The state of mind at this year’s Global Citizen Festival, held on Saturday, took a very local spin thanks to hometown girl Alicia Keys.
When you’re in the heart of New York City — in the middle of the Great Lawn of Central Park, on the perfect Indian summer evening — it’s going to be hard to beat Keys doing her piano-woman take on Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” that segued into her Jay-Z-free version of “Empire State of Mind.”
With iconic images of New York flashing on the video screen behind her, Keys sang about the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” as everybody on the Great Lawn “put one hand in the air for the big city.” As the energy seemed to lift to the Manhattan sky above it all, stretching out to the top of the Empire State Building and beyond, it was the kind of pinch-me moment that gave you straight-up chills.
It’s got to rank with one of the most memorable moments at the Global Citizen Festival since it was first held at Central Park in 2012. And that’s saying a lot considering Keys — in her third appearance at the event, which raises awareness for global issues such as poverty, education and the environment — wasn’t even the headliner.