How did Alicia Keys celebrate the release of her new album, Girl on Fire?
Forget lavish parties and crowded clubs -- the soulful singer took the stage in her beloved hometown of New York City on Tuesday night to perform an intimate concert for Hurricane Sandy first responders and volunteers.
"Tonight really is something special," said Keys after kicking off the show with "New Day" from Girl on Fire. "There's nothing like being in my hometown; there's nothing like the love that I have for my hometown, there's nothing like the love that you obviously have for your hometown."
To make the occassion, the iHeartRadio Theatre presented by P.C. Richard & Son was decorated with low-hanging chandeliers in black, white and red, Keys guided the audience through her decade-long canon of songs, including "Karma," "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart," "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)," "If I Ain't Got You" and her breakout hit, "Fallin'," in which she held out the first note over thunderous applause.
She also introduced a handful of songs from her fifth album, including "Listen to Your Heart," "Brand New Me," and "Not Even the King," along with the title track. Her husband Swizz Beatz stood just offstage, singing along.
Keys then treated attendees to a rare reggae remix of "You Don't Know My Name." Said Keys of the rhythmic twist: "Whenever it's raining outside, I always like to play reggae versions of a song, you know what I mean? Because suddenly you could be on a beach, and you could be with a sweet drink."
Just the night before, the seasoned singer flipped the switch to turn on the Empire State Building, which featured a custom 8-minute light show synchronized to "Girl on Fire" and "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down."
"The most beautiful thing I've ever seen," she said before performing the New York hit for the group of volunteers. "This is dedicated to all my New York survivors... I love our city, we have an incredible city. Thank you so much for all of your love and all you've done."
Yet the highlight of the one-hour show was when Keys performed "No One" -- crouching down into the audience, she serenaded her son, Egypt, with the hit song. She then carried him onstage during the bridge to dance with her for the remainder of the performance. The crowd gushed when she said "I love you" to her two-year-old, and when he responded to his mother into the microphone.
Girl on Fire is available now. Watch the video to see Egypt dance with with his mom: