R&B connoisseur John Legend delivered a medley of his smoothest hits at the grand opening of the Westfield World Trade Center, also known as the Oculus Mall, on Tuesday (Aug. 16).
With a special introduction from CBS This Morning co-anchor and Oprah Winfrey’s BFF Gayle King, Legend performed a seven-song set including “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” his 2004 breakout hit “Used To Love U” and the Meghan Trainor duet “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.”
The Oculus Mall — an impressive, 160-foot tall structure that mirrors the shape of a dove taking flight — occupies a spot at Ground Zero 15 years after the tragic Sept. 11 terror attacks. Legend, a former New York resident, recalled living in the city during that time. “I lived in New York for a very long time. I was here back in 2001 for what the city went through but we’re stronger than all of that,” he told the crowd comprised of families affected by the attacks and mall-goers. “We’re strong enough to recover together and love each other and to re-build… to celebrate the spirit of this great city.”
He also offered a nostalgic anecdote of his days as an unsigned singer trying to make it before launching into “Used To Love U,” saying, “Back when I was here at that age, I was trying to get a record deal. As Gayle said, I had a day job as a management consultant … but I got turned down by every major label, including the one I’m signed to now.”
Legend — who became a father after welcoming his first daughter, Luna Simone Stephens, with wife Chrissy Teigen in April — also performed his classic slow jams “Save Room,” “Ordinary People” and his first Hot 100 No. 1 hit “All of Me.”