Stevie Wonder turned his annual holiday benefit into a star-studded affair on Saturday as he performed his classic double album “Songs in the Key of Life” in its entirety, with a little help from the likes of John Mayer and Herbie Hancock.
The “Superstition” legend delighted guests at the House Full of Toys gala by revisiting the 37-year-old album with many of the same bandmembers who had played on the original 1976 release.
Opening the show, he told the crowd, “Truly, I wanted to do this for years… but it felt like it was meant to be right now.”
He was joined by a slew of musicians throughout the three-hour-long show, including Mayer on guitar for “All Day Sucker,” singer India.Arie on “Saturn” and R&B veteran Joe on tracks like “Love’s in Need of Love Today.”
Wonder also reunited with Hancock for “As,” and recruited jazz musician Esperanza Spalding to play an upright bass for segments of the gig, which featured a nine-minute-long rendition of “Isn’t She Lovely,” complete with an extended harmonica solo, reports RollingStone.com.
In between songs, the soul icon paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela and even brought young members of his family onstage to join him in the spotlight.
The string of collaborations took place two days after he teamed up with Bon Jovi rocker Richie Sambora to perform a duet on “Silent Night” at the 2013 Hollywood Christmas Parade.
The musicians entertained fans with a performance of popular Christmas carol “Silent Night” as part of the annual holiday event, and the Bon Jovi guitarist couldn’t believe his luck.
He says, “It is almost beyond words. He was the guy that I emulated when I was a boy, and he taught me how to sing. It was an honor to meet your teacher. The first thing I did was whisper in his ear, ‘I’m sure you get this a lot, but you were my inspiration as a singer.’ The first thing he said is (sic), ‘You do the first verse!’”