Even a broken rib can’t stop Mariah Carey from making a grand entrance.
Emerging through a hidden platform, the 43-year-old diva took to the stage in Central Park’s Great Lawn this past Saturday to sing with The New York Philharmonic for the 2013 MLB All-Star Charity Concert benefiting Hurricane Sandy relief.
Wearing a bedazzled white dress and matching glittery arm sling, Carey performed for the first time since dislocating her shoulder, breaking her rib, and suffering numerous bruises while shooting a music video for a hip-hop remix of current single, “#Beautiful” just a few days prior.
“I am filming this for myself so that I can remember this moment,” Carey said to the roughly 10,000-person crowd watching her as a team of assistants wrapped her sling in white fur. “Is this working? Do we like it? Is it too much fullness? I’m doing the best with what I got. Seriously.”
And given her injuries, Carey truly brought it. Launching her 4-song setlist with her timeless ballad, “My All,” the pop star didn’t let the fact that she was struggling with physical pain prevent her from singing her heart out as best she could.
“This song requires some strength, but I’m gonna give it my all,” Carey stated before going into “Looking In,” an incredibly personal track from her 1995 album, Daydream, that she’s never performed live before.
“She smiles through a thousand tears, and harbors adolescent fears,” Carey sang about the perceived notion that success equals happiness. “She dreams of all that she can never be, she wades in insecurity, and hides herself inside of me.”
Whether it was because of the vulnerable lyrical content of “Looking In” or just the physical pain she was enduring, Carey briefly lost her composure during her performance. “I kind of thought I would not get through that one,” the singer candidly admitted when the song had finished, offering her apologies to the audience. It was a genuinely tender moment that continued to prove that the Major League athletes in attendance weren’t the only all-stars present at the event.
When Carey returned to the stage roughly 45 minutes and one intermission later, she kicked off her last pair of songs with “#Beautiful,” the lead single off her fourteenth studio album, The Art of Letting Go (set for release later this year). Her duet partner on the track, Miguel, was unavailable to appear at the concert, but Carey was joined by another special guest: fellow American Idol judge Randy Jackson on guitar.
This time around, Carey donned a black dress accentuated by a feathered sling that looked like it was stolen from the dressing room of one of the Skeksis on the set of The Dark Crystal. Nonetheless, Carey both looked and sounded phenomenal, and in doing so reminded her audience why she’s the best-selling female artist of all time.
For the evening’s biggest showstopper, Carey brought out a choir to assist her in singing her massive hit, “Hero.” Fittingly, she dedicated the inspirational song to all of the men and women who donated their time and efforts to Sandy relief following last year’s tragic super-storm. She also made the point that all of us have the potential to be a hero.
In addition to Carey’s performances, the concert consisted of an extensive and gorgeous array of songs played by The New York Philharmonic. Highlights included the Gershwin staple, “Strike Up The Band,” “Fanfare for the Common Mon,” and the classics, “New York, New York” and “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” Former Yankees coach and baseball legend Joe Torre also narrated a rousing rendition of the beloved poem, “Casey at the Bat,” set to the music of composer Steven Reineke.
“Music might be my main game, but I love baseball, and it’s always exciting when the All-Star Game is hosted in New York,” New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert stated in a press release. “It’s a thrill to be conducting on this special occasion. It is particularly gratifying to be part of this event that will help support those whose lives were affected by Hurricane Sandy; they are our neighbors, and we’re glad we can be there for our community in whatever way we can.”
When it came time for The New York Philharmonic to perform the world premiere of Mark Isham’s “Suite from 42” (from the recent motion picture, 42), the crowd roared with applause for Rachel and Sharon Robinson – the wife and daughter of MLB legend Jackie Robinson – who were present in the audience.
Through the MLB All-Star Charity Concert, Major League Baseball made a generous $1 million donation for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. “It was truly an honor to perform with world renowned NY Philharmonic,” Carey posted to her Instagram and Twitter following the show. “In spite of the pain, I wouldn’t have ever missed this moment. Thanks for helping me get through it and sharing it with me.”
Originally published on PopBytes
All photos and video taken by Alex Nagorski