Ali’s Fight Night Dazzles with David Foster, Andrea Bocelli & Jennifer Lopez



by Jenny Peters

It’s a tough crowd in Phoenix, but when they like you, they really, really like you.

And they showered their love onto Reba McEntire and Rita Wilson (along with Tom Hanks via telephone) during the extended live auction section of Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XIX held on March 23 at the J. W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. At the champ’s annual fundraiser that supports his Parkinson Center and a host of other charities, the deep-pocketed crowd bid $400,000 — twice — to have dinner with them at Reba’s Beverly Hills manse.


Two thousand people packed the ballroom, vying to throw money at the cause after being treated to the bluegrass pickings of Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers and witnessing the 71-year-old Ali walking across the stage, aided by wife Lonnie. That sight brought tears and cheers, especially from the fighter’s “Little Brother,” comedian Billy Crystal, who always makes this scene. Ali, who does not speak in public, watched as Crystal handed Martin his Celebrity Fight Night Award, which is, of course, shaped like a boxing ring.

“I like getting a trophy,” Martin cracked. “It’s so much better than a plaque. Think about it: so many producers in Hollywood have a trophy wife, but not one has a plaque wife!”

Jennifer Lopez brought boyfriend Casper Smart to the party; she, too, took home an award, proffered up by the not-related Mario Lopez. Billionaire businessman Dennis Washington was also honored; he’s had the same wife for almost 50 years, but Phoenix certainly has its share of trophy wives, too, and every one of them was dripping in diamonds and on display at the bash. But it was mostly the men who did the big-bucks bidding, being well-lubricated as the Moet bubbly and Belvedere vodka flowed. And Go Daddy owner (and another billionaire) Bob Parsons led the charge.

He threw down $175K to party at JLo’s next movie premiere; $500K to have dinner with Crystal, Martin and Robin Williams; and $550K to visit singer Andrea Bocelli at his Tuscan home. And the cash kept flowing from other sources, too, as a golf day with Phil Mickelson went for $325K, a Paul McCartney meet-and-greet for $70K and a private dinner with Halle Berry a trifling $50K.

Guests ranging from Joe Manganiello to Evander Holyfield were treated to a crazy mix of musical guests presented by maestro David Foster, from “American Idol” alums Haley Reinhart and Michael Johns belting out pop tunes to Tate Stevens and Billy Ray Cyrus doing country, immediately followed by Bocelli singing “Ave Maria.”

“I would have swum across the ocean to be here with Muhammad Ali,” proclaimed Bocelli, who’d flown in from Abu Dhabi that morning.

The night ended with the extravaganza that is JLo on tour: multiple costume changes, 12 backup dancers, wind machine blowing her hair back, extravagant canned music – and in one real moment, a Spanish duet with Bocelli that reminded the happy crowd of what she sounds like when she actually sings live.

All in all, $7.2 million was raised. Not bad for one single star-studded night in the desert.

Review: David Foster’s Miracle Weekend: Starry, starry night a big hit



Charity fundraiser helps families of children who need organ transplants
Mike Devlin,

