Inside Elton John's AIDS Foundation Party

The piano man rounds up his famous friends for an AIDS Foundation bash in New York City

Elton John was burning the candle at both ends Tuesday, launching his own line of scents and candles at Bath & Body Works and White Barn Candle Co. stores in the morning, and jamming with Neil Young and Elvis Costello at a New York City event for his Elton John AIDS Foundation at night. (The proceeds from his line will also benefit the Foundation.)

Just before the evening bash – the fifth annual An Enduring Vision event – John, accompanied by his husband David Furnish, told PEOPLE the two performers he was most excited about presenting were Costello and Diana Krall. The couple is expecting twins in December and Krall – who said, “I feel good” – showed off her burgeoning belly. “They are dear friends,” John said. And just for luck, Whoopi Goldberg, a presnter at the event, kissed Krall’s stomach backstage.

Onstage, Goldberg asked the audience to donate to Elton’s foundation. “We need your money!” she said. “You don’t want a menopausal black woman coming to your table to snatch your purse!”

The party – also attended by Ivana Trump, Moby and Billie Jean King – has been in the works since last year. “This was the only date available from October to Christmas,” John said. “You have to step into the trenches if someone you know is sick. I do a lot of benefits – 30 a year. There are 365 days a year. It sounds like a lot but it’s not. I have a duty to do this because I’ve been so lucky.”

Highlights of the evening included Neil Young singing his version of John’s “Your Song,” with John singing harmony.

When John’s turn before the crowd came, he talked about the need for more research and HIV prevention programs. “Clearly,” he said, “we must do more.” All told, John’s benefits have raised more than $100 million for AIDS research – and Tuesday’s event raised a whopping $2.5 million for his foundation.

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