Quincy Jones proved there’s no age limit on partying when he and his self-anointed “celestial twin,” Sir Michael Caine, celebrated their 80th birthdays this weekend (April 13) at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The sumptuous fete -- the first of four birthday celebrations being staged around the world -- also doubled as a fundraiser: the 17th annual Power of Love Gala benefiting the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Entering a lavishly transformed MGM Grand Arena, guests walked along a winding corridor decorated on either side by flowing white drapes. Along the way, tray-bearing servers offered glasses of Dom Pérignon as guests browsed at tables filled with silent auction items (winery trips, weekend get-aways, a Slash-signed guitar, diamond jewelry, watches and a trip to the upcoming Billboard Awards), libation stations (D’usse, Grey Goose and Patron, where the bartender whipped up a tasty drink called “The Color Purple”) and delectable appetizers from such eateries as Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, Pearl, Shibuya and Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak. The dinner, featuring roasted Beef Wellington as the main course, was helmed by noted chef Gordon Ramsay (who later paid tribute to fellow British mate Caine). A different wine accompanied each course.
The star-studded affair opened with a pre-dinner performance by Bono, who keyed in on the Sinatra phase of Jones’ career with performances of “I Got You Under My Skin” and “Fly Me to the Moon.” The post-dinner concert, a journey through Jones' and Caine's storied lives, featured performances by Jennifer Hudson, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Snoop Lion, Jordin Sparks, Patti Austin with James Ingram, Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan (who sang a mean version of “Alfie” in salute to Caine). Also making appearances were Amy Poehler, Chris Tucker, Arsenio Hall, Whoopi Goldberg, Larry King and Jones’ daughter Rashida Jones. Announced as a performer in March, Barbra Streisand unfortunately did not appear.
After Wonder led the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” to Jones and Caine -- both born on March 14 -- the two men walked onstage to say thanks. “I’m so proud of this night being on behalf of charity,” said Jones. “Living, laughing, loving and giving... that’s what life is about.” Added Caine, “Me and Q have been called legends, but the real legends are at the [Cleveland Clinic].” To wrap the evening, will.i.am led the evening’s performers in “We Are the World.”
Jones’ next birthday celebration takes place July 21 at the Montreux Jazz Festival where he will be honored with his late friend and festival founder Claude Nobs. Three days later, Jones and Caine will party again at London’s Royal Opera House. Then on July 31 and Aug. 1, Jones’ final birthday bash will take place in Tokyo with Japanese music executive Tom Nagashima, son of the late concert promoter Tats Nagashima.