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Tuesday night, Alicia Keys set the Ed Sullivan Theater stage “on fire” with a breath-taking and soul-baring performance that brought the 2012 season of Live on Letterman to a fittingly triumphant conclusion.
Expectations were high before Keys even stepped on stage and sat behind her candelabra adorned piano, but it didn’t take long for her to exceed even the highest of hopes.
Alicia opened the show with the appropriately titled, “New Day,” and from the moment she walked through the theater doors, the audience was pulled into the powerful performance. She told the crowd she was honored to spend the holidays with them, but it was “a new day,” and she invited them all to sing and dance however they liked.
As “New Day” drew to a close, Alicia Keys declared, “I want to have some fun with you guys tonight, and it’s just limitedless,” and with that, Keys launched into a reggae-tinged mashup of her new track “Limitedless” and “You Don’t Know My Name” from The Diary of Alicia Keys.
Keys brought out her signature vocal hooks on “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart,” before giving the crowd a taste of more new material off Girl on Fire. The legend in the making even became self-aware and stopped to ponder the history of the Ed Sullivan Theater, telling the crowd she was honored to play there, among the big names like, “Tina Turner, The Supremes, Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald,” she continued, “the history, the her-story, the we-story is all up in here, not to mention the Beatles and Elvis and stuff,” she joked.
However, there was one question on the New York crowd’s mind, “would she play it? ‘Empire State of Mind?’” Yes, yes she would. The modern day anthem grew even stronger as the hometown girl closed out 2012 in one of the city’s most historic venues.
From there, the excitement and power of the show only grew, as Keys belted out “No One” like her soul depended on it, and she cemented “Brand New Me” and “Girl on Fire” as new Alicia Keys classics. It was a show for the ages, and the only way to close out such an outstanding year of Live on Letterman performances.
You can watch Alicia Keys Live on Letterman on-demand, presented by AT&T.
Since the 2001 release of her monumental debut album, Songs in A Minor, Keys has built an unparalleled repertoire of hits and accomplishments, with more than 30 million albums sold worldwide. She released her second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, in 2003, which was also a worldwide success and garnered her four GRAMMY® Awards in 2005. Later that year, she released her first live album, Unplugged, and became the first female to have an “MTV Unplugged” album to debut at #1 – the highest since Nirvana in 1994. Her third studio album, As I Am, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, with the album's lead single, "No One," charting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks. In late 2009, Keys released her fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom, which continued her successful track record, selling 417,000 copies in its first week, hitting the platinum sales mark in one month and spawning the #1 single “Unthinkable.” Her fifth studio album, Girl on Fire, released in November, marks her fourth album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Keys holds the distinction of being the first female R&B artist to have three consecutive #1 album debuts on the Billboard 200 album chart.