Stevie Wonder’s 24th annual House Full of Toys benefit took place once at the Microsoft Theater Saturday night (12/17). However in 2019 the benefit did not take place and also in 2020 was canceled with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Last year on the same date the concert resumed. 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 having 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. A few performers at Wonder’s benefit have included Lionel Richie, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Common, Andra Day, and Tony Bennett. Every House Full of Toys has varied between playing full albums, 2-4 hour shows, a DJ set from Wonder (DJ Tick Tick Boom), various guest performances, Christmas classics. Fans were encouraged to bring new unwrapped toys for Wonder’s charity the We Are You Foundation, and many fans did not come empty handed.
Wonder came out along with the event’s returning musical director Rickey Minor, who was the band leader for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno’s (2010-2014), and has served as the musical director for American Idol, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce… Minor’s house band played with the guest performers and then he joined Wonder’s band. Wonder honored those to have passed and said “America needs to come together and get their sh* together.” Wonder sang a bit of a song he recorded at 17 “That’s What Christmas Means to Me.” Wonder announced the first guests Amber Bullock and the John Paul McGee trio. The next guest was Jody Whatley performing “Real Love” and “Christmas Time is Here” dedicated to her mother she recently lost.
The evening continued with Gregory Porter Jr. performing “Take Me to the Alley” and “Revival.” After Porter Jr. walked off, Wonder brought him back to perform the chorus of “Revival.” Wonder’s youngest daughters Mandla and Zaya performed ballet to “One Little Christmas Tree” and were dressed as an angel and Christmas tree. Next was Teddy and Tina Campbell singing a duet of “Our House.” Wonder came out in a new outfit for his set and jokingly sang about getting changed. Wonder would then perform an 18 song set with his band including bassist Nate Watts, drummers Stanley Randolph and Lil John Roberts, and percussionists Munyungo Jackson and Fausto Cuevas.
Wonder kicked off his set with none other than “My Cherie Amour.” Wonder brought his first guest out Trombone Shorty for an incredible rendition of “Sir Duke.” Following the next hit “I Wish,”, Wonder shared it was the 50th Anniversary of Talking Book so he performed “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “Blame It On The Sun” back to back and also “Superstition,” which was the second to last song. Mandla and Zaya came back out for “The Christmas Song.” The next guest was Kimberly Brewer for “I Love You More” recorded with Wonder 21 years ago. Wonder continued with one hit after the next. Wonder was joined by all of his kids for “Superstition” and they all stayed onstage for the finale which was “Another Star.”
Just like last year the event ran until 11:30 P.M. lasting nearly three hours.
1. What Christmas Means to Me
2. Amber Bullock John Paul McGee trio oh come Emmanuel/ God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
3. Heaven- McGeeTrio
4. Real Love- Jody Whatley
5. Christmas Time is Here- Jody Whatley
6. Take Me to the Alley - Gregory Porter Jr
7. Revival - Gregory Porter Jr and Stevie Wonder
8. Our House - Teddy and Tina Campbell
9. My Cherie Amour/Send One Your Love
10. Sir Duke w/ Trombone Shorty
11. I Wish
12. You Are the Sunshine of My Life
13. Blame It on the Sun
14. You and I
15. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)- Mel Torme
16. Do I Do
17. I Love You More with Kimberly Brewer
19. Overjoyed/ Ribbon In the Sky/ I Just Called to Say I Love You/ Living for the City
20. Higher Ground
22. Another Star