A virtual concert filled with A-listers – from The Rolling Stones to Taylor Swift to Billie Eilish – thrilled audiences around the world with a show honoring health workers, as a sanctuary for billions at home because of coronavirus pandemic.
Lizzo, Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and LL Cool J also entered the online party organized by Lady Gaga, which was sponsored in collaboration with the World Health Organization by the international advocacy group Global Citizen.
Until opening the display, Lady Gaga – who began working with Global Citizen and the World Health Organization weeks ago to raise funds for the fight against COVID-19 – said she prayed for humanitarian staff and was “thinking of all of you that are at home, who are wondering when this is all going to be different.”
“What I’d like to do tonight, if I can, is just give you the permission to, for a moment – smile,” she said as she began singing a rendition of Nat King Cole’s ‘Smile.’
Stevie Wonder then wowed the late soul singer Bill Withers with a tribute.
Sitting at his home piano Wonder, who turns 70 next month, played ‘Lean On Me’ in his unique crystal-clear voice before launching into his own ‘Love’s In Need Of Love Today.’
Given his 76 years, Mick Jagger also looked ageless as he delivered the classic ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ as his fellow Stones played from their respective homes, including a grinning Charlie Watts on the drums.
Swift also played the tender ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ on her piano, which the pop phenom wrote of her mother’s cancer struggles.
Global Citizen conceived the prime-time event televised on major worldwide television networks – and presented by American late-night television personalities Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert – not as a fundraiser but as a moment of solidarity through music.
They have organized it as a ‘rallying cry’ to help health staff, though coronavirus has forced or encouraged at least 4.5 billion people to stay at home.
Prior to the event, Global Citizen began encouraging philanthropists, businesses and governments to assist the WHO in its coronavirus response efforts, saying it has raised $35 million for local organizations and the international health body’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.