By Allen Spector
NEW YORK — Here’s a concert lineup you don’t see often: Sheryl Crow with special guests Lupe Fiasco and Hawaiian ukulele player Paula Fuga. But that was the bill at Terminal 5 for Tuesday night’s Joyful Revolution, a benefit for the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization to help victims of domestic violence founded by “Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay.
The usually bare-bones concert venue was transformed into a fancy catering hall, and instead of hipster T-shirts and sneakers, this time the crowd was clad in “joyful” attire, as in cocktail dresses and suits. The evening honored “L&O” creator Dick Wolf, and the entire cast of “SVU” was there to support their boss, including Ice-T, Stephanie March and Chris Meloni. “Dick Wolf is the man. We all work for him,” Ice-T told us.
While everyone was posing for pictures and mingling during the cocktail party, I went up to Lupe Fiasco and asked him if he’d do a back-flip onstage, like I saw him do at Lollapalooza last year. He said he would try, but with all the amps and mics, he never got the chance.
After a 20-minute video about survivors of sexual assault and the retreats that they go on to begin the healing process (courtesy of Joyful Heart), the night’s entertainment kicked off with Lupe getting the crowd going with his hit “Superstar.” Then he handed Mariska an IOU for a $20,000 donation to her organization. Ice-T, the host of the musical portion of the evening, hopped onstage and brought back his OG persona with a rap about redemption. Then Fuga played the ukulele and sang a traditional Hawaiian song. When Sheryl Crow took the stage and went right into “Every Day Is a Winding Road,” Mariska and the gang all sang along in the front row.
For the grand finale, all the musicians joined Sheryl Crow, who was now slapping the bass for the Bob Marley classic “One Love.” Sure, that’s kind of a cheesy and obvious choice, but it was moving to see all those celebrities and the audience joining in the chorus. And after all the extensive media coverage of Chris Brown and Rihanna’s alleged altercation, it felt good to be in a place where musicians and actors were making a positive effort to help victims of abuse and violence.