Natalie Cole and Steven Tyler perform at the Race to Erase MS concert on May 2 in Los Angeles
Photo: Nicole Pajer
Set List Bonus: Race To Erase MS
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Steve Baltin
For 21 years many artists have gathered each May in Los Angeles to help Nancy Davis in her fight to Erase Multiple Sclerosis. Diagnosed with the disease in 1991 at the age of 33, the mother of five turned her attention to raising funds for research to find a cure for the illness through the Race to Erase MS foundation.
Davis has been embraced by the music industry in waging that battle. Past artists who have lent their time and talents for the worthy cause include the Eagles, Heart, Avril Lavigne, Joan Jett, Jewel, Stevie Wonder, and, most recently, Elton John. Following five-time GRAMMY winner John's 2013 performance was certainly no easy task, but Davis and her committee delivered this year's event on May 2 with not one, not two, but three GRAMMY winners.
In front of a star-studded banquet room at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, the stellar night of music kicked off with five-time GRAMMY winner Cee Lo Green delivering a rollicking good time. Ushered in by onscreen neon lights flashing the title of his 2010 album, The Lady Killer, Green declared, "I'll be your adult entertainer for the evening" — a claim he later delivered on by making his GRAMMY-winning hit "F*** You" the shocking feel-good song of the evening. Only Green could bring such delight and smiles while yelling "I really hate your a** right now."
If "F***You" was the feel-good track of the evening, his GRAMMY-winning anthem with Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy," was the show-stopper of his brief four-song set. At one point he addressed the crowd, saying, "Good evening, everybody looks beautiful tonight." He then spoke directly from the stage to Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, who closed out the night.
"Hello Sir Steven Tyler, I love you, I'm trying to warm them up for you," Green said. By the end of his set, he had the black-tie crowd dancing in the aisles.
"I came to party, damn it," he chastised. "Get up out of your chairs." With that energy, who could resist?
When there are multiple big names on the bill, pacing is important, and the concert found the perfect buffer between Green and Tyler — nine-time GRAMMY winner Natalie Cole, who took the stage for a too-brief interlude. Opening with a classy performance of her elegant GRAMMY-winning song "This Will Be," Cole segued into her interpretation of "Oye Como Va," the Tito Puente-composed song made famous by Carlos Santana.
It was a perfect setup for the night's closer, Tyler. Introduced by his former "American Idol" co-star Randy Jackson as "a rock god," Tyler promised to live up to that title, saying before he started, "You know we're gonna rip this place another you-know-what." And he kept his word as he brought a raucous rendition of "Walk This Way." Then, the audience was treated to a different side of Tyler; one who embraced the sweetness of the evening. During "Walk This Way," Tyler brought three female children onstage to dance. The quartet then replicated the Rockettes' classic chorus line of kicks. After Tyler switched to piano to perform the rock anthem "Dream On," he was joined by Cole for a duet of "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing."
Keeping with tradition, the night ended with a cavalcade of celebrities and representatives of the event joining Tyler and Cole in an all-star rendition of the Bill Withers classic "Lean On Me." It was inspirational, uplifting, joyous, and communal — exactly as the rest of the night had been as always.
For more information on the Race to Erase MS, click here.
Cee Lo Green Set List:
"Bright Lights Bigger City"
"I Need You Tonight" (INXS cover)
"Crazy" (Gnarls Barkley)
Natalie Cole Set List:
"This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)"
"Oye Como Va" (Tito Puente cover)
Steven Tyler Set List:
"Walk This Way"
"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing"
"Lean On Me" (Bill Withers Cover)
(Steve Baltin has written about music for Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, MOJO, Chicago Tribune, AOL, LA Weekly, Philadelphia Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and dozens more publications.)