Carole King, who got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Dec. 3, used her stardom for a shining cause at the Dec. 4 Dolby Theater concert "You've Got a Friend...A Celebration of Carole King and Her Music,'' a benefit for Paul Newman's The Painted Turtle, a camp for seriously ill kids who are up for some serious fun.
Produced by Lou Adler and Kevin Duncan and hosted by Quincy Jones, Jack Nicholson (who called Jones "the master of the grooveyard"), and Danny DeVito, King performed her hits, as did John Legend, Darlene Love, Jesse McCartney, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Tom Scott, Merry Clayton, Herb Alpert, Lani Hall, 18-year-old jazz prodigy Nikki Yanofsky, several players on the original 1971 "You've Got a Friend" recording, and Jakob Dylan, filling in for Vince Gill, who couldn't make his planned appearance.
Journalists were discouraged from reviewing the performances at the fundraiser, but a few facts can be noted. The packed theater erupted in a standing ovation after the King/Keys duet on "Natural Woman." Nicholson evidently thought Perry looked dazzling in a bright green Yves Saint Laurent dress singing "So Far Away," because he gave her a little smooch after. And King really did look more glamorous at 70 than she did in 1962.
The concert was a starry love fest. Amy Grant told the crowd King's success meant a lot to her. "Her voice was rough around the edges when it came out, and mine was too, and her hair was big and fuzzy, and mine was too." After Merry Clayton (famous for the Rolling Stones' 1969 "Gimme Shelter") belted out "Way Over Yonder," King said, "Every time I go on tour, I try to sing it like that. We do what we can do!"
Several of the extraordinarily charming kids from the Painted Turtle camp spoke, sang, did routines, and then sang with the stars, many of them arm in arm. The camp is supported by donations, including the concert. "There is no billing department," King explained. So far, 22,832 kids have been served by the Painted Turtle. It looks like a good investment.