Stevie Wonder

The Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Ballroom, Dec. 31

Yes, the Motown legend hasn’t had a major hit single since the mid-’80s, and, yes, at 61, he’s a bit older than the Cosmopolitan’s usual clientele. But Wonder’s talent and genius persevere, and he maintains a stockpile of songs that will endure long after people have forgotten about today’s disposable pop icons. The blind superstar ambled onstage without escort for opener “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” while playing a keytar, with which he wowed the audience as he lay down on the stage during an intricate solo that ushered in “My Eyes Don’t Cry.” From there, Wonder moved to keyboards and piano for the rest of the evening, and outside of a lengthy call-and-response exchange with the audience early on, the 2½-hour set was constant high energy. He abstained from ballads, thankfully omitting “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” and instead cranked out nearly two-dozen up-tempo favorites from his hit-making prime. He paused only to countdown to midnight and play “Auld Lang Syne” on the harmonica. Once Wonder reached the new year, hits such as “Higher Ground,” “Living for the City,” “Sir Duke” and “I Wish” kept popping like champagne corks. He even worked in covers of The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Six of Wonder’s children came onstage and gathered around their father during “Isn’t She Lovely,” and R&B stars Tyrese Gibson and Joe giggled in disbelief as they accompanied their idol during “Superstition.” Although the calendar flipped to 2012, Wonder delivered a performance that turned back the clock.

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