While thousands of people gathered in Times Square during a downpour for the chance to see Christina Aguilera, Dan + Shay, and New Kids on the Block, in a historic bar about 40 city blocks south New Year’s Eve revelers got to both avoid the rain and see Madonna. The pop star made a surprise appearance at the Stonewall Inn, where she gave a speech and sang two songs.
According to Billboard, Madonna was named an official ambassador of the iconic bar in honor of the 50th anniversary year of the 1969 Stonewall riots. When she took the stage shortly after midnight she said, “I stand here proudly at the place where pride began, the legendary Stonewall Inn, on the birth of a new year. We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution.”
In her speech Madonna encouraged the crowd to treat others with compassion. “Let’s take a moment to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019,” she said. “In this new year let’s commit to disarming people with unexpected acts of kindness. Let’s be counterintuitive, share what you know with someone you don’t agree with. Think about that, try it, get out of your comfort zone.”
She then performed “Like a Prayer” and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” She was accompanied on acoustic guitar by her son David Banda and by the crowd singing along. Watch a video of the unannounced performance below.