Photo: Audrey C. Tiernan/Newsday RM by way of Getty Images
The reopening of New York is getting a soundtrack. Mayor de Blasio has asked Clive Davis, the practically nonagenarian record-business legend, to pull collectively a Central Park live performance for the ages. It’s tentatively scheduled for August 21. No phrase but on who’ll be onstage, but it surely’s onerous to think about a New York artist who’d reject the decision if it got here. It’s an excellent concept, as has been borne out by expertise. Especially when New York has been going by a tricky second, a Central Park live performance has been a largely unifying, joyous expertise.
The most completely remembered, after all, is Simon & Garfunkel in 1981. Half 1,000,000 folks confirmed up. (The two males dwell on Central Park West and Fifth Avenue, respectively, which meant that they had been enjoying their very own shared entrance yard.) It was a reunion, as a result of the duo had cut up up extraordinarily rancorously in 1970, and to plenty of child boomers who’d come of age with them, it felt like a dissonance had lastly resolved itself. That was maybe true for Simon and Garfunkel themselves: You can hear Artie’s voice open up with emotion on the later verses of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” (Ten years after that, in August 1991, Paul Simon carried out once more within the park, this time solo. I had moved to Manhattan two weeks earlier, and that evening was step one in my turning into a correct New Yorker: I had placed on the dwell broadcast of the live performance in my tiny residence, after which stated to myself, Wait a minute, dummy, you reside right here now — you may simply stroll up there and listen to it. So I did.)
The Philharmonic, too, has frequently introduced folks collectively on the Great Lawn, as does Shakespeare within the Park over on the Delacorte. Summer timeStage turned the one-offs right into a sequence, on a smaller and great scale. On a more solemn night a year after 9/11, a park live performance featured an array of artists from the Orchestra of St. Luke’s to Billy Joel. Even a pair of Diana Ross exhibits that went awry in 1983 had been, let’s say, studying experiences: Mostly what everybody realized was “don’t try to power through and ignore a colossal thunderstorm.” Good for drama, although, and the video is a keeper.
Clive Davis, for his half, has a giant question earlier than him: Who might probably be the epic closing act on such a program? Is it an infinite star of latest years, like Lady Gaga or Cardi B? (Or will Taylor Swift kick off the evening with “Welcome to New York”?) Is it as an alternative a classic-rock oldster vastly recognized with town? Billy Joel doing “New York State of Mind,” Deborah Harry doing any rattling factor she needs to? Or — and this may be the selection of no less than one in every of us right here at Curbed dot com — how about Jay Z and Alicia Keys doing “Empire State of Mind”? There’s nothin’ you may’t do / these streets will make you’re feeling model new.