Stevie Wonder's holiday wish list reaches well beyond dreams of Christmas snow and glistening treetops. Reawakening the joy of a childhood Christmas is one wish, which he fulfilled musically in "I Wish," one highlight of his 4 1/2-hour House Full of Toys benefit Saturday at the Great Western Forum.
Another is that the event, now in its fifth year, will someday be international in scope. Wonder took a significant growth step this year with the move to the Forum from much smaller venues where it had taken place previously.
Saturday's concert was short of a sellout but still drew more than 10,000 fans, who generated enough toys and money to provide toys, food and clothing for more than 1,000 needy families across Los Angeles, according to officials at KJLH-FM (102.3), the sponsoring radio station--about 10 times more than have benefited previously.
Wonder tapped a slew of R&B, pop and jazz acts to help, from such hot recent arrivals as "Thong Song" star Sisqo, hip-hop songstress Mya and rock en espanol group La Ley to veterans including jazz singer Diane Schuur, smooth-jazz sax man Boney James and jazz fusion hero George Duke. Even Macy Gray--who shuttled to three of the evening's seasonal concerts-- popped in near the end for a quick song.