Just when you imagined we had been ready to fall back again in adore with large dwell concerts once more — Hurricane Henri had other ideas for New York Town.
The ominous HH washed out what was supposed to be a triumphant night for NYC — far more than a calendar year following the COVID-19 pandemic shook the Big Apple — at the We Like NYC: The Homecoming Live performance on the Excellent Garden of Central Park on Saturday evening.
Midway into the concert — as Barry Manilow belted out “I Just can’t Smile Devoid of You” — the heavens opened up and pre-Henri arrived quite a few hours previously than predicted, with the rain and lightning menace putting an stop to what was turning into an epic celebration.
It was as if Mother Mother nature was stating it was “too soon” to be celebrating beating COVID with instances soaring thanks to the Delta variant. Mom was pretty much telling us, “We’re not dwelling nevertheless.”
In fairness, when the star-studded concert — generated by songs field legend Clive Davis and concert-biz behemoth Stay Country — was declared last thirty day period by Mayor Monthly bill de Blasio, issues appeared to be trending in a a lot additional beneficial direction for New York, but with COVID situations increasing — even with some breakthrough optimistic tests among the vaccinated — there was some concern that we were not all set to be partying in the park like that quite yet, even if evidence of vaccination was expected for entry.
But when the sunshine came out just ahead of the live performance started off at 5 p.m. — with a yellow-dressed Gayle King quite significantly symbolizing it — it truly seemed as if brighter days had been ahead. The “CBS This Morning” host released the New York Philharmonic, who additional a degree of gravitas and grandeur to the proceedings: We were coming collectively to have a significant second of recognition of all that we experienced survived before all of the fun began.
Then when Andrea Bocelli — the Italian tenor who himself battled COVID early last 12 months — sang “You’ll Hardly ever Wander Alone” backed by the Philharmonic, it rang a resounding take note all through Central Park. It was as if he did not even need to have a mic as he implored us to “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart.”
And as if to exhibit us all the difficulties that we have triumph over, the blind singer even performed the flute ahead of telling us, “After a storm comes usually the solar.”
Following that psychological second arrived Jennifer Hudson, who, refreshing off of her Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” opening very last 7 days, showed that she was not to be outdone by Bocelli. Spending tribute to the Queen of Soul, she done “Nessun Dorma,” the aria that Franklin famously sang at the Grammys in 1998 as a last-minute substitute for Luciano Pavarotti.
It was a regal performance for the ages — with a closing substantial observe would absolutely make it hard to leading.
Still, the concert was just acquiring commenced. And there ended up a good deal of other early highlights, from an ageless Carlos Santana “Smooth”-ing it out with Rob Thomas — and a Great Lawn entire of concertgoers grooving in the grass — to Journey reminding us, even in the experience of a world pandemic, to “Don’t Prevent Believin’.”
And then came what, in any ol’ typical Central Park concert, could possibly have been the finale: LL Neat J and a host of other New York hip-hop legends — which includes Busta Rhymes, Unwanted fat Joe and Rev. Operate of Run-DMC — rocked the stage in a overall performance that ran from Busta’s “Put Your Arms Wherever My Eyes Could See” and Excess fat Joe’s “Lean Back” to LL’s own traditional “Mama Reported Knock You Out.”
In an aqua velour sweatsuit, LL, at 53, was still the epitome of cool in the late-August humidity.
Then de Blasio arrived out to a chorus of boos prior to introducing the famous R&B band Earth, Wind & Hearth. And the aspects truly took around immediately after their functionality, with Hurricane Henri stopping the night in advance of the Killers, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon could even acquire the stage.
Though CNN teased that the concert may commence once again — perhaps with no viewers and some holdouts who refused to depart — ultimately Anderson Cooper identified as it a wrap: The Homecoming was officially gone. And in what is almost certainly the worst-case state of affairs, the drenched — and drunk — concertgoers flooded the subway, many with no masks, asking yourself when they could really feel household again.