WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Stevie Wonder discussed politics, talked pop culture and poked fun at his eyesight — sometimes all at once — between playing his hits at a tiny West Hollywood club in preparation for a series of shows.
“So Donald!” Wonder yelled at one point during a set at the Peppermint Club that ran into the early hours Thursday.
He made sure the crowd knew he didn’t mean Donald Trump.
“Donald Glover! I saw your last video!” Wonder said to big laughs. He had to acknowledge that Glover, who sat in the back of the room alongside actress Angela Basset and grooved to Wonder songs such as “My Cherie Amour” and “Living for the City,” has been all the buzz since the premiere of his satirically violent and political video “This is America.”
“I got some songs on the next project, I think it would be great for us to collaborate, and do some visuals,” he told Glover, an actor whose hip-hop moniker is Childish Gambino. “In a time when the world seems so asleep, it’s great to know when people are woke.”
Glover later joined him on stage for an encore featuring “Superstition,” with help from Jessie J, Kelly Rowland, Luke Kelly and Shelea.
The 68-year-old Wonder had summoned fellow musicians, friends, fans and a handful of reporters to the club for a special announcement, saying he plans to play a series of shows in the coming months to celebrate life, love and music and push back against troubled times.
“So much is going on in the world. And there is too much confusion,” Wonder said. “The one thing we know for sure that we can celebrate is our life, our love and our music… The positive will win in the end.”
He gave no specifics on the shows other than saying Las Vegas will be in the mix. He went on to say he hopes to have his long-in-the-works album “Through The Eyes of Wonder” done before the end of the year.
Yet his unique set felt like the real point of the evening, as Wonder led his five-piece band through “Higher Ground,” ”Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and “Overjoyed.”
After “Superstition,” Wonder led Glover and the others in a messy rendition of “Do You Love Me?” in honor of his 88-year-old mentor and Motown founder Berry Gordy, who wrote the 1962 hit for the Contours and sat in the booth nearest the stage for most of the night.
Wonder laughed as he struggled to remember the song as he went along, admitting in the middle, “I never played this live before!”