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NEW YORK — Stevie Wonder fans got more than they bargained for Saturday night as Tony Bennett and Prince made surprise appearances during the R&B legend’s sold-out show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It was Wonder’s first headlining concert in the city since 1996.
Bennett and Wonder reprised their duet on “For Once in My Life,” which they released on Bennett’s 2006 album, “Duets: An American Classic.” That version won a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals.
Looking dapper in a suit, Bennett managed to slip in the titular line from his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” In August, he told Billboard he and Wonder were planning a full-length album collaboration, but it’s understood that details are still coming together.
Meanwhile, a grinning Prince floored the audience with his appearance on “Superstition,” during which he played call-and-response on guitar with Wonder on keyboard. Prince was a guest on Wonder’s 2005 album, “A Time 2 Love,” playing guitar on “So What the Fusss.”
The 2 1/2-hour show began with Wonder being escorted to center stage by his daughter Aisha, who also sings backing vocals in his band. He asked for a moment of silence to honor those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and went on to explain how his mother’s death inspired him to return to the road.
The set list flowed effortlessly from classic to classic, highlighted by an early trifecta of “Too High,” “Visions” and “Living for the City” and sterling renditions of “Golden Lady” and “Ribbon in the Sky.” The evening wound down with a barrage of hits, beginning with “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” and continuing on to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” “My Cherie Amour,” “Boogie On, Reggae Woman,” “Sir Duke,” “I Wish,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “As.”
Wonder’s tour resumes Nov. 28 in Charlotte, N.C., and runs through Dec. 9 in Glendale, Ariz. He will also hold his annual House Full of Toys benefit Dec. 15 at Los Angeles’ Nokia Live!
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