Maestro and songwriter to the stars, David Foster, who collaborates and produces hits for some of the greatest performers in the music business, returns to the Great Performances series. Some of his favorite chart-topping artists will join him for a magnificent night of music. It’s called Hitman Returns: David Foster & Friends, and the all-star celebration airs in March, on PBS SoCal KOCE Sunday, March 6, repeated on March 12 and beyond.
It’s the sequel to the ultra-popular Hitman: David Foster & Friends Great Performances concert show. The new music extravaganza was filmed at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and it includes more wonderful music from the 15-time Grammy winning Foster’s extensive career catalog.
“We had such a phenomenal time last go round, I knew that I wanted to come back with a stronger, bigger and even more theatrical show that would be totally unforgettable. I think we succeeded in assembling some of the greatest voices out there for one night,” Foster said. “I was thrilled to be hosting and accompanying my friends on this very special night.”
Foster’s friends include Donna Summer, Seal, Natalie Cole, Martina McBride, Ne-Yo, Michael Bolton, Lara Fabian, Kenny Loggins, Ruben Studdard, Chaka Khan, All-4-One and Earth, Wind & Fire. Plus America’s Got Talent’s 10-year-old opera sensation Jackie Evancho joins the stellar lineup. All perform songs written, produced or connected to Foster over the course of his prolific career.
Show stopping solos are featured from veteran performers and newcomers, including new Glee star Charice, who does a soulful “All By Myself.” The concert also features duets, such as Natalie Cole and Ruben Studdard’s nostalgic “When I Fall in Love,” and Bolton and Seal’s bluesy “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Seal and Donna Summer duet on a powerhouse medley with “Unbreak My Heart,” “Crazy,” and “On the Radio.” Bolton and Lara Fabian duet on the great Foster hit “The Prayer.”
Foster has been nominated for an unprecedented 45 Grammy awards, won two Emmys and has an Oscar nomination to his credit. He is also the executive producer of Hitman Returns: David Foster & Friends, along with Great Performances’ David Horn, who directed.
It has been Horn’s tradition during the Television Critics Press Tour to end the PBS day of interviews with a concert, showcasing an upcoming music special. Foster happily provided a great evening of music and stories for the gathering of TV writers from across the U.S. and Canada, his native land.
One story was about the prime minister of Canada telling Foster to listen to a young wedding singer named Michael Buble:
“He was right. I flew Michael to my house, moved him in, gave him money to live on.” And under Foster’s guidance, Buble became a pop-music sensation.
In addition to being very charitable, Foster has a great sense of humor and kidded about not taking elevators because “I’m afraid I’m going to hear my own music in there.”
Actually, Foster told me he’s an egomaniac when it comes to his music.
“I honestly believe that I can get a better vocal out of a singer than any other producer on the planet. I like to create songs where people applaud in the middle of the song.” That happened a lot during his private concert at Pasadena’s Langham Hotel.
He was funny parading through his greatest hits, along with a mention of which ex-wife got custody of which hit song. Then a couple of friends joined him. Charice wowed everybody with “All By Myself,” and Donna Summer turned the place into a rocking disco belting out “Last Dance.”
The surprising highlight of the evening for me was when Foster was boasting that he could bring out the best in any performer. And he plucked me out of the audience to share his spotlight and asked me to do a song with him. So with musician-producer David Foster tinkling on the Yamaha ivories, I launched into “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”
My performance received a standing ovation from my peers, a remarkable gift from the hard-to-please critics. Praise from Foster calling me his “little singing partner” also turned the experience into a “bucket list” musical moment with the celebrated hitman.