Stevie Wonder’s 22nd annual House Of Toys took place at the Staples Center on Dec. 9. In the history of music few artists have achieved the immense success Wonder has including 25 Grammys (74 nominations), 49 top 40 singles, 32 #1 singles, and has sold over 100 million records worldwide. Wonder has also been a recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, is a member of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame (youngest inductee), Kennedy Center honoree (youngest honoree), Golden Globe winner, and Oscar winner. S.W.H.O.T. has had a number of great performers over the last two decades including Lionel Richie, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Common, Andra Day, and Tony Bennett. Each year this show benefits Wonder’s non-profit We Are You Foundation, which gives aid to families in need, people with disabilities, and children. Attendees are always encouraged to bring unwrapped toys to donate. With the recent Woolsey fire, Wonder decided that this year’s benefit would also help aid those affected by the fire which burnt down almost 97,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes in Malibu exactly a month before the show.
Wonder stated in the press release for the event “I want to personally invite you to my Song Party–a celebration of life, love & music,” wrote Stevie in the release. “Now, more than ever, we need a Song Party, ’cause love’s in need of love today. So, get ready for you and your dancing spirit to have the time of your life!” Traditionally the show starts off with a choir but this year it didn’t. Originally scheduled for 8 P.M., the show started at 8:30 with Wonder and his daughter Aisha Morris welcoming the crowd. The show was broken into a few sets of Wonder with his band and guest performers with a special house band assembled by the hardest working bandleader in showbiz Rickey Minor. As this is a Christmas show it was fitting for the opening song to be “What Christmas Means to Me.” Before a set of guest performers Wonder performed one of his biggest hits “Isn’t She Lovely,” with his daughter Aisha next to him as had written the song about her four decades earlier.
After just two songs with Wonder, the guests (in order) performing with Minor’s band were 4th. Ave., Chante Moore, Ari Lennox, Ro James, Lukas Nelson, Leon Bridges, Daley, and PJ Morton (Maroon 5) all performing one of their own hits each (see setlist). For the first two songs of Wonder’s second set Anderson .Paak joined in on drums for a Christmas jam and “The Little Drummer Boy.” Wonder’s second set ended with another major hit, “Overjoyed.” The second and last guest led set was Ella Mai, Paak, and an explosive performance of “The Glamorous Life,” with Sheila E.
The final set of the show was Wonder with some of the guests listed above. The show closed with a mix of Wonder classics like “My Cherie Amour,” “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” “and Superstition,” as well as the Christmas classic “Winter Wonderland.” The grand finale was “Another Star.” As always this is the Christmas show of the year and to this day Wonder is one of the most legendary and greatest artists to see live.
Stevie Wonder Set 1
1. What Christmas Means to Me
2. Isn’t She Lovely
Guest Set 1
3. Xoxo- 4th Ave.
4. Every Day’s Like Christmas- Chante Moore
5. Whipped Cream- Ari Lennox
6. Permission- Ro James
7. Find Yourself- Lukas Nelson
8. River- Leon Bridges
9. Look Up- Daley
Stevie Set 2
10. Merry Christmas Jam- Anderson .Paak on drums
11. The Little Drummer Boy- Anderson .Paak drum solo
Guest Set 2
13. Boo’d Up- Ella Mai
14. Tints- Anderson. Paak
15. The Glamorous Life- Sheila E.
Stevie Set 3
16. My Cherie Amour
17. Master Blaster (Jammin’)
18. Winter Wonderland- With PJ Morton
19. Creepin’- Ari Lennox
20. You and I (We Conquer the World)- with Daley
23. Another Star