Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Clive Davis Film Sells to Apple Music, Stars Glitter at Tribeca Fest Premiere, Tears and Standing Ovations


Everyone is here at Radio City from New York governor Andrew Cuomo to movie stars. And rock stars.

First: the big news is that Apple Music has bought the rights to stream and download “Clive Davis: Soundtrack of Your Life.” A theatrical release plan is forthcoming.

Five thousand people packed Radio City Music Hall tonight to see the film, which is just terrific, full of fun, the history of the pop music business, and the story of Whitney Houston’s rise and fall.

Then– Whoopi Goldberg emceed an hour long show (maybe longer) that had Barry Manilow perform a medley of his hits, Jennifer Hudson slay the crowd with a medley of Whitney Houston songs and Leonard Cohen’s Hallellujah”; Dionne Warwick majestically full-throated and better than ever on hits she had from Arista Records; Carly Simon (with son Ben playing guitar) on “Coming Around Again” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Plus– Earth Wind & Fire tore through the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Shining Star,” and a whirling dervish of “September” that sent the crowd into Nirvana. They also performed a lovely collaboration with Kenny G. And then Aretha Franklin — looking spectacular in a white gown with gold embellishments– gave stunning renditions of “Freeway of Love” and “Natural Woman” like it was 20 years ago. More standing O’s.

All the acts brought their “A” games. I’m not sure if JHud knew it but while she was singing “I’m Every Woman,” Valerie Simpson– who wrote the song with her late husband Nik Ashford– was rocking out. Simpson was sitting behind Peter Fonda. And everywhere you looked there were famous people scattered through the audience. Mostly the people in Radio City were dancing and singing along, underscoring the meaning of the documentary that opened the Tribeca Film Festival.

Later at Tavern on the Green, Miss Franklin took pictures with Robert DeNiro and wife Grace (shimmering in silver) and plenty more A listers turned up including matchbox twenty’s Rob Thomas and his beautiful wife Marisol. Also on hand: Tony winner Cynthia Erivo, Anthony Mackie, Judy Collins, Lee Daniels, Denise Rich, Nikki Haskell, Beverly Johnson, and Ghostbuster himself, Ray Parker, Jr.

I dare say: best Tribeca Fest opening yet. A good omen for the 2017 festival!

More later today…

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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