Bruce Springsteen found himself mobbed during Sting and Trudie Styler’s famous Rainforest concert at Carnegie Hall. Bruce, clad in just t shirt and jeans, had rehearsed jumping down from the stage into the main aisle of Carnegie’s orchestra seats. But he must have thought the audience - which paid $600 a ticket to sit so close - would be more formal, or shy.
Uh, they weren’t.
The minute Bruce landed in the aisle while singing “Merry Christmas, Baby” a beautiful young blonde ran the entire length of the orchestra and gave him a kiss. This triggered a Yuppie melee as just about every girl near Springsteen was on him like white on rice. No security guard was nearby, but Bruce kept singing all the while taking selfies and getting kisses. It was quite a scene, but the Boss didn’t mind. Eventually he paddled into more serene territory - closer to where Matt Lauer, his wife Annette, and rock promoter Ron Delsener were sitting - until he found a guard who guided him back to the stage.
Springsteen gave a hot performance of “Thunder Road” with famed singer Lisa Fischer, also sang “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and joined in with the rest of Sting and Trudie’s amazing cast for the night including James Taylor, Jennifer Nettles, Idina Menzel, superstar Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, plus legends Ronnie Spector and Darlene Love. Actress Gina Gershon surprised everyone by playing a mean mouth harp. Narada Michael Walden and Will Lee led the band and orchestra featuring Felicia Collins among others.
Also in the audience: Fisher Stevens, artist Stephen Hannock, plus the Olsen twins with Olivier Sarkozy, husband of Mary Kate, director Paul Haggis, and famed foodie/cookbook author Sandra Lee, plus movie execs Meryl Poster, and Celine Rattray.
In 26 years, the Rainforest Foundation has raised over $45 million for indigenous peoples of third world countries. During her speech last night (whilst shimmering in a knockout silvery dress) Styler recalled her recent trip to North Dakota to help Lakota Indians and Native Americans in the protest at Standing Rock. She introduced the Carnegie Hall audience to former Obama adviser and lawyer Jodi Gillette, her husband Rusty and another friend who came from North Dakota to help spread the word about Standing Rock. (More on them in a future post.)
But back to the music: Ronnie and Darlene’s respective voices filled Carnegie Hall with their famous Christmas songs. It was kind of amazing to see them shining with this all star rock crowd while their miserable former tormentor, Phil Spector, rots in jail. (He treated them very badly, as we all know.)
Jennifer Nettles, a last minute addition, won a lot of new fans. So did Grigolo, who sang “Il Pagliacci” and “Nessum Dorma” without notice or explanation - a little cultcha as we say - and blew the audience away.
But it was Sting who brought down the house with a swinging version of the 70s hits “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.” “Sounds like torture to me,” he quipped, but he succeeded in pulling off light pop with panache. Sting also served as emcee, and sang a rousing version of his “Soul Cake,” as well as rendition of his song “The Empty Chair,” now on the Oscar shortlist.
There was a girl’s choir, a full orchestra, costumes and a lot of love - none of which was lost on the sold out Carnegie Hall audience. They gave several standing ovations and sang along frequently.
(c) Showbiz411 by Roger Friedman