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…