages — with a ultimate excessive notice would certainly make it arduous to high.
Still, the concert was simply getting began. And there have been loads of different early highlights, from an ageless Carlos Santana “Smooth”-ing it out with Rob Thomas — and a Great Lawn filled with concertgoers grooving within the grass — to Journey reminding us, even within the face of a world pandemic, to “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
And then got here what, in any ol’ common Central Park concert, may need been the finale: LL Cool J and a number of different New York hip-hop legends — together with Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe and Rev. Run of Run-DMC — rocked the stage in a efficiency that ran from Busta’s “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and Fat Joe’s “Lean Back” to LL’s personal traditional “Mama Said Knock You Out.”
In an aqua velour sweatsuit, LL, at 53, was nonetheless the epitome of cool within the late-August humidity.
Then de Blasio got here out to a refrain of boos before introducing the legendary R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire. And the weather really took over after their efficiency, with Hurricane Henri stopping the night time before the Killers, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon may even take the stage.
While CNN teased that the concert may start once more — maybe with no viewers and a few holdouts who refused to depart — finally Anderson Cooper known as it a wrap: The Homecoming was formally gone. And in what might be the worst-case state of affairs, the drenched — and drunk — concertgoers flooded the subway, many with out masks, questioning after they may really feel house once more.