I was thrilled to be able to attend Expedia’s pre-concert happy hour for We Love NYC: Homecoming Concert and attend the concert itself with VIP tickets thanks to the lovely folks at Expedia—which was the show’s official “travel companion.” It thrills me to know that they booked the travel for a lot of the artists on the long-awaited concert’s roster and I have personally found that they have beat any rates for travel that I have done general Google searches for online.
Expedia execs and their crew not only threw the aforementioned lovely pre-concert bash for influencers like myself on the 16th floor terrace of the Arthouse Hotel at 77th and Broadway but also spent a good part of the afternoon handing out General Admission concert tickets and large logo Expedia blankets. They are truly a dedicated and hardworking team. Something like 500 people got tickets handed to them in Times Square—and that is an especially nice surprise if you are a tourist visiting the Bug Apple for the first time.
There was lovely food at the pre-concert happy hour which included balsamic glazed grilled chicken skewers, mozzarella and tomato skewers, cheese stuffed focaccia bread and dark chocolate covered strawberries. There was a full open bar as well. The weather was perfect (it didn’t get bad until the show was underway) and there was plenty of cushioned outdoor seating and an overhang. Gorgeous flower arrangements were scatter about done by a local Upper West Side florist who does all the stunning arrangements that you see in the lobby of the Arthouse Hotel.
There was both a stunning flower and greens covered step and repeat as well as an Expedia logo wall hanging for Selfie opportunities. About 30 journalists and influencers mingled with the classy Expedia PR team and a lot of great networking was done—but conversations about the show and what artists everyone was dying to see were definitely in the forefront.
I stayed at the party from 4 to 5 pm and sent a friend over to the VIP section early to score us a good spot (it was a standing room situation but guests were allowed to bring a small blanket each). I took a walk all the way up to 85th Street and Central Park West just to evaluate the whole concert check in situation and then came back down to 81st and CPW to the VIP check in. (You can see the general admission line in the photo above.) I was happy that the VIP entrance moved fast despite the fact that the line was significant. As I stood there I noticed that fans lined the Central Park traverse at West 81st Street, hoping to get to hear the music more clearly since it was directly behind the stage. The traverse is usually pretty empty and this is the first time in my 35 years as a New Yorker where I actually noticed hundreds of people milling about!
As you know by now, the concert was underway for about 2.5 hours before it got rained out. This happened at 7:37 PM right when Barry Manilow was doing a medley of his hits and moving from “Mandy” to “Can’t Smile Without You.” Thankfully, a large amount of artists made it to the stage before him including Jennifer Hudson, Andrea Bocelli, Carlos Santana, Rob Thomas, Journey, LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Earth Wind & Fire, Wyclef Jean, French Montana and Lil’ Kim. I was there mainly to see Elvis Costello and Patti Smith, so I did not luck out, LOL! I am sure there were 50,000 or more Bruce Springsteen fans out in the crowd that were equally or even more upset. A lot of people still hung around for two or three more hours after the cancellation announcement hoping that the groundbreaking show would resume—and certainly Mayor DiBlasio wanted it to start up again—but it started raining and thundering again. Interestingly enough, between 10 and 11 pm, New York City got its all-time record rainfall for just one hour!
I had fun despite the weather and was very grateful to get such good tickets. Multi artist shows let you rediscover acts that you had forgotten about since you were a kid and discover new ones that are up-and-coming or already popular. I hope that the Homecoming Show gets rescheduled so that I get to see what I missed. No word about this yet as we go to press! Again, I would like to thank Expedia for all the hard work they put into handing out tickets to press and the general public and for the lovely outdoor pre-show reception they threw with such lovely food and classic Upper West Side views.