NEW YORK — She wasn't sporting a cape or an "S" on her chest, but
This daughter of New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood took the stage at Central Park at 8 a.m. The temperature was already tilting toward 80 degrees as she kicked things off with her rendition of the city's new unofficial anthem, "Empire State of Mind."
"It's so good to be home, you know, so we gotta talk about where we from," Keys smiled. Clad in a thigh-baring eggshell-colored jumper, chunky bangles snaking up one arm, Keys performed the tune on piano until the lyrics called for concertgoers to put "one hand in the air for the big city." The 29-year-old shot up from the bench, revealing the first hint of a baby bump beneath a wide belt as she closed out the final chorus to audience roars:
"Now you're in New York/ These streets will make you feel brand-new/ Big lights will inspire you/ Hear it for New York!"
The expectant mother, who recently announced her engagement to producer Swizz Beatz, with whom she's expecting her first child, paused to talk up her charitable work with Keep a Child Alive, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting African children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. "GMA" host Robin Roberts congratulated the mother-to-be and complimented Keys' ensemble, which was paired with towering stilettos. Keys called the impending birth "a blessing." The R&B diva also introduced the winner of a contest to become the blogger for her newly created website, I Am A Super Woman.
The 12-time Grammy winner continued the set with selections from her latest album, The Element of Freedom, launching into the whispery "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart." At the song's piano coda, Keys solicited the crowd's assistance: "Somebody help me!" and they happily obliged, raining "la la la"s across the park.
One member of a group of teenage female fans standing close to the stage gushed that she would "die" if Keys brought out current Billboard sensation Drake, as the band began to play the light percussion of "Unthinkable," written by the Toronto MC. Drake didn't materialize, but Keys' clear vocals were more than enough.
When fans erupted into chants for an encore, they seemed stunned to see Keys pause then signal "one song" with her index finger. They returned her generosity by singing along word-for-word — and loudly — to the celebratory "No One."
What did you think of Alicia's "Good Morning America" concert? Tell us in the comments!