NEW YORK (AP) — Stevie Wonder gave an electrifying performance at New York’s Central Park in front of thousands of fans and several world leaders Saturday, singing his hits and calling for an end to poverty worldwide at the Global Citizen Festival.
Bono gave a funky, rousing introduction to Wonder, who headlined the second annual concert. Wonder wowed audience members, who danced and sang along to songs including “Superstition” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”
“This is a global celebration,” Wonder yelled to the crowd. “We will end extreme world poverty in our lifetime.”
Wonder has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on disabilities since 2009. Messengers have recognized talents in the arts, academia and sports and help bring attention to U.N. work.
The Global Citizen Festival coincides with the U.N. General Assembly. Fans earned free tickets for helping spread the word or volunteering to help end world poverty. World leaders who attended included Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“There is so much energy here tonight. We can power the world,” Ban told the crowd.
Will.i.am and Olivia Wilde were among the celebrity attendees.
Wonder ended the five-hour event, electrifying the crowd during his hour-long performance. He even teased concertgoers before singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.”
“That’s it!” he yelled, then added: “Y’all wanna jam some more?”
John Mayer also performed Saturday and was a favorite with his solo work on the guitar. He was full of power when he performed “Slow Dancing In a Burning Room” and “Gravity.”
“It’s so nice to be here,” he said.
Other performers included Kings of Leon and Alicia Keys, whose set included “No One” and “Empire State of Mind.”
“I believe if we don’t care about each other, who will?” the singer said. “Help me celebrate tonight so we never forget.”
Wonder also had a touching moment when he sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” and encouraged the audience to lobby for more gun laws.
“Can you believe blind people have guns?” he said. “Let’s keep it real. Ridiculous.”
Last year’s Global Citizen Festival featured Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters and The Black Keys. The festival’s nonprofit partners pledged $1.3 billion in new fundraising commitments last year.
Wonder, who played the piano and harmonica, was joined onstage by R&B singers Maxwell and Janelle Monae.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Maxwell gushed when singing “Superstition.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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