By Javier Romualdo.
Los Angeles, US, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- More than 100 artists and personalities from the fields of culture and politics came together at the weekend for “One World: Together at Home,” a musical paying tribute to healthcare workers and which raised millions of dollars to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The livestreamed event, organized by the World Health Organization with nonprofit group Global Citizen, lasted eight hours and included social media performances and speeches – with messages of hope, and gratitude towards health professionals – culminating in a large concert in which stars such as the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder sang from their homes.
Although the concert sought to collect donations for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, from the outