Some thoughts on the ‘We Love NYC: Homecoming Concert’ at Central Park

central park concert review

Earth, Wind & Fire performs “September” in the CNN broadcast of the Aug. 21 “Homecoming Concert” at Central Park.

Some random thoughts on the truncated (because of weather) “We Love NYC: Homecoming Concert” that took place at Central Park, Aug. 21. (Full disclosure: I did not attend in person but watched on

1. Even without it being cut short by rain, it would have left a sour taste in my mouth. The concert was originally envisioned as a way to celebrate the end of the pandemic. But with the pandemic numbers surging once again, it felt like one of those sad football plays you sometimes see, when someone spikes the ball before they get into the end zone. I understand that concert organizers required that people be vaccinated in order to attend, and that’s good. But in light of the surge, it would have been better to postpone.

2. Jon Batiste was great, singing his “Freedom” with a sense of abandon and joy that was almost totally missing, otherwise, from this show. Earth, Wind & Fire were also very good on “September.”

3. Polo G was introduced as the future of hip-hop and then … lip-synced.

4. I don’t hate Barry Manilow. I’ve actually seen several of his concerts and generally enjoyed them: He’s a solid craftsman and a good entertainer. But to perform a Las Vegas-style medley of hits at a big show like this really cheapened it.

5. Andrea Bocelli doing “O Sole Mio” was painful.

6. The hosts couldn’t have been duller. Gayle King in particular sounded like it was just another day at “CBS This Morning” to get through by reading a bunch of bland words she had little interest in, off a Teleprompter.

7. With the weather threatening, maybe it would have made sense to move Bruce Springsteen up in the lineup. On the other hand, he was only planning to do one song — a duet with Patti Smith on “Because the Night” — and that’s not the kind of song you want to perform before sundown.

8. Clive Davis is an immortal of the music industry. His accomplishments are beyond question. But he’s 89. Next time, maybe give someone else a chance.

In case you missed it, here’s a video of Stephen Colbert and Sen. Chuck Schumer dancing backstage:


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