After participating in the Atlanta march to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Stevie Wonder swept into Harlem's historic Apollo Theatre for the "Secure The Rights Forever: Educate & Legistlate the Voting Rights Act" benefit concert. With A-listers like Nicole Kidman (whose seats were significantly further back than mine) and Natalie Portman (who had 2nd row center seats) in attendance, Stevie educated audience members about the need to renew the Voting Rights Act, cracked hella funnies (Re: the endurance of race, "The black can't come off but it can come out."), and performed many of his seventies hits.
It was breathtaking. Lifechanging. Stevie, unlike many legends (i.e., Al Green) has still got his voice and breath control. Everybody was dancing in the aisles. Numerous exuberant male concertgoers ripped of their shirts of which one beat his chest and later proclaimed to me and my friend on the M60 bus that it was a religious experience. He was more the rule than the exception. Although my tube top remained firmly in place, I'd have to agree.
"Heaven Help Us All" (Stevie was in a brown and black dashiki and caramel colored pants)
Chuck Jackson : "Any Day Now" & "I Don't Want To Cry Know More"
Brief comments by veteran congressman Charles Rangel
Rapper Rose/Risen (sp?) son of Wonder's Songwriter friend
"Visions" w/ Savion Glover (Stevie returns to the stage in a bedazzled Usher-esque blazer over an orange knit and slacks.)
Space age hoofer Savion accompanied Stevie evidencing the same musicality that his brilliant improvisational perfromance piece with Matana Roberts and Reg E. Gaines, "If 'Trane Wuz Here" showcased. Incidentally, he sported a Coltrane t-shirt.
"Did I Hear You Say You Love Me"
"How Will I Know" w/ Aisha Wonder
"Living for The City"
"Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing"
"All I Do"
"You are the Sunshine of My Life"
"Falling in Love with Jesus"
"So What's The Fuss"
After introducing his band he started into "Do I Do" but the stage crew informed him he was over time so he bounced. I was so hurt.
Stevie Wonder will headline a second benefit this Thursday at the Apollo. You are a crackhead if you don't go.