Stevie Wonder is a benevolent presence on this planet. It is a joy to be in any room where he can be found. So it’s only fitting that he created one of LA’s most enduring holiday traditions – the House Full of Toys benefit, at which thousands of concertgoers will deposit thousands of new, unwrapped toys into bloody great bins for distribution to needy kids, then watch a concert at which Wonder alternates as host, master of ceremonies, star performer, curator of the evening’s special guests, and a special guest himself. I’m sure the first times I ever saw or heard of Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding and Ja Rule were all at various iterations of this show.
The content of these annual shows changes around considerably from year to year. Sometimes Stevie Wonder gives up most of the program to his friends, but at others, he isn’t shy to take hold of the spotlight. His decision to take Songs In The Key Of Life on the road started at one of these shows in 2013. Last year’s program saw him perform the twin epics Talking Book and Innervisions in their entirety, for what was evidently a one-time event.
This year, Wonder has been touring a show called Song Party and without giving too much away, expect to hear a lot of songs you already know. Other announced guests include Anderson.Paak, Leon Bridges, Chante Moore, Daley, PJ Morton, Ro James and the group 4th Ave. Just get there early and plan to stay up late. Whatever the man has in mind for you, trust that it will warm your heart and make you feel Christmas spirit. Wonder also announced last week that some proceeds will be going to address the needs of the firefighters who have been on the front lines of the California wildfires.
Stevie Wonder’s House Full OF Toys 2018, at Staples Center on Sunday, December 9. Tickets, $35 to $179.50, at axs.com.