Tribeca Film Festival Opens With Star-Studded Tribute to Clive Davis

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19:  Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Tribeca Film Festival Opens With Star-Studded Tribute to Clive Davis

Aretha, Dionne, J-Hud and more performed for the music icon.

Published April 20, 2017

The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night (April 19) with its most star-studded opening gala to date. The event took place at Radio City Music Hall — a long way from Lower Manhattan — and began with a screening of the documentary Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

But the real fun began after the credits rolled. With Clive Davis in the audience, the biggest artists in music took the stage to perform in one of the most icon-packed concerts Radio City has likely ever seen. From Aretha Franklin to Jennifer Hudson to Carly Simon and Dionne Warwick, each artist was either discovered by Davis, or had their careers revitalized by him.

Whoopi Goldberg emceed the evening, which kicked off with a performance by Barry Manilow. Soon after, Jennifer Hudson took the stage to perform a medley of Whitney Houston's biggest hits. Carly Simon and Earth, Wind and Fire brought us back to the '70s before Dionne Warwick emerged, all grace and elegance in a jeweled red pantsuit, and proved that her legendary voice is as strong today as it was when she and Clive first collaborated decades ago.

Then, Aretha. As the show's finale and headlining performer, Miss Franklin floated on stage in a white gown and performed "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "Freeway of Love" to an audience who's behinds didn't touch their seats the entire time. "Like many of you, I have been fighting an upper respiratory illness, so you'll forgive me if I miss a few notes. But I wasn't going to miss this," she said. 

Shortly after the concert, the stars and guests packed into awaiting buses and headed to Tavern on the Green for a celebratory dinner, where old friends like Kenny G and Verdine White reconnected over bourbon cocktails and canapes, and Clive held court as usual.

We're here celebrating with #CliveDavis! Follow along on our Instastory!

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Amazing man #clivedavis the #queenofsoul still got it. What a tribute

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See the touching letter Clive wrote to Whitney Houston in BET Breaks, above.

Written by Evelyn Diaz

(Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)


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