The R&B star played hits new and old in Manhattan, while FOB brought out Hayley Williams in Brooklyn.
John Legend has already enjoyed an active touring and promotional cycle for his new album "Love In The Future," including the first leg of a U.S. tour last fall and performances on CBS' "Live On Letterman" and Sunday's GRAMMY Awards. But none of those stops so far have been at a tiny 200-capacity room, with so much proximity to Legend and his piano you could scream out a song request that would be instantly heard by the singer.
Such was the case with Legend's intimate performance for CITI's pre-Super Bowl event series, the appropriately titled Evenings With Legends, on Wednesday night (Jan. 29). "I want to thank my friends at CITI for inviting me here tonight, and for naming the entire weekend after me," Legend joked at one point.
Playing to a room of mostly CITI card members, a few VIP guests and wife Chrissy Teigen at the McKittrick Hotel in West Manhattan, Legend stripped down many of his best-known hits and a few fan favorites to their essentials on a grand Yamaha piano (emblazoned with a brass CITI logo, of course.) The evening was produced by MAC Presents, who booked Legend on behalf of Citi and have worked with the singer on other events for clients Samsung and Nielsen. The setting was a throwback to Legend's beginnings on the New York club scene, playing venues like S.O.B.s and Knitting Factory, and inspired Legend to perform his first single "Used To Love You" -- though he joked, "When it's your first single, as we learned with Lorde, it can be about being broke. But if that song works, you can't write about it anymore." Other highlights included covers of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" and The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun," romantic takes on album cuts like "Again," "Good Morning" and "You & I," as well as current hit "All Of Me."
Just outside of Manhattan, Fall Out Boy plugged in for the latest show in VH1's Super Bowl Blitz concert series, which is offering six performances in six different boroughs (well, five boroughs and New Jersey) in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. The Chicago pop-punk stalwarts were assigned with representing Brooklyn on Wednesday night, and blasted through a set of hits and well-known cuts from their latest album, "Save Rock and Roll," in the intimate setting of Brooklyn Bowl.
A little less than a year removed from Fall Out Boy's unexpected end to an indefinite hiatus -- on Feb. 4, 2013, the group announced their reformation, new album release date and issued first single "My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light 'Em Up)" -- most of the Brooklyn Bowl crowd had memorized every word of songs like "Young Volcanoes," "The Phoenix" and "Alone Together." Bassist Pete Wentz admirably yelped along with frontman Patrick Stump during "I Don't Care," and although the club venue couldn't accommodate the pyrotechnics used during the band's recent arena tour, the small crowd got a special treat when Paramore's Hayley Williams popped onstage to carry out "Sugar, We're Goin' Down." The surprise collaboration served as a preview of Fall Out Boy and Paramore's co-headlining, spectacularly titled "Monumentour" summer trek.
The Super Bowl bonanza continues on Thursday night when VH1's Super Bowl Blitz hosts TLC at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan. The Goo Goo Dolls and Gavin DegGraw will also be playing Super Bowl shows -- in Staten Island and New Jersey, respectively -- before the big game.