Saturday, May 18, 2024

Sting, “Soul Man” Sam Moore, Chic Blow the Roof off the Manhattan Ballroom


Quite a night for Nancy Hunt and Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation: they finally got to honor Sting and Trudie Styler for their work with the Rainforest Foundation, postponed from last October 31st– remember that date? It was Hurricane Sandy. The reboot turned into a wild night of fantastic music as Sting,
“Soul Man” Sam Moore fresh his White House PBS gig, and Nile Rodgers with Chic rocked the Manhattan Ballroom for an invited audience. Styler first spoke so eloquently about the work of both foundations. It was lovely.

Accepting the humanitarian award, Styler said: “We’re all born into this world. Some are placed gently, others  thrust into it, and still others abandoned. But whatever the unequal circumstances of our birth, we share the same basic human needs of survival: water, food, shelter, warmth. There is another equally essential basic human if we are to survive, and that is love. Mahatma Gandhi said Where there is love, there is life. Well perhaps tonight we can change that tonight to say Where there is love, there is family.”

Sting and Trudie were introduced by Caryl Stern, CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF.

Then came a torrent of great music. Moore performed his classics,  “Soul Man” and “When Something is Wrong with My Baby,” pumping his fist and turning it out at age 77. Sting took the stage and first sang “Englishman in New York,” then acoustic heartbreaking “Fields of Gold.”  He invited Moore back onstage to make an R&B duet of “Every Breath You Take” that made the crowd go nuts. Then they took on Bill Withers’ hit “Just the Two of Us” sort of impromptu, before Rodgers fired by Chic and a dance party began.

The ballroom was filled with plenty of people who’d just paid, and some heavy hitters and celebs like Motown great Valerie Simpson, Denise Rich, Broadway producer Jean Doumanian, long time record industry exec Michael Ostin, Q Tip, philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, “Guiding Light” actor Grant Aleksander, and the always amazing Rosie Perez. A white Gibson guitar signed by Sting, Moore, Rodgers, and not comedian Russell Peters–who opened the show with some real laughs–fetched $26,000 in a live auction.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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