Love Rocks NYC 2023-Beacon Theater, NYC

Recently, the 7th Annual Love Rocks NYC benefit for God’s Love We Deliver was held at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on March 9, 2023. 

This event is one of my favorites to attend and photograph each year. I think this was my fourth or 5th one out of the 7 they’ve had so far. It’s such a special evening full of love, music, comedy, kindness and generosity. 

The concert’s executive producers are Greg Williamson, John Varvatos and Nicole Rechter. 3.5 million dollars was raised this year for God’s Love We Deliver, an organization that provides free, nutritious medically tailored meals to sick residents in of NYC in need. 

The annual one night only benefit concert prides itself on merging some of the best older talent with some of the newer talent often times you couldn’t imagine would be on the same stage performing together…and yet it works every single song, every single time. That could be in part to the amazing house band led by Will Lee and accompanied by Larry Campbell, Eric Krasno and often times Paul Shaffer, Ivan Neville and Michael Beardon. Percussion duties were held by Pedrito Matinez. Add in 2 drum kits [Sean Pelton and Steve Gadd] and a small brass section to round out the stage. See setlist below for setlist and musician pairings. 

The format and recipe for success always remains the same in the fact that intermittently throughout the night, there are small breaks in the music hosted by actors, actresses, comedians and activists that provide the room [and the people at home via the livestream] with pertinent facts about God’s Love We Deliver as well as drumming up the text donations. This year that list included, Stephen Colbert, Gina Gershon, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Phoebe Robinson, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka. 

Some of my personal highlights of the evening were in no particuliar order… Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo singing/playing some personal favorites from my childhood. GAve me goosebumps! JIm James of My Morning Jacket has such an amazing voice and presence. Never saw or photographed James Taylor before [as he was joined with ex NY Yankee outfielder, Bernie Williams on guitar]. Sheryl Crow paired up with St. Vincent…girl power! John Mayer Trio was pretty impressive. The trio is rounded out by bassist Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan [Rolling Stones] on drums. So many more highlights from the night to list. 

The evening’s finale ended with all the musicians from the night on stage for a rousing tribute to Jeff Beck, who died earlier this year in January. 

Here’s the setlist and musical collaborations for the night: 

Jim James – State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.), Rocket Man // God’s Love We Deliver CEO Speech // Ivan Neville, Jimmy Vivino – Hey Pocky Way // Chevy Chase // The War & Treaty – Have You A Heart, Land Of A 1000 Dances // Warren Haynes & Jimmy Vivino – Almost Cut My Hair // Gina Gershon // Allison Russell – You’re Not Alone, Don’t Stop // Bill Murray // Rufus Wainwright – Going To A Town, Across The Universe (w/ Allison Russell) // Phoebe Robinson // Mavis Staples – Respect Yourself, Friendship (w / Rufus Wainwright and Bernie Williams) // Gary Clark Jr. – You Are My Baby, The Healing // David Burkta and Neil Patrick Harris // Sheryl Crow – If It Makes You Happy (w/ Bernie Williams), Live With Me, Real Gone (w/ St. Vincent) // St. Vincent – New York, Young Americans // Ledisi – Feeling Good, Knockin’ // Stephen Colbert // James Taylor – On The Roof (w/ Bernie Williams), Country Road (w/ Bernie Williams), How Sweet It Is (w/ Bernie Williams), You’ve Got A Friend (w/ Sheryl Crow) // Pat Benatar & Neil Geraldo – Love Is A Battlefield, Heartbreaker > Ring Of Fire > Heartbreaker // John Mayer Trio [w/Pino Palladino on bass and Drummer Steve Jordan [Stones]]– Who Did You Think I Was?, Vultures, Wait Until Tomorrow // All – People Get Ready.

Review and Photos by Joe Russo