Stevie Wonder Welcomes Dave Matthews, Pharrell, Tony Bennett & More In Los Angeles
A tradition continued on Sunday night, when Stevie Wonder hosted his annual House Full Of Toys benefit concert in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Wonder was joined by a bevy of guests and had his band back some of those guests at various points of the evening. The focus of the night was complete performances of two of Stevie’s most celebrated albums: Innervisions and Talking Book.
Stevie Wonder chose Talking Book, his 1972 studio album, as the first of the two LPs to perform. Before the albums, Tony Bennett dueted with Stevie on 1968’s “For Once In My Life.” Bennett then sang “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” Wonder’s 1972 album opens with “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” Stevie was joined by vocalists Jim Gilstrap and Lani Groves, who each sang on the original. The second song of the Talking Book portion of the evening was “Maybe Your Baby” and the original featured Ray Parker Jr. Parker Jr., best known for “Ghostbusters,” emerged to help Stevie on “Maybe Your Baby” at the Staples Center. Dave Matthews led Wonder’s band including a full horn section that featured DMB’s Rashawn Ross on trumpet through his own “Crush” off 1998’s Before These Crowded Streets. Matthews then joined Stevie and the ensemble on “Superstition.”
Innervisions, Wonder’s 1973 LP, was played second at the show, which ended close to midnight. “Visions” featured surprise guest Common rapping about equality for women, garnering huge cheers from the capacity crowd. Common also performed with Andra Day as the pair collaborated on their recent hit “Stand Up For Something.”
After “Living For The City,” Wonder brought out Pharrell Williams for a gorgeous version of “Golden Lady” and the younger hitmaker’s own “Happy.” Pharrell talked about how important Stevie has been to the world and said he would always so yes to anything Wonder asked of him. Williams stuck around for “Higher Ground” but let Stevie do this thing and was content to back Wonder. House Full of Toys benefitted children, people with disabilities and families in need.
Watch fan-shot videos from the concert: