After three failed attempts, it took two years to organize and then three hours to film and nearly six months to edit! Finally the PBS special David Foster and Friends that was shot with an all-superstar lineup at Mandalay Bay in May premieres tonight — along with a CD of the event that’s also being released!
David Foster is the musical genius — a songwriter, arranger and musical director — behind so many of today’s top record stars including Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. He’s won 14 Grammys, and hit makers old and new turned out for the amazing tribute. They included Josh Groban, Kenny G, Boz Scaggs, Michael Buble, Katharine McPhee and Oprah Winfrey’s Filipino teenage singing sensation Charice Pempengco.
Andre Bocelli even made a same-day, round-trip flight from Italy just to sing on the show. Our hometown hero Andre Agassi also participated, as David has been the musical director for the 12 Grand Slam concerts they’ve organized together here, raising $75 million for his Preparatory Academy school kids.
The staggering concert was pulled together — and came off without a hitch — with only three days of rehearsals. Click HERE for our fabulous photo coverage from the event in May.
OPRAH’S TEENAGE DISCOVERY UPSTAGES $20 MILLION SUPERSTAR LINEUP
Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and Michael Buble were just three of the $20 million worth of superstar talent who came to sing the praises of their Grammy winning songwriter record producer David Foster. It took more than three years to organize the never-to-be-repeated musical tribute at Mandalay Bay with Andre Agassi, Brian McKnight, Kenny G, Katherine McPhee, Boz Scaggs, Blake Shelton, Peter Cetera and Cheryl Lynn.
In the end it was a 16-year-old Filipino singer who was discovered by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey on MySpace that stole the show.
Pint-sized Charice entered the stage through a video screen of Whitney Houston’s blockbuster Bodyguard soundtrack medley. Charice’s extraordinary voice morphed out and over Whitney’s brilliant perfection and to be honest you couldn’t tell where Whitney ended and Charice began. It brought the audience to tears and their feet for an unbelievable standing ovation.
At the stars’ after-party in Wolfgang Puck’s Lupo Italian restaurant at Mandalay Bay tiny Charice told me: “This was the biggest day of my life. I can’t believe I was on stage with all those superstars. This is all more excitement than I can think of and I don’t know where it is going to lead to but I’d like to stay here and have Mr. Foster make me into one of his stars.”
Said David: “I got a call from Oprah about this 16-year-old girl and when Oprah calls you pay attention. Oprah has been monitoring this girl and is in love with this girl, as we all are. She is an extraordinary talent and became a MySpace sensation. Listen to her and you understand why immediately, she is a heaven sent angel who is one-day going onto super stardom.”
Even Josh Groban was blown away: “There is nothing like a great musical surprise. When you hear or see something that blows your mind for the first time is great. I was waiting to go on after her, which wasn’t a good thing but I was standing there with my jaw on the floor. She has one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in a long time.”
Over his tremendously successful more than three-decade music career my longtime pal David is a 14-time Grammy winner from 42 nominations. “In 35-years this is my proudest moment- my greatest achievement. This was the biggest of the biggest.” David told me at the after party. “It all came off perfectly, we succeeded better than we ever dreamed possible.” He also executed the soundtracks of the Ghostbuster and Footloose movies in addition to writing and producing hits for Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, and Madonna.
Backstage he explained to us the three-hour tribute concert which was taped by PBS cameras for an edited 90-minute TV special this December and an eventual DVD and CD release. “I think we sent out the invitations at the turn of the millennium! Its like a memorial to me while I’m still alive, a tribute concert after my death. Three of our previous dates collapsed on our attempt to do this. Originally we were going to do it at Lake Las Vegas with Celine, but now she’s on a world tour unable to be here. Everybody’s schedule is so crazy so trying to get all them together under one roof was pretty impossible but thanks to the artists and their managers we pulled it off. We are missing Chaka Kaan, Kenny Loggins, and Natalie Cole. Michael Buble is on vacation after six years of touring and a hundred million in the bank, so I don’t feel too bad for him. Andrea flew from Italy just to be here. Everybody has given and given. There is someone here for everyone. You won’t get a lot of them, but enough, unless your favorite artist is me, then you have me all night. I love PBS. Most of the people up here have done specials for PBS.”
Three days of rehearsals went into the spectacular production and Josh Groban explained why they all wanted to pay tribute: “Everybody here has been affected by David’s genius. He’s like the patriarch to us younger ones who look up to him. David found me when I was 17 and he allows singers to let their unique voice show through. He has watched all of us through our specials and concerts and we take the applause for so much of the work that we do with David, so we are honored and thrilled to honor him. “
Michael Buble explained David’s brilliance: “There is always room to grow as an artist, and to give the fans what they like about you too. I am not different than anyone else up here, but I am Canadian. David Foster is an icon to us. I was so nervous. When you are a kid in Canada and you tell your parents you want to be a singer, everyone tells you the same thing, we need to get you to David Foster.”
Tennis champion Andre Agassi who recruited David as his musical director for his annual Vegas Grand Slam benefit concerts added: “ He made it possible for us to raise $75-million over 12 years and from that we are recapturing public education. I’m just grateful; that he and I hit it off so many years ago. How do you not comer to honor him? . He goes out there to alter the world, has raised millions and millions of dollars, he is an inspiration to me and the work that I am doing. “ David chimed in: “ I have asked Andre at least 5 times to sing 5 bars. He is a music junkie, he cannot sing and will not sing. “ Retorted Andre: I would be a good singer if I wasn’t tone deaf.”
“I don’t know how to work with singers that can’t sing.” David continued. “ They are 95 percent there without my help; I can push them that much more. Andre Bocelli to me is Mozart.” That meant I just had to ask Bocelli how David had added that 5 percent to his career. “I learned a lot. David loves music and especially in pop music I had a lot to learn and he has a huge energy said Bocelli. “I go around the world and I am tired and when he arrives I feel something in my body changing. He spent time at my house, we work all day, and then we have dinner and do music again. I am here for him and tonight will be a beautiful night of music.”
Kenny G added: “One thing we don’t want to overlook, David helps Andre out here in Vegas, and he does hundreds of things for charity. We are not here because he helped us in our career and we are more famous and made more money, we are looking at a guy who does so much charity work, I am here to help him.”
Among the VIP’s at the after-party for the historic once-in-a-lifetime concert were celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, TV stars Suzanne Somers and her husband Alan Hamel, MGM head honcho Terry Lanni, Oprah’s producer Lisa Erspamer and a host of heavyweight music and TV executives.
David who is currently working on a new Katherine McPhee album summed up: “I selected some songs for Josh and Andrea that maybe they wouldn’t have selected, but the whole body of work is mine, I broke the rules at least two or three times tonight. My life is flashing before my eyes. Do other recorded producers get to do this? I don’t know why everyone is here, but its a great show.”
Source link: Las Vegas Magazine
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