In terms of nights on the town, this one was pretty starry, indeed.
Bolstered by an all-star assembly of talent – including American Idol alums Ruben Studdard and Michael Johns, singers Josh Groban and Sarah McLachlan, boxing icon Muhammad Ali, and comic Sinbad, among others – the grand finale of David Foster’s Miracle Weekend was a capital-E event.
Following a charity auction that on the floor raised more than $2 million for the David Foster Foundation, a segment of the seven-hour evening that drew a standing ovation with a brief appearance by the Phoenix-based Ali, the concert portion got underway with an extended video of Foster’s biggest hits.
But as they say in the business, there ain’t nothing like the real thing, and when Foster weaved through the audience on his way to the stage it was to a rapturous ovation from his fans.
Foster opened with his signature song, Love Theme From St. Elmo’s Fire, a fitting way to open the David Foster Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Miracle Concert and Gala. Not long after, he addressed the crowd with a burst of excitement.
“Do you have any idea how fantastic it was to stand at the back of that room and see this town give over the space of 20 minutes over $2 million?” Foster said, incredulous at the outpouring of support for the families of children in need of life-saving organ transplants.
“This is beyond my wildest dreams.”
Seattle-bred star Kenny G was late to the party, so to speak (he didn’t arrive until mere hours before showtime) but when he joined Foster it was like the noted smooth jazz instrumentalist had been here all week. As he strode through the audience, holding a single, sustained note on his soprano saxophone, it proved in less than a minute why he is the biggest selling instrumental artist of his generation.
The playful jabs between G and Foster, who ribbed each other about their previous divorces, weren’t bad, either.
The crowd of roughly 6,000 came alive at the appearance of the Canadian Tenors, the singing group whose earlier incarnation got its start in Victoria. Known for their opera-infused songs, some of which were written by Foster, the group brought down the house with a strong two-song performance, even without member Remigio Pereira, who had taken ill. Their mini set not only had Foster in awe, it prompted hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to ask, “How good were the Tenors?”
You know who was good? Studdard. The Velvet Teddy Bear serenaded Ali with an impromptu song that all but brought the crowd to tears. “I hope somebody got that on film,” Foster said.
Studdard kicked it up a notch when he sang a quiet-storm version of Michale Buble’s Home, which Foster’s daughter, Amy, co-wrote. Need evidence as to why Studdard won American Idol in 2003? He delivered it.
A video montage of previous Foster fundraisers put into perspective how long Foster has been at this game – and how many stars have appeared in Victoria over the years, from Olivia Newton-John and Michael J. Fox to Rob Lowe and John Travolta.
“Boy, was it worth it,” Foster said, making note of his changing hairstyles over the years.
Sinbad brought the humour big-time, mocking Wayne Gretzky for leaving Edmonton for L.A., among other things. During his set he warned Victorians of letting U.S. citizens know about the best Victoria has to offer (“Don’t tell ’em, they’ll mess it up,” he cautioned) and told a hilarious (and seemingly true) story about the recording process of Foster’s first hit with Skylark, Wildflower, that involved Sinbad and a stolen harp.
“I still have that thing in my basement,” Sinbad said. “Still can’t play it.”
Foster played Man in Motion, with help from American Idol finalist Michael Johns, which was accompanied by a video montage of the man who inspired the song, Rick Hansen.
“She is one of the most beautiful talents I have ever come across,” Foster said, by way of introduction to Vancouver singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan. “Ever, ever.”
McLachlan sang Adia by herself at the piano, from the satellite stage, but the real magic was to come minutes later, when – for the first time in 20 years – she sang the song Angel without being seated at the piano. That was Foster’s territory on this night, and he and McLachlan made for a fine pair – as in, cue the standing ovation.
“God, was that heavenly,” Foster said at the conclusion.
The Canadian Tenors came back to the stage with McLachlan and Kenny G in tow for a version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah that would have all but sealed the deal on this night – that is, if it weren’t for Josh Groban.



The multi-platinum singer, who said he was suffering from laryngitis, sang the touching February Song sitting at the piano as if he was in perfect health, and delivered with assistance from Foster a moving version of Don McLean’s Vincent (Starry Starry Night).
Groban took it up a notch when he went to the satellite stage, with backing from red-robed members of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and closed the show with You Raise Me Up. It was a fitting message, and song.
The stars were good, indeed. The Hitman, as Foster is known, was equally effective. He kept it local all night, from backing by members of the Victoria Symphony to stories of his days growing up in the Garden City.
We’re happy to have had him. Even though he now lives in Los Angeles, he’s still ours. And with concerts like the one he put on Saturday night – the final total was $4.6 million – we’re all the better for his generosity.
© The Victoria Times Colonist 2012

Foster leads the way for stars



David Foster, centre, B.C. singer Michael Buble and Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin christen David Foster Way on Victoria’s harbourfront on sunny Friday afternoon.
Photograph by: Lyle Stafford, (May 2012)


A celebrity-filled weekend celebrating the 25th anniversary of David Foster’s foundation got off to a rousing start Friday when a harbour walkway was named in his honour.

Hundreds gathered on Government Street for the surprise unveiling of the David Foster Way sign at the corner of Belleville and Government streets.

“This is better than a Grammy!” exclaimed Foster, expressing his appreciation to crooner Michael Bublé for calling Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin a year ago with the idea.

“Thanks for taking my call,” said Bublé, who made an unexpected appearance. When completed, the walkway will be five kilometres, stretching from Ogden Point to Rock Bay.

