Dressed in a star-spangled pantsuit covered in sparkles and a monogrammed “H,” Katy Perry belted out a set of her hits—from “Roar” to “Firework”—at a campaign fundraiser for Hillary Clinton held on Wednesday night at Radio City Music Hall.
“I’m not voting for her because she’s a woman,” Perry said, as she struggled to catch her breath between songs. “I’m voting for her because she’s the right person for the job.”
Perry was the final act in a celebrity-driven “I’m With Her” concert in New York that included performances by Elton John (who received six standing ovations for a 30-minute medley of his greatest hits) and Andra Day, as well as onstage appearances by Jamie Foxx and Julianne Moore.
All three of the Clintons spoke: Hillary’s comments were the briefest (she called the evening “Super Wednesday,” a reference to her strong performance on Tuesday’s high-profile political contests); Chelsea highlighted her mom’s leadership (“I couldn’t imagine a better president”); and Bill delivered an impassioned 15-minute stump speech about his wife’s record as an agent of change. He joked that he needed to fill some time, “so that Katy’s stage can be set.”
Perry had previously crooned for Clinton at a fundraiser in Iowa. “It’s hard to do this,” Perry said. “I mean, don’t read my comments. Don’t scroll down,” she said, suggesting that her political endorsement had cost her fans.
“We need a president who can do all parts of the job,” Perry continued. “A person that is strong but also human, that loves humanity and looks out for us and our basic human rights and needs, which I can’t believe are still a question in 2016.”
She dedicated one of her songs, “Unconditional,” to Clinton. “I believe that Hillary believes in unconditional love,” Perry said.
But some of the other songs she performed (such as “California Gurls,” with its lyrics about “sex on the beach”) didn’t have a clear Hillary connection.
John opened behind the piano with an admonition. “This is an important year for America, and she’s the only hope you have,” he said, before performing such classics as “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man” and “I’m Still Standing” (which he dedicated to the candidate). “I cannot wait for Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States,” John said, as he mentioned her fight of HIV/AIDS advocacy and LGBT rights. “I have known her for 25 years and in that time I’ve never ceased to be awed by her vision, intelligence her tenacity and her warmth.”
Bill talked about how his wife’s campaign, which struggled to fend off Bernie Sanders in early February, had finally hit its groove. “I see little snippets of people writing articles on the Internet or making public comments that show she’s finally breaking through, that people actually get her,” the president said.
He added: “There are some days I wish we hadn’t been married for 40 years, because then if I showed up and said this, maybe more people would believe me,” he said of his endorsement. “I know something about this job.”
He also took a few digs at the Republican party, a preview of how he could be deployed by the Clinton campaign in the general election. “It was hard for me to be as mad as those guys were at the debate the other night,” he said. “I thought they were going to come to blows. But I was concerned about the real challenges we face.”
Moore argued that Clinton would try to stop the gun violence that claims 88 lives a day in the United States. “Hillary has always fought for us, and now it’s our turn to fight for her,” the Oscar-winning actress said. Fox also added his support: “Hillary Clinton is the right person for the job,” he said.
The fundraiser sold tickets for $125 to $2,700, but they were available for less on third-party Web sites that had an overstock of open seats. Security for the event was tight, and when Perry had the crowd on their feet, guards cleared out audience members who got too close to the stage. One man complained: “They are kicking people out of the aisle and I paid $2,000 for a ticket. Let us dance.”