Love Rocks NYC Benefit Concert Returns to Beacon Theatre with Surprise Guest Performers

Hana Gustafson on March 11, 2022
Love Rocks NYC Benefit Concert Returns to Beacon Theatre with Surprise Guest Performers

Photos by Dino Perrucci

Last night, the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation put on the sixth annual Love Rocks NYC benefit concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. 

The performance kicked off with Ben Harper’s all-instrumental “Inland Empire,” off 2020’s Winter is For Lovers, and continued with a take on Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks,” which included a sit-in by Danny Clinch. Next, Steely Dan’s guitarist, Connor Kennedy, took the stage and covered the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers classic, “Learning to Fly.” 

Celisse took the stage next to deliver her original, “Get There” followed by a rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll.” The occasion marked Celisse’s Love Rocks NYC debut. Bill Murray then took the stage to offer some beguiling banter before introducing the CEO of God’s Love We Deliver, Karen Pearl who highlighted the charitable intent of the evening.

Next up, guitarist Jimmy Vivano and Bernie Williams played “In The Midnight Hour,” which featured solos by house band members Will Lee and Pedrito Martinez. Murray also took the stage and offered a howling line, while grooving along to the beat.

Maggie Rose then took on Bill Withers’ classic “Lonely Town, Lonely Street,” before the ever vibrant, Mavis Staples took the stage and covered Talking Heads’ “Slippery People.” The tune marked one of the first to get the audience out of their seats and dancing. She followed with a song from her time in The Staple Sisters, the classic, “I’ll Take You There.”   

Allison Russell appeared on stage and shared a short and personal story about her early life and how deeply meaningful the event’s giving nature means to her before delivering an equally powerful rendition of her song “Nightflyer” with SistaStrings and the We Deliver Singers. Then, she was joined by Hozier for a take on the Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty’s duet, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” 

Throughout the evening comedians and entertainers graced the stage, offering jokes and encouraging the audience to donate. Highlights included Steve Schirripa, Mario Cantone, Michelle Buteau, Laurence Fishburne, and the aforementioned Murray, who meandered on and off stage throughout the evening. 

Larkin Poe and the Lovell Sisters fired things up with “She’s A Self Made Man” followed by “Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo.” Next, Anders Osborne and Kennedy, Clinch, and Ivan Neville performed a cover of Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken.” 

Fishburne then introduced his longtime friend and rock legend, Keith Richards & The X-pensive Winos for their first performance in 30 years. Richards, Waddy Wachtel, Steve Jordan and Ivan Neville, and house band member Will Lee who stood in for Charlie Drayton, who is currently on tour with Bob Dylan began with a bust out of “999,” followed by a take on two tunes by The Rolling Stones, “You Got The Silver” and “Before They Make Me Run,” which had the entire crowd on their feet the entire set.

Celisse and Hozier then returned to the stage, offering a duet on “Work Song” and David Bowie’s “Changes.” Shortly after, Melissa Etheridge performed The Beatles’ classic, “Come Together,” and her original, “I’m the Only One.” 

The Revivalists frontman David Shaw then took the stage for a stirring rendition of Faces’ favorite, “Ooh La La,” and The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” which featured a violin solo by Larry Campbell. Shaw worked the stage with a tambourine in hand, feeling every bit of energy the Beacon had to offer.

Warren Haynes then offered his signature vocals and guitar-style on Gregg Allman’s “Just Another Rider” and Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” Surprise guest Jackson Browne joined in on “Running on Empty,” which featured Eric Krasno, Larry Campbell, and Ricky Peterson. 

Love Rocks NYC executive producers John Varatos, Greg Williamson, and Nicole Retcher then took the stage and offered thank-yous before the entire cast of performers returned for an electrifying take on the Dylan favorite, “Like A Rolling Stone.” 

Love Rocks Benefit Concert
March 10, 2022 – Beacon Theatre
New York, New York 

Set: Inland Empire, When The Levee Breaks, Learning To Fly, Get There. Rock & Roll, In The Midnight Hour, Lonely Town, Lonely Street, Slippery People, I’ll Take You There, Nightflyer, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, She’s A Self Made Man, Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo, Dixie Chicken, 999, You Got The Silver, Before They Make Me Run, Work Song, Come Together, I’m The Only One, Ooh La La, Baba O’Riley, Just Another Rider, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, Running On Empty, Like A Rolling Stone