Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrity Fight Night 2013

I am FINALLY posting the rest of my Celebrity Fight Night images!  I spent most of the evening focusing on the audience, but took a few pictures of the happenings on stage.  My audience pictures are now available in gallery number 7 of the Main Event in Celebrity Fight Night on the Phil Gudenschwager page, so if you were at Celebrity Fight Night, keep checking back to see your images.   Make sure you look through the other galleries as well!   The password to view those images is CFN2013.
Celebrity Fight Night 2013 Steve Martin

Celebrity Fight Night 2013 Steve Martin Steep Canyon Rangers
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers opened the evening.  The bluegrass music immediately took me back to high school adventures at my best friend's fiddle festivals.  Even though Mr. Martin had been wearing a brace on his wrist earlier, he played the banjo wonderfully.
Dennis Washington was the first to receive a 2013 Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Award.  Mr. Washington is a philanthropist and the owner of Washington Companies.

Lonnie Ali is just beautiful.  She seemed genuine and very gracious.
Billy Crystal and Muhammad Ali clasped hands as they recounted a moment from their past.  Mr. Crystal reenacted a facial expression he had made, imitating the Champ.  The great fighter joined in and they both mimicked Mr. Ali's original reaction of twirling his finger beside his head as if to say, "You're crazy."  It was a very touching moment to witness.

Mr. Steve Martin was the next to receive the 2013 Award.  Unfortunately, he "..was traveling in Europe and could not be there to receive the award."  I LOVE his sense of humor.

After being escorted back to the podium by Billy Crystal,  (he had walked away after making his first conciliatory speech),  Mr. Martin didn't disappoint, and had the entire audience laughing at his every remark.
Mr. Martin tells the audience of how glad he is that the award is a trophy and not a plaque, and goes on to explain why trophies are superior to plaques in a dead pan style that brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Mario Lopez had the honor of introducing Jennifer Lopez.

Earlier in the evening, Lonnie Ali had recounted how Jennifer Lopez had held Muhammad's full attention when they met before the event.  She succeeded in doing it again while accepting her award.

She really does have a lovely smile.

The auction portion of the evening followed the awards.  Tom Hanks was not present at the event, but he did phone in on his wife's cell phone to help up the bid for a dinner with the couple.
The winning bidders were brought champagne to toast their victory.
Haley Reinhart performed "Bennie and the Jets".  Not only is her voice incredible, but she really captures the attention of the audience.  She is a true performer and isn't on stage just to sing.

David Foster, grammy award winning composer and music director for Celebrity Fight Night,  accompanies Tate Stevens, winner of The X  Factor.  Mr. Stevens added some country flair to the evening.
Talk about flair, who could take their eyes off of  Rita Wilson?  She has such charisma, not to mention, talent.
Another stand out performer was Andrea Bocelli.  Mr. Bocelli flew in from Italy to perform at the event and I, for one, am so glad he did!   I could have listened to him all night.
I couldn't decide which image of Mr. Bocelli to use because his smile is just so great in all of them.

I wasn't the only one entranced by Mr. Bocelli's performance.  The whole audience sat silent, some with tears streaming down their cheeks, and many with cell phones aimed at the stage in hopes of preserving the moment.  It left me wondering if a cell phone could ever even begin to capture the depth of Mr. Bocelli's voice.
Okay, last one, at least the last one of just him.
As a last minute surprise, David Foster called Michael Johns up to "rock" the audience with his rendition of "We Are the Champions" by Queen.
Keith Harkin, former singer with Celtic Thunder, also took the mic.  Anytime you get to hear an Irish accent is a bonus in my book, but we also got to hear him sing.
This is Gus.  David Foster seemed to be stalling for time because, "Girls take longer to get ready," and he said something to the effect of, "Let's get someone unlikely up here."  That is all this young man needed, and he jogged up and requested a chance to sing.  There was no accompaniment, but Gus didn't need it anyway.  He was amazing.  He dedicated his song to The Champ.  I can't tell you what the song was, because it was in another language, but I can tell you that it was masterfully done (in my opinion) and amazing to watch.  I don't know if it was planned, but the spontaneity seemed authentic and I didn't see them rehearse it in the run through before the show.  Either way, well done Gus!
This is Gus kissing his date directly following his debut.
Jennifer Lopez was the headliner for the evening.

Andrea Bocelli came back out to sing a duet with Jennifer Lopez.

I think her smile got just a bit bigger as she sang with him.
It was a very elaborate show and I was quite impressed with how quick her costume changes were.  I know that may be an odd comment to make when describing a concert, but she was REALLY fast.
Like I said, I spent most of the evening photographing the audience.  Maybe you recognize these gentlemen.

Also in the audience, were Frankie Muniz and his fiance Elycia Turnbow.
The evening ended with a burst of confetti and what seemed to be small bits of dry ice.  It made a beautiful background.

Overall, it was such an honor to be included on the Phil Gudenschwager photography team for Celebrity Fight Night.  The event was wonderful.  It was well run and very honoring.  No wonder it is such a popular event.