Bublé and Foster were joined by Pamela Anderson, the Canadian Tenors, Rick Hansen, American Idol finalist Michael Johns and Foster’s wife Yolanda Coast Fisherman’s Harbourside Wharf Hadid. The celebrities are in town to support fundraising events for Foster’s foundation, which provides financial support for families of children who need organ transplants.




Foster flew into Victoria with Anderson on a private jet at 3 a.m. He then appeared on CFAX 1070’s 12-hour radiothon, which raised $111,720 for the foundation.

Foster later walked the red – or in this case, purple – carpet to a dinner and concert at Fairmont Empress’s Crystal Ballroom Friday night. A crush of fans assembled for a glimpse of stars. Guests included Foster, Ben Mulroney, the Canadian Tenors, American Idol winner Ruben Studdard and Anderson – wearing a low-cut, silky-green cocktail dress – who caused a traffic jam on the carpet.

The fundraiser, attended by guests who paid $10,000 a couple for a gala weekend, was to have been held at Oak Bay Beach Hotel, which pledged $2 million to the foundation. When construction issues delayed the hotel’s reopening, the Fairmont Empress stepped in.

“First we had to face a bit of sadness, but now we’re over that,” said Oak Bay Beach Hotel owner Kevin Walker.

“At this point, we’re elated at how [Empress manager] Martin Leclerc and his team have opened their doors, welcoming us into the big house.” Dozens of Oak Bay Beach Hotel employees teamed up with Fairmont Empress staff.

“This is Victoria, a very unique community,” said Leclerc. “We were very proud to provide the answer to that puzzle and proud that north of $200,000 goes to help saving lives by helping the foundation.

Everybody wins.”

Events continue today, featuring a concert at Saveon-Foods Memorial Centre that stars Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and the Canadian Tenors.

David Foster brings friends to Newark for hit-filled concert


David Foster



By Jay Lustig/The Star-Ledger
October 25, 2009, 1:29PM

The tour is called “David Foster and Friends.” And after more than 30 years as one of the pop world’s most successful songwriter-producers, Foster has plenty of friends to call on.

Peter Cetera (formerly of Chicago) and Philip Bailey (of Earth, Wind and Fire) were there when the tour hit the Prudential Center in Newark, Saturday. So were Deborah Cox, “American Idol” alumni Ruben Studdard and Michael Johns, and the quartet, the Canadian Tenors. But the closing slot went to a woman who has not released an album in the United States yet: Charice, a 17-year-old from the Philippines who is well known her own country, and is being mentored by Foster for worldwide stardom.

She has a big voice and, like another Foster protege, Celine Dion, projects a sense of steely determination when she sings. In this show, she was called on to belt out songs Foster has produced and/or co-written for divas Dion (“The Power of Love”) and Whitney Houston (“I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing”), as well as her own Foster-produced single, “Note To God.” Her poise and vocal command were impressive, especially in light of her youth. She ended her memorable mini-set with “I Will Survive,” one of the few songs in the show that Foster didn’t write or produce.

As expected, it was an evening of clean-cut, immaculately crafted pop music. Foster never has been hip, but his knack for helping singers make the most of their talents — two of his recent finds are Josh Groban and Michael Buble — is beyond question.

Foster, 59, served as the show’s amiable host, and accompanied everyone on piano. At several points, he emphasized that this was the third show of his first tour, ever.

Johns sang two of Foster’s rock hits: “She’s a Beauty” and “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion),” recorded by the Tubes and John Parr, respectively. The show’s three backing vocalists, meanwhile, tackled the “West Side Story” ballad “Somewhere” (which Foster produced for Barbra Streisand) and “Got To Be Real,” his disco hit with Cheryl Lynn.

Studdard stood in for Al Jarreau (the swinging “Mornin'”) and All-4-One (the earnest “I Swear”), and brought a touch of blues grit to “Home,” a hit for both Buble and country singer Blake Shelton.

Cetera and Bailey sang some of the buttery pop-soul hits they have made with Foster, and also briefly touched on their non-Foster history — Bailey with an excerpt from “Easy Lover,” Cetera with “If You Leave Me Now.”

