The Carnegie Rainforest Foundation Extravaganza...
For this year's extravaganza, Trudie and Sting rounded up the 'usual suspects' - Elton John and James Taylor as well as newcomers to the cause, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Zucchero, Gary Shandling and Stevie Wonder!
We were welcomed to the 'carnival' by a fifteen piece circus outfit, with jugglers, belly dancers, drummers and people walking around the theatre on their hands. The first half was a platform for the album, an eclettic collection from the 'the carnival of the animals' with Bobby Mcferrin, to the stirring rendition of 'Abide With Me' performed by Elton John accompanied by the Salvation Army band.
The idea of the concert was for the performers to play songs that took them back to their childhood. Sting's contribution, a song called 'Water Of Tyne' was written about his native Newcastle. He was joined on stage by fellow geordies Jimmy Nail and Kathryn Tickell.
The fun song of the night was 'Long Tall Texan' performed by Lyle Lovett with the others wearing 'ten gallon' hats for the occasion. Far be it for me to accuse Sting of having a big head but he was wearing a fluorescent green twelve gallon hat!
The second half proved to be more up tempo that the first with artists singing more well known hits. Elton John kicked off by with the Temptations 'My Girl' before delivering the flip side, 'My Guy'. Sting delighted the audience with his version of 'Tears Of A Clown' and 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg'. he also joined Stevie Wonder on 'Living In The City'. Trudie joined the rest of the cast on-stage for the final song of the evening - Stevie Wonder's 'As'.
Dinner afterwards was another star-studded affair. Celebrities, including Sidney Poitier, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Helena Christensen, Julia Roberts and designers Calvin Klein and Gianni Versace all made their way to the hotel in limousines (while Wanda and I took the bus!). Everyone dug deep into their pockets for the after dinner auction. Money was raised for the Rainforest Foundation by the sale of such wonderful items as a boat ride with Billy Joel, a child's electric mercedes benz and full sized version for the grown-up child. Sting tried hard to bid for a walk on part in the US TV show 'Friends' but was outdone by a man offering a healthy $7,500!
Altogether a lot of awareness was raised for the cause. Even the Empire State building joined in the fun by turning green for the occasion! Thanks to the talents of the performers and to Trudie for producing yet another wonderful show, we all went home satisfied that not only did we all have a wonderful night, but we also helped to raise a lot of money for the Rainforest Foundation.
(c) Sue Bett for Outlandos/Sting.com