[Review By Rolling Stone Magazine]
The Most Expensive Love of All Diva Whitney Houston belts her high C-note's for filthy rich glitterati
At 7 p.m., when the men in gray suits have already hopped their trains back uptown, the only sound hovering over Wall Street is usually the hum of the wind whipping off the river. But last night, as limos and town cars descended downtown, dixie jazz filled the corridors with an excitement and energy uncommon after the New York Stock Exchange has shut down for the day. As the sound streamed out of the loud speakers hoisted above the world's financial center, it washed over some of New York's most affluent society and business people, who sipped Bellini's and nibbled at hors d'ouevres while they awaited the entrance of Whitney Houston, who would perform later that evening, in the room that morphed into Puff Daddy's birthday bash just last week.
But at $1,500 a seat (and $150,000 for a table of ten for the entire series of ten concerts), the array of industry moguls and celebrities attending the concert series at Cipriani Wall Street, which occurs once per month for ten months and includes performances by the likes of Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and Aretha Franklin, expected a meal. As Arista Records head-honcho Clive Davis, models Kylie Bax and Marcus Schenkenberg and actor Kevin Costner took their seats among the 600 guests, an army of penguin-suited men and women delivered course after course of lobster salads, asparagus wrapped in tiny leaves, potatoes baked to a crisp perfection, baby artichokes, filet mignons and chocolate mousse cake. Of course, with a room full of millionaires who do five-star lunches daily and models who keep one eye on their emaciated waistlines (and the other on any number of septuagenarian high rollers looking for an armpiece), shameful amounts of food were wasted.
No matter. The goal, really, was for these society types to get jiggy wit Miss Houston, and more importantly, to say they were THERE. As biscotti and coffee were served along with vats of Dom Perignon, Whitney took the stage and delivered an enthusiastic array of hits from past and present. Houston's duet with her brother, Gary, "My Endless Love," and the title track off her new album, "My Love Is Your Love" (written by Wyclef Jean), stole the show. But "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" brought Donald Trump and his gaunt gal-pal to their feet, "I'm Every Woman," got Babyface and Mary J. Blige movin' to the groovin', and ballads like "I Will Always Love You," "Saving All My Love for You," and "Didn't We Almost Have It All" hushed the crowd as they swayed, entranced at the perennially sweaty Mrs. Bobby Brown. Even the icily cool model-types in their twenties and strappy sandals were shakin' booty and oscillating wildly to hits that predated their puberty. But really, after four Bellinis (the frozen drink derived from champagne and fresh-squeezed white peach juice, made "famous" by restaurateur Giuseppe Cipriani), two glasses of red wine, one gin and tonic and half of a free cigar, who wouldn't be rockin' out to Whitney Houston?
Nonetheless, after four-plus hours filled with countless air kisses, vapid conversation surrounding Sean Penn's movie premier the night before, fielding calls on the Nokia cell phone,and Whitney's phoney-friendly stage demeanor, well gosh, the models and moguls were tired. Not five minutes after Ms. Houston sang her last note, fur coats were donned, town cars were hailed, and the wealthiest room on the planet was emptied out.
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