Seeing your favorite artist or band perform live can be an indescribable, life-changing moment that solidifies your devotion or renews your love of that performer. I spend most concerts screaming lyrics at the top of my lungs from my spot in the pit in an attempt to connect with the bands that mean so much to me, but some brave, wonderful artists open the stage to their fans, tearing down the walls that divide performer and audience and inviting members of the adoring masses to join in on the fun.
When artists take a huge musical risk and hand the microphone over to a fan, no one can predict what will happen. Most times, that move ends in high-pitched screaming and blown out audio. Every so often however, lightning strikes, and the results are nothing less than magical.
I’ve collected my top five favorite moments from concerts where fans were invited to sing with the musician. The energy, emotion, and pure joy captured in these videos is guaranteed to brighten your day!
5. “Ghost” – Ingrid Michaelson featuring Sheldon Rogers
While performing her haunting ballad “Ghost” in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2012, Ingrid Michaelson could hear Sheldon Rogers singing the harmonies throughout the song. For the final chorus, she asks that a microphone be brought to Rogers so he could help her finish the track. Rogers hits every note of the harmony perfectly with the emotion and inflection of the heartbreaking song, and you can tell he has been waiting for this moment for years. It’s not often you get to watch someone’s dreams come true, so enjoy this video!
4. “To Where You Are” – Josh Groban featuring Maude Daigneault
Thirteen-year-old Maude Daigneault may not have spoken English, but this Josh Groban fan overcame the language barrier at the artist’s concert in Montreal, Canada on July 23, 2011. Groban reads a letter in which Daigneault explains her “dream is to sing a duet with him” and subsequently tracks her down in the audience. He begins “To Where You Are” and once Daigneault sings, the crowd erupts in applause. The microphone is all hers as Groban provides nods of encouragement and Daigneault champions her way through the first verse. The song eventually becomes a duet that was a memorable and beautiful moment between artist and fan (and everyone else in the 10,000+ seat stadium).
3. “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” – Bruce Springsteen featuring an eleven year-old boy
On March 16, 2013, the legendary Bruce Springsteen pulled an 11-year-old fan onstage during his performance in Brisbane, Australia. The young man (whose name I couldn’t track down) was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans with a red cap in his back pocket, replicating Springsteen’s outfit on his 1984 album Born In The USA. The young fan belts out “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” to thunderous applause before doing a knee slide with The Boss. It’s fair to say this kid will always have the best party story.
2. “Feeling Good” – Michael Buble featuring Sam Hollyman
This clip from Michae Buble’s ITV documentary This is Michael Buble has been viewed almost six million times, so maybe you’ve seen what has become one of the most memorable moments in fan-cameo history. At the request of the fan’s heckling mother, Buble pulls shy 15-year-old Sam Hollyman onstage during a concert in Birmingham, England on October 9, 2010. Buble gives Hollyman a shot, and as the young fan croons the second verse in near-perfect Buble fashion, Buble’s excitement and genuine surprise (“Holy shitballs, mom!”) can’t help but make you smile, cheer, and, yes, “feel good” (I had to).
1. “For Good” – Kristin Chenoweth featuring Sarah Horn
While the Buble clip has reigned supreme, in my humble opinion, this unbelievable fan cameo during a performance has overthrown it. This incredible moment occurred during Kristin Chenoweth’s performance last Sunday, August 25, at the Hollywood Bowl here in Los Angeles and is one of the most touching and beautiful videos I’ve seen.
Voice teacher Sarah Horn can barely contain her excitement as Kristin Chenoweth calmly welcomes her onstage to sing the emotional duet “For Good” from the Broadway musical Wicked. From the moment Horn sings her first note, it’s pure magic. Not only does Horn know every word, she sings in perfect pitch and knows all of the difficult harmonies (a tall order)! Horn isn’t just singing; she is performing. Confidently. In front of almost 18,000 people.
Watching this video, you’d swear Horn was a plant and had rehearsed with Chenoweth prior to the performance, but the look on Chenoweth’s face and her commentary (“Holy crap, harmonies!”) tells you it was all a surprise. It’s inspirational, hopeful, and perfectly captures the incredible bond an artist, fan, and audience can share.