Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys benefit concert returned Saturday night in Los Angeles, featuring surprise performances by Johnny Gill and Ledisi.
“A lot has happened in the world, my world and your own worlds,” the 25-time Grammy winner told the crowd at the Microsoft Theater, according to Billboard. “The blessing is that we are all here to give to those less fortunate,”
The 23rd annual concert benefited Wonder’s nonprofit We Are You Foundation, which assists children, people with disabilities, and families in need.
Ledisi performed “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” then segued into the song that earned her first Grammy earlier this year, “Anything for You.” “Wow!,” she commented on Instagram. “What a way to end an amazing year of song and for a great cause.”
Gill, who sang his 1990 number-one hit, “My, My, My,” was full of praise for the Motown icon. “The higher power put Steve Wonder here to be a messenger and leader. We should celebrate him. So get up on your feet and give him the respect he deserves,” the New Edition member told the crowd
During the two-and-a-half hour concert, Stevie performed many of his classics, including “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” “Higher Ground,” and “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing.” The show became a family affair as he brought his two youngest children onstage — daughters Nia, 7, and Zaiah, 8 — who sang “What Christmas Means to Me” with their father.
The emotional highlight of the evening occurred as Wonder remembered Jacqueline Avant, the late wife of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Clarence Avant, who was killed on December 1. Halfway through “My Cheri Amour,” he said, “As I think about their 54 years married, I dedicate this song to Jacqueline and anyone who loses their life to violence.”
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