Alicia Keys Performs Intimate Show For Hurricane Sandy First Responders

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On the night of the release of her fifth studio album, Alicia Keys took the stage before an intimate crowd of Hurricane Sandy first responders as a way to simply say thank you.

“It’s a special night, there’s nothing like being in your hometown,” she said.

A clear synergy emerged between the audience and the R&B singer who is a New York native– both felt the impact of Sandy in different ways.

Aly Acaster, an EMT from Allendale New Jersey, was among those who earned her spot in the audience.   Each audience member was nominated to be there, since space was limited. She says the nomination took her by surprise but she’s grateful for it.

“It means the world to me that I was nominated to come here.  It was a lot of work the whole week and countless hours of driving the ambulance and going to pick people up. From helping just the town in general with like the gas lines and directing traffic, it took a toll on me, but I’m glad that I was there and able to help out.”

It was a special night, although, there was no special order in song choice. Keys performed her favorite songs, firing up the stage with the upbeat “New Day” from her fifth studio album release “Girl on Fire.”  She kept the audience ignited, seamlessly rifting through songs from her new studio release and her debut hits like “Fallin’” and “Karma.”  She transformed versions of old hits like a reggae version of “You Don’t Know My Name.” 

Keys expressed that she wanted to take the spectators on a journey and that she did. As the chords from her debut hit “Fallin’”started to play, screams from the crowd almost seemed as loud as the first note she belted out.

Keys genuinely enjoyed herself on stage.  Towards the middle of the show, Keys caught view her son, Egypt and husband, Swizz Beatz becoming visibly overjoyed. She sang the song “Listen To Your Heart” directly to her son Egypt who waved back and smiled. The entire audience couldn’t help but say “aw.”

Next up Keys dedicated the song Empire State of Mind to all the New York survivors. “If I can make it here [I] can make it anywhere.” Keys grabbed 2-year-old Egypt, asking him what his favorite song was, and after a couple of false starts he said into the microphone clear as day “Brand New Me” which was then Keys’ next song.

“This next song came from me becoming a brand new me,” Keys said closing her eyes and belted out the notes to her new single “Girl on Fire.”

After 45 minutes, Keys seemed to be wrapping up the show but she had more for her captive audience, “Before we go there’s a really special song I’d like to play for y’all and I feel like we shouldn’t go before I do it.”

She then went into two more songs, one from her new album called “Not Even The King” and “If I Ain’t Got You” off of her four time platinum album “Diary of Alicia Keys.” Keys left the stage and the band keep playing, while the background singers continued to toot.

Alcaster, who brought her sister couldn’t have been more happy. As everyone flushed out of the theatre she confirmed. “Tonight it was amazing. It was very intimate. She was great live. She’s just amazing.”

This piece was written by Naiquan Greene and Rhonesha Byng.

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