On the 21st of December, Stevie Wonder sent out his holiday greeting in the form of his House Full of Toys Benefit Concert where he and a few special guests performed his timeless album Songs in the Key of Life. The event was held at the Nokia Theater in LA Live, and every year for the past 18 years, Wonder has collected and donated toys and other donations/proceeds to families in need.
“This is my celebration of song, life and love. What is amazing to me is how relevant this album is today. After all, I could never write all the songs in the key of life, but there will be others who will carry on the message of song, love and life." -Stevie Wonder
Some of those who helped in this celebration were the likes of Chick Corea, who assaulted the ivories during the stunning musical display of “Contusion,” and John Mayer humbly threw down some licks on the guitar as singer Ledisi belted out the backing vocals of “All Day Sucker.” Wonder also paid his musical tributes to jazz great Duke Ellington in his own classic “Sir Duke,” and the crowd made it quite obvious that they could “feel it all over” as they danced, sang and didn’t stop the groove during “Isn’t She Lovely." Herbie Hancock also took part in the collaboration with Stevie during their recreation of “As” where they dueled it out on their own keyboards much to the pleasure of the crowd.
As one of the most spiritual and influential people in the world Stevie Wonder can make you feel as though he is talking directly to you or even about you during his concert monologues. Holding back tears many times throughout the show, he asked the audience to forgive him for being so emotional as he misses his mother more than usual around the holidays. Wonder went on to proclaim the late, great, Nelson Mandela as the first president of world peace - a high but deserving praise from someone who could even be a potential successor for the same position.
Text by Bryan Kelly; Photos by Paula Tripodi
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