Holding Her Own...

[From New York Newsday]

Whitney Houston 'Holds Her Own' At Lincoln Center
by Robert Kahn

Beleaguered, yet confident she'll make a comeback, a crisp-voiced Whitney Houston gave a mini-concert yesterday in the shadows of Lincoln Center and told the masses she's holding her own.

"I've got a lot of friends out here, praise the Lord," the spiritual singer said as she eyed the 4,000-strong audience outside Avery Fisher Hall.

Houston, who in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer last week confessed she's taken cocaine, smoked pot and popped pills, took the stage shortly before 4 p.m. - almost one full diva-ish hour later than the scheduled 3 p.m. start.

She performed just three songs, including two ("One of Those Days" and "Tell Me No") from her upcoming album, "Just Whitney." For the third song, a gospel rendition of the carol "Do You Hear What I Hear?," she was backed by a group of children from the Talented Unlimited Choir.

The singer, dressed in jeans, a cream-colored turtleneck, full-length shearling coat and sunglasses, bantered with the crowd throughout the 20-minute set and at one point acknowledged her troubles in an exchange with Sawyer, who was the show's emcee.

"I heard that I held my own," she told Sawyer during the taping of the concert, which is to air on Good Morning America between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. tomorrow.

As she introduced "One of Those Days," her latest single, Houston paused to look at the audience and said: "You know, we all have them."

A spokeswoman for Houston said her husband, singer Bobby Brown, had remained in Atlanta. Houston's mother, Cissy, was by her daughter's side for the event.

If fan reaction was any gauge, Houston doesn't have to worry about what effects her revelations will have on her career.

"She came out clean," said James Wilson, 19, of Jamaica. "Now she can put some of the rumors away and her voice can be even stronger."

Estelle Brown of Uniondale - who wouldn't give her age, but said it was "close to Cissy's" - said she loves Houston even more so, now that the singer has come clean.

"She's still the person she always was," said Brown, who took her place on line at 9 a.m. to secure a good spot for the concert. "She's a national treasure. Just listen to her sing the national anthem for you - it'll bring tears to your eyes and put you on another plane."

Copyright 2002, Newsday, Inc.
December 9, 2002


NEWSFILE: 9 DECEMBER 2002

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