An all-star lineup of performers came together at Central Park’s SummerStage in NYC on Tuesday night as part of a tribute to legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Tuesday’s show was a fundraiser for the City Parks Foundation which provides free and accessible arts, sports, education and community-building programs within NYC parks, including the SummerStage slate of concerts each year.
[All Photos by Jeremy Gordon]
As the sun began to set, Wyclef Jean started the show by his lonesome in replicating Hendrix’s famed Star Spangled Banner from Woodstock. From there, The Roots emerged for takes on Have You Ever Been To Electric Ladyland and Fire. Brazilian born Bebel Gilberto was up next for Little Wing and The Wind Cries Mary, before G. Love and house band Soulive delivered If 6 Was 9 and Ain’t No Telling. From there, Soulive held court with two songs that are part of the trio’s repertoire – Manic Depression and Them Changes. Next up was Keller Williams who played a solo version of Castles Made of Sand and was backed by Soulive for Up In The Skies.
Groove Theory songstress Amel Larrieux treated the audience to May This Be Love, which was performed as a duet with her daughter Sky. Larrieux also added an emotional Angel while declaring that Jimi must be looking down from above on this night, before making way for guitar hero John Scofield. Sco has a long history of collaboration with Soulive, so it’s no surprise the trio backed the guitarist on takes of Purple Haze and Hey Joe, which featured vocals from Nigel Hall. Karl Denson was the next guest and sang Spanish Castle Magic while providing sax on Third Stone From The Sun. The highlight of the night was Living Colour. Living Colour brought the evening to another level with their cover of Crosstown Traffic. As Corey Glover shouted to the crowd, “I know you paid a lot of money for this evening. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun!” Then to further emphasize his point he and Doug Wimbish jumped over the barrier into the laps of the seated donors for Power of Soul and Crosstown Traffic while the rest of the musicians standing side stage (including Ivan and Ian Neville) had to be restrained by security from joining in. For the finale, nearly all of the performers gathered for a “superjam” on All Along The Watchtower. Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto almost single-handedly derailed Watchtower after grabbing the mic from Amel Larrieux and attempting to croon through her self created lyrics, while Keller Williams wisely decided not to join in with Scofield, Krasno, and Kirk Douglas in the super-guitar jam and jumped on the drum kit instead.
Here’s a full gallery of photos by Jeremy Gordon…