If there was an MVP at Thursday night’s Love Rocks NYC concert, benefitting God’s Love We Deliver, it might have been former New York Yankees star Bernie Williams.
In a night when the likes of Robert Plant, Sheryl Crow and the reunited Heart sisters — Ann and Nancy Wilson — rocked the stage at the Beacon Theatre for the third annual event, Williams demonstrated that he has become a major-league musician since the center fielder retired in 2006 from a 16-year baseball career spent entirely in Yankee pinstripes.
“What can you say about Bernie Williams’ guitar skills? The word that comes to me is clutch,” said Bill Murray — who served as one of the hosts — after the Grammy-nominated Williams won a guitar-hero showdown with ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons during the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxy Lady.”
It was a night of musical highlights to raise money for the charity that provides home-delivered meals for those living with serious illnesses. Other standouts included Lukas Nelson, son of Willie, burning through “Find Yourself,” a 2017 song with his band Promise of the Real. Nelson gave a shout-out to his “A Star Is Born” collaborator Lady Gaga, who lent her vocals to the record, before proving that he was perfectly capable of doing it without her.
Bill Murray, Nancy Wilson, Ann Wilson, Sheryl Crow and Lukas Nelson pose backstage.Getty Images
“That Lukas Nelson has taken the family business to the next level,” said Murray, who, in casually cool style, won the battle of the hosts with Martin Short after a sick Whoopi Goldberg wasn’t able to attend.
After Hozier had the sold-out crowd saying “Amen” to his 2014 hit “Take Me to Church,” gospel great Mavis Staples truly took it to church with a rousing rendition of the spiritual “Wade in the Water” that had everyone on their feet.
Meanwhile, the stage reunion of the Wilson sisters — who had a nasty falling-out after Ann’s husband, Dean Wetter, was arrested for assaulting Nancy’s then-16-year-old twin sons in 2016 — was the emotional heart of the night as they powered through “These Dreams” and “Crazy on You.”
Paul Shaffer, presiding on the piano in the house band, and Chevy Chase, singing the blues for laughs with Murray and Short, were among the other stars to show their love for God’s Love We Deliver in the charity’s 34th year.