Hate to criticize what is done for charity, but the Thursday-night, one-hour concert fund-raiser had a slap dash feel to it, and low production values, for the most part.
Excluded from that criticism is Godmother of Soul, Patti LaBell, who had backup singers and six musicians who joined her for a great rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come.” She did everything but kick off her shoes, a once-trademark she did during shows.
She was introduced by DJ Questlove, who was featured in the all-Philly show. I like Questlove’s attachment to his city even though I just do not get what he does when he is mixing music. Some people must get it, because he is a star.
For me, the two biggest surprises were stars just speaking love for Philly and asking for money for the PHLCOVID19FUND charity.
There was former Phillie, and World Series champ Shane Victorino, the Flying Hawaiian, throwing love at his adopted city, where he will always be welcome. He was followed by Tug McGraw’s son, country star Tim McGraw, wearing a Phillies hat. He confessed he never spent much time in Philly, but had come to love it through his father.
The Phillies cap reminded me of a controversy involving his father, after he had reunited with the son he had abandoned after a spring training fling. After winning the World Series with the Phillies, Tug wore a Mets cap for a magazine cover, I think it was TV Guide and it did not go down well in Philly.
Neither did my column in which I called him a deadbeat dad, because he was, never having supported or communicated with his son. A much bigger man than his father, Tim forgave Tug, and Tug sued me. He wanted money and an apology. He got neither because you don’t apologize for the truth and my paper, the Daily News had big balls.
The concert opened with former blue-eyed soul star (and Temple alum) Daryl Hall (his name mis-spelled in the closing credits) singing his “I’m in a Philly Mood,” in what seemed like a home studio with blurry visuals. Also blurry was a pitch by Bobby Rydell, who should have been invited to sing in preference to several performers I never heard of.
DJ Jazzy Jeff talked about being a virus survivor, but the only trace of Will Smith, his one-time partner, was in a Questlove mix. The Bacon brothers — Kevin and Michael — asked for money without performing. Jerry Blavat noted that he and Rydell are in a high-risk group.
While disappointing, the main goal was to encourage people to donate to the fund, and I will encourage you to go to PHLCOVID19FUND.ORG and do just that.