There’s only one Clive Davis, and he knows how to kick off Memorial Day weekend.
On Saturday night in upstate New York, Davis–the famed music exec and impresario–welcomed about 50 friends to his cozy estate for a gourmet dinner and a surprise entertainment.
Among the guests were some really big names in the music world including Judy Collins, Rob Thomas of matchbox twenty, famed songwriter Valerie Simpson ( of Ashford & Simpson), and producer/writer/performer David Foster.
They were joined by no less than Regis and Joy Philbin, Brenda Vaccaro, “Precious” and “Empire” priducer director Lee Daniels, Broadway legend Tommy Tune, basketball great Isiah Thomas, Monte Lippman (he’s the founder of Republic Records, as in Post Malone, Arianna Grande), Broadway producers Fran and Barry Weissler, new radio star of WOR Michael Riedel, interior designer Ron Marshall, realtor to the stars Beth Chase, and my two favorite ladies: the inimitable Nikki Haskell and her BFF Ivana Trump.
Yes, the Ivana Trump. Don’t worry. I asked her. She knows nothing. Did she ever know Michael Cohen? “No,” she said, “he came after me.” What about everything else, I wondered? Ivana, smart and funny, replied: “Better them than me.” LOL.
Dinner was catered by Abigail Kirsch, which is like the top, kids. That’s it.
During dinner, guests were given a spoiler alert about the film they were about to see: Clive personally curated 60 minutes of his all time favorite live performances, culled from You Tube. This turned out to be quite a treat as the featured artists included the creme de la creme: Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, the Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Bruce Springsteen with Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson.
The clips were not pedestrian choices, but so well curated that many had not been seen in years if at all. The assembled guests were mesmerized, and Brenda Vaccaro– who knew Sinatra– pretty much swooned during the Chairman of the Board killing it on “My Way.” When Aretha finished “Natural Woman” from the Kennedy Center, Valerie Simpson said: “Tell her how we went crazy when it was over!” Michael Jackson’s famous Moonwalking from “Motown 25” was more electric than ever.
But the final clip– Whitney Houston performing a medley from the American Music Awards– was the stunner. With all respect to both Jennifer Holliday and Jennifer Hudson, Whitney just tears it up on “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.”
Lucky for Clive, at the end of the night, reluctantly, everyone told him they were going– home. But boy, what a way to start the summer!
PS It’s always wonderful to see Regis and Joy, neither of whom ages. They are the most fun ever. God bless them. They told me their daughter, J.J., my intern at New York magazine years ago, has a show coming on ABC this fall called “Single Parents” starring Brad Garrett. J.J. is not a single parent, however. She has two kids with writer-producer-actor Michael Schur, of “The Office” and “The Good Place” fame.