Stevie Wonder Grammy Tribute Draws Big Names
February 11, 2015 at 12:49 PM (PT)
Just two days after THE 57th ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS, NEIL PORTNOW, KEN EHRLICH and company were at it again, with a gala celebration of STEVIE WONDER, "Songs In The Key Of Life: An All-Star GRAMMY Tribute," at the NOKIA THEATRE L.A. LIVE, to air next MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16th, on CBS, from 9-11p (ET/PT).
The spectacular show opened with BEYONCE belting out WONDER's very first hit as a 13-year-old, 1963's "Fingertips," before being joined onstage by ED SHEERAN for the reggae-inflected "Master Blaster" and, finally, flashy blues guitar phenom GARY CLARK JR., with a soaring "Higher Ground."
Backed by a full orchestra under the direction of longtime WONDER collaborator GREG PHILLINGANES against a stage backdrop of escalating piano keys from STEVIE's "Songs In the Key Of Life" album, the performers were at their best, introduced by a list of presenters who offered their own testimonials, including TYLER PERRY (who jokingly attempted to croon), MAYA RUDOLPH (who remembered STEVIE singing in her living room with her late mom MINNIE RIPERTON), JASON DERULO, CRAIG ROBINSON, JAMIE FOXX, GLADYS KNIGHT, ex-SUPREME MARY WILSON and, on tape, PAUL McCARTNEY, who issued an expletive-laced greeting, "You're f***ing great!" The performances were interspersed with filmed highlights of STEVIE's career and memorable GRAMMY appearances.
Highlights included TONY BENNETT crooning "For Once In My Life;" JOHN LEGEND on the keyboards for "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever);" ANNIE LENNOX taking "My Cherie Amour" to grand heights; LADY GAGA, resplendent in shimmering shift and blonde wig, squrming with barely contained delight on the piano stool for "I Will;" ANDREA BOCELLI turning "I Just Called To Say I Love You" into an operatic aria; ARIANA GRANDE with BABYFACE on acoustic guitar for a moving "Signed, Sealed, Delivered;' ED SHEERAN's remarkable solo turn with electronic loops for a stunningly faithful "I Was Made To Lover Her;" a belting girl group trio of JILL SCOTT, INDIA.ARIE and JANELLE MONAE joining forces on "As;" PHARRELL and RYAN TEDDER's winsome "Happy"-inflected duet on "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" and JENNIFER HUDSON's show-stopping "All in Love Is Fair."
The emotional high point of the evening came when NE-YO brought out STEVIE's daughter AISHA MORRIS to sing "Isn't She Lovely" with him, the song her dad wrote for her 40 years ago when she was born, as the three engaged in an impromptu,moving group hug.
STEVIE came out and sat behind the organ for a rousing finale, that started with "Confusion," then segued into "Sir Duke," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "Ribbon in the Sky" (with a characterisically brilliant harp solo), "Overjoyed" and "Superstition," before everyone came aboard for "Happy Birthday," the song commemorating WONDER's championing of a national holiday to honor MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. followed by "Another Star," bringing the nearly three-hour show to a joyous conclusion as JAY Z stood and cheered from the front row along with everyone else in the celebratory audience.
Full Set List
BEYONCE, "Fingertips"/ED SHEERAN, "Master Blaster"/GARY CLARK JR., "Higher Ground)"
TONY BENNETT, "For Once In My Life"
JOHN LEGEND, "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)"
ANNIE LENNOX, "My Cherie Amour"
LADY GAGA, "I Wish"
ANDREA BOCELLI, "I Just Called To Say I Love You"
ARIANA GRANDE and BABYFACE, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
THE BAND PERRY, "You Haven't Done Nothin'"
ED SHEERAN, "I Was Made To Love Her"
INDIA.ARIE, JANELLE MONAE and JILL SCOTT, "As"
PHARRELL WILLIAMS and RYAN TEDDER, "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing"
JENNIFER HUDSON, "All In Love Is Fair"
NE-YO and AISHA MORRIS, "Isn't She Lovely"
STEVIE WONDER, "Confusion," "Sir Duke," "You Are The Sunshine of My Life," Ribbon In The Sky," Overjoyed," "Superstition"
FINALE, "Happy Birthday," "Another Star"