Last night in New York City, R&B diva Alicia Keys brought the house down for a legendary performance at the Nokia Theater in Times Square that was streamed live on the worldwide web. American Express partnered with the Grammy-winning songstress for this one-night-only event in honor of World AIDS Day and Alicia’s charity Keep A Child Alive, which assists children and families in South Africa who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Miss Keys annihilated the stage for over an hour in a hit-after-hit performance, which included cuts from her new fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom, which is available December 15th.
Being that Keys is still so young, you forget how many hits this R&B chick has had since her debut in 2000 — three number one albums, four number one hits and nine top 10 hits on the Billboard charts. Keys pounded through a set list that included “Karma,” “I Ain’t Got You” and “You Don’t Know My Name.” She also included songs that weren’t huge hits but fan favorites like “Wreckless Love,” “Superwoman,” and a riveting performance of “Diary,” which she sung with the amazing Jermaine Paul, who opened the show. The New York native belted out her latest singles, “Doesn’t Mean Anything” and “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart,” plus she sang unheard of songs from the new album like “Love Is Blind” and “Distance and Time.”
Alicia was met with some high-octane energy from the New York City crowd and she often acknowledged it, constantly thanking the audience for their undying support in her nearly 10-year career. However, the crowd hit a high when Keys sang her biggest solo hit to date, “No One.” Keys gave us a little vocal improvising, proving she is not just radio-friendly — she is soul-friendly.
We all couldn’t help but wonder if she would sing “Empire State of Mind” being that she is in New York and the song is such a massive hit — could the song be done without Jay-Z? Thankfully, no one had to worry because Jay-Z hit the stage spitting out the now legendary lyrics with Keys wailing for New York. Everyone in the packed theater went into a frenzy — no other song was more fitting for a city that has survived so much and is still celebrating the Yankees win.
An excellent performance from Keys, but the night wasn’t solely about her, as she continued to stress. American Express and Alicia Keys donated all ticket proceeds from the sold-out show to her charity Keep a Child Alive. In addition, Alicia has a contest, which will take five people on a once in a lifetime trip to South Africa late next year. If you would like information on this contest or Keep a Child Alive please go to http://keepachildalive.org/.
Big thanks to American Express and the Alicia Keys camp for such a powerful night in honor of an important cause — World AIDS Day.