Joined by the New York Philharmonic, the Respect star belted the Giacomo Puccini opera tune to an audience of 60,000 people in Central Park. It was notably the same classical piece Aretha Franklin had performed at the Grammys in 1998.
— Aria (@aria_is_chicc) August 21, 2021
On August 19th, Hudson performed the track as an encore at a special show at The Apollo in New York City. The concert came days after the release of the Franklin biopic Respect, which the singer and actress currently stars in as the Queen of Soul.
Hudson’s performance at We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert is just one of many. The evening’s star-studded lineup includes Paul Simon, The Killers, Polo G, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Wyclef Jean, Kane Brown, Jennifer Hudson, Cynthia Erivo, Elvis Costello, LL Cool J, Jon Batiste, Andrea Bocelli, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lucky Daye, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Barry Manilow, the New York Philharmonic, and Carlos Santana, who will be reuniting onstage with Rob Thomas.
In a press conference on July 27th, Mayor Bill de Blasio, music industry executive Clive Davis, and Live Nation and NYCEDC chair Danny Meyer announced the lineup at Central Parks Great Lawn. The announcement for the show, which de Blasio claimed would be “one of the greatest Central Park concerts in history,” came alongside a tweet from de Blasio requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be necessary to attend the concert.
To create “an all-time New York state of mind,” Davis told Rolling Stone that he “wanted every genre of music represented, so I reached out to artists across rock, rap, pop, Broadway, classical music.”