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A mere injury is not about to prevent a true diva from looking suitably glamorous. Despite a dislocated shoulder suffered last week during the shooting of her latest music video, Mariah Carey went on with the show on Saturday night, performing in Central Park with the New York Philharmonic. Wearing glittery, form-fitting white and black gowns with matching sequined slings, the singer made partial incapacity look good.
The free show, put on by Major League Baseball to tie-in with Tuesday’s All-Star Game, was a charity affair, with the organization donating $1 million to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Although 60,000 free tickets were distributed to the public, the turnout seemed significantly smaller, with the threat of thunderstorms possibly deterring attendance.
But it went off without a hitch, even if Carey, who closed both halves of the show with a pair of songs, delayed her initial appearance for several minutes while the orchestra and conductor Alan Gilbert waited haplessly.
“Is this working? Do we like it?” the singer asked the crowd about her outfit after she finally rose from a trapdoor in the stage. Saying that she was having the proceedings filmed — “Just for myself,” she explained — she then stood in place as a team of assistants covered up her glittery sling with an equally ostentatious feathered boa.
Saying that she was “not in the best of health here,” Carey sang “My All” and “Looking In,” the latter a fairly obscure song from her 1995 album Daydream that she said she had never before performed live.
“This song requires some strength, but I’m gonna give it my all,” she declared. She briefly seemed to lose her composure during the number, saying “I’m sorry” to the crowd.
She later closed the two-part show with renditions of her new single “#Beautiful,” featuring an appearance by her American Idol colleague Randy Jackson on guitar, and her smash hit “Hero,” for which she was joined by a gospel choir.
The venerable orchestra clearly didn’t have to do much the rest of the evening. The musicians got into the spirit by wearing baseball caps, with Gilbert donning a flashy jersey with his name emblazoned on the back.
They performed a number of New York and baseball-themed compositions, including a Gershwin medley, a suite from Randy Newman’s score for The Natural, selections from Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town, and the orchestral world premiere of a suite from Mark Isham’s score for the film 42. Preceding the latter, Gilbert acknowledged the presence in the audience of Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel and his daughter Sharon.
Highlights also included a rousing audience sing-along on, what else, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and baseball great Joe Torre performing a dramatic reading of Casey at the Bat to orchestral accompaniment.
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