The annual Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual gala went virtual on Wednesday as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While it wasn’t the usual red-carpeted banquet affair, the stars still came out to celebrate and raise money for the BAM community. The evening saw a number of special guest performers, but they saved the best for last. To conclude the fundraiser, St. Vincent hopped on video chat to play an acoustic version of her 2017 single “New York” with dark, moody visuals.
The BAM Virtual Gala was a tribute to this year’s honorees: actress Cate Blanchett, writer Zadie Smith, and philanthropist Jeanne Donovan Fisher. After presenting special at-home versions of the previously scheduled choir, dance, and art performances, the hour-long event closed with Annie Clark’s intimate rendition.
Armed with an acoustic guitar in a darkened room with multicolored gels casting gentle light from both sides, Clark rolled out the MASSEDUCTION number with a somber delivery. Like most performance “livestreams” these days, the whole take was pre-recorded, as Clark herself signaled at the end when she cheerfully added, “That was the one!” The footage was directed by Adam McClelland and produced by Leah Lehrer, and you can watch the full thing below.
It looks like St. Vincent is getting comfortable going back to her solo singer-songwriter roots these days. She’s been offering all sorts of exclusives lately that feel rather transparent and intimate compared to her most recent records. Take her new song “The Eddy”, for instance, or her new podcast where she interviews artists in the shower. If this is what quarantine does to St. Vincent, then we’re absolutely here for it.