The stars aligned for Elton John’s 11th annual “An Enduring Vision” benefit Monday in downtown New York, where VIP guests helped raise $2 million for the singer’s AIDS Foundation and Stevie Nicks took the stage as the night’s marquee performer.
“I think we used to hang out and do drugs together many years ago – if I could remember when [Fleetwood Mac’s] Tusk came out,” joked John, arriving at Cipriani Wall Street with his partner, David Furnish, under sheets of pouring rain. “We’ve never asked her to do anything. The last few years, we’ve had R&B performers, and they’ve been brilliant. We thought, let’s just go the other way this year and ask Stevie, and she said yes, so we’re so thrilled.”
Inside, host Anderson Cooper guided the black-tie affair and introuced John and Furnish, who delivered their mission statement to guests including Brooke Shields, Alan Cumming, Courtney Love, Lance Bass and Cheyenne Jackson. “We’re going to keep shouting for as long and as loud as we need to end this epidemic,” exclaimed John. After an auction of an Andy Warhol print and tickets for Alec Baldwin’s Broadway play, Nicks closed out the night with a rousing, hour-long set of material both old and new. Caressing a mic stand adorned with swinging gold chains, the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman performed “Soldier’s Angel,” dedicating the track to John’s AIDS efforts.
“I started going to visit the soldiers at Bethesda from 2005,” Nicks said. “Elton is a soldier’s angel too, for AIDS, because we wouldn’t get anything done without him.” Nicks also took a stroll down memory lane with “Stand Back,” “Rhiannon,” “Dreams” and “Gold Dust Woman.” She slowed her pace for “Landslide,” calling the song “the foundation of [Fleetwood Mac’s] whole career” before revving back up for the closer “Edge of Seventeen.” It was a raucous end to the evening, with tambourines shaking and uneaten slices of cake left behind.
Earlier in the night, Love told Rolling Stone she was excited to see Nicks perform for the first time in seven years. “When I was a little girl, I grew up on Elton and I grew up on Stevie,” said Love. “I’m really excited to be here.” The Hole frontwoman also revealed that she’s diving back into her solo career with the release of a new single, “This is War,” that comes ahead of a possible album. Love, who turned to ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha to assist with production, is eyeing a February 7th release for the upbeat track.
“I’d put it out right now because it’s a two-minute, 59-second song and it’s sick, slamming, great,” Love said. “I think it’ll go Number One in the U.K. However, in the United States, who fucking knows? I never thought I’d put out a 130, 135 BPM song. It’s a really fast rock song. I’m telling you, it’s probably the greatest rock song I’ve ever heard.”
Former ‘N Sync member Lance Bass also shared plans for new music. “I haven’t been in the studio for almost 10 years now. This year, I’m actually getting in the studio and working on some solo stuff,” said Bass, who remained mum on his collaborators. “I can’t say just yet – it’s a little premature, it’ll be a few months. But I’m excited to get the wheels turning again.”