NEW YORK — [artist id="2002414"]Ne-Yo[/artist] performed a charity show mounted by Island Def Jam in Times Square on Thursday (September 23) for the Children's Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization that raises money and awareness for children's hospitals across North America. And Ne-Yo worked it out for the tykes, ripping fluid dance moves and belting out his hits during the five-song set.
Playing to a massive audience that clogged the sidewalks in the famed square and included fans from the young to the young at heart, Ne-Yo was introduced by multi-hyphenate entertainer Nick Cannon. The singer then hit the stage with his club-friendly hit "Closer," flanked by a live eight-piece band. A three-person horn section and an array of dancers hoofing it in dapper menswear-inspired looks enlivened the track's house-music rhythms.
Sweat was already glistening on the entertainer's forehead as he launched into his second song, "Champagne Life." Ne-Yo didn't let his gentlemanly attire of a white vest, signature black fedora and black tie, slacks and button-up, stop him from getting loose as he led concertgoers through the song's soul-clap breakdown.
After wrapping the "Champagne Life" from his upcoming Libra Scale LP, Ne-Yo dipped back into his catalog for the title track of his 2007 album Because of You. He zigzagged between the mic and his onstage crew, retreating to his dancers to bust out some smooth footwork while the backing vocals and the audience piped up for the hit record's chorus.
The star then slowed it down with the new midtempo Libra Scale single "One in a Million." Ne-Yo, who was in excellent form throughout the set, owning the stage with vigorous-yet-effortless energy, fell back from the dancing a bit for "Million" and concentrated on belting the high notes of the refrain.
Before the final number, Ne-Yo — who had been mopping his brow with black hand towels that appeared to be coordinated with his outfit and tossing them to fans throughout the performance — addressed the women who proudly take care of themselves. Just after tossing out the final towel, presumably to a self-sufficient lady, Ne-Yo launched into "Miss Independent." He began the Year of the Gentleman single with two male dancers grooving behind him, but then his female dancers, who had first hit the stage in trousers, returned pants-less to finish the show.
The audience begged for more when the singer bowed and bid farewell at the close of "Miss Independent." Ne-Yo looked to the side of the stage and appeared to consider pulling another trick out of his bag of hits, but then left the stage with a simple "Peace and love, y'all."
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