Foster will soon embark on his second tour, joining Andrea Bocelli to perform songs from Bocelli’s upcoming, Foster-produced holiday album, “My Christmas.” Stops will include the Izod Center in East Rutherford, Dec. 5.
Michael Johns singing “Man In Motion”David Foster and Friends NJ 10/24

Peter Cetera “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” at David Foster NYC 10/23

Michael Johns and Peter Cetera Hard Habit to Break

David Foster playing St. Elmo’s Fire theme song

David Foster and Friends: Ruben Studdard – I Swear

David Foster and Friends: Ruben Studdard – Home

David Foster and Friends (Chicago): Charice – Bodyguard Medley

David Foster & Friends (BOSTON): Charice – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

David Foster & Friends: Canadian Tenors – Halleluiah

David Foster & Friends (BOSTON): Charice – Note to God

David Foster & Friends (BOSTON): Charice – The Power of Love

Deborah Cox and Cody Karey “The Prayer” @ David Foster & Friends concert 2009 w/ Charice

David Foster and Friends – America’s Song – Boston 10/25/09

David Foster and Friends (New Jersey): Charice – “I Will Survive”

Deborah Cox – “Un-break My Heart” – David Foster & Friends Concert Tour, Chicago

Deborah Cox – “Through The Fire” – David Foster & Friends Concert Tour, Chicago


David Foster and Friends U.S. and Canadian Tour Dates Announced


David Foster


NEW YORK – (Business Wire) Famed musical showman, producer and songwriter David Foster and some of his talented friends will be embarking on a 10-city tour of “David Foster and Friends” starting in Chicago on October 21st, including stops in New York, Boston, LA, Vancouver, Miami and other markets, it was confirmed today by Warner Bros. Records. In addition to such artists as Philip Bailey from the chart-topping Earth, Wind and Fire, Oprah protégé Charice, Chicago’s Peter Cetera and American Idol’s Michael Johns, fans can expect surprise visits at every show.

Foster, who has an unparalleled four-decade career producing, writing, discovering and nurturing some of the greatest talents in music, has added a special event to the “Foster and Friends Show” – a HIT MAN Talent Search for emerging artists that will take place in each city. Talent in each market will compete to be the next mega-artist by submitting video performances to NAMEDROP.COM. Following the pre-selection, radio and TV stations in their markets will air the selected video/audio clips and viewers/listeners will vote for the two finalists via station websites. The two finalists get to perform with Foster in front of a live audience during the Foster and Friends Concert. The audience and Foster will choose the final winner, who will be flown to Vancouver on November 8th for a final showdown in Foster’s home town.

With one of Hollywood’s most impressive phone books, Foster has yet to reveal which guests might visit him on stage during the tour. “Cher and Donny Osmond both surprised me in Las Vegas so I think people won’t be disappointed. I can certainly say each show will be very special and loads of fun. You never know what’s going to happen with this much talent on stage,” commented Foster who performed two sold out shows at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas recently.

Foster, a 15-time Grammy winner whose PBS Great Performances Special, “David Foster and Friends” was the highest pledged PBS show in history, will perform with his friends some of the hits that have paved the way for the many artists that he has worked with over the years, including Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Michael Bublé, Andrea Bocelli, Chaka Khan, Madonna, Chicago and The Corrs. Foster recently produced Seal’s critically acclaimed, “Soul” CD, Michael Bublé’s upcoming “Crazy Love” CD and a cut on Whitney Houston’s new CD. He is also in the studio with Oprah discovery Charice, who received five standing ovations during her recent performance in Las Vegas. David Foster’s current DVD/CD “Foster and Friends” is available on 143/Reprise Records.

Tour dates are as follows:

21-Oct Chicago, IL Wed Rosemont Theatre
23-Oct New York, NY Fri WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden
24-Oct Newark, NJ Sat Prudential Center
25-Oct Boston, MA Sun Agganis Arena
28-Oct Atlanta, GA Wed Fox Theatre
30-Oct Tampa, FL Fri St. Pete Times Forum
1-Nov Hollywood, FL Sun Hard Rock Live
5-Nov Los Angeles, CA Thur Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City Walk
6-Nov San Jose, CA Fri HP Pavilion
8-Nov Vancouver, BC Sun General Motors Place

Ticket prices are $125, $85 and $55 and can be purchased by logging on to or by calling 1-800-745-3000 (except for Vancouver, Canada, 604-280-4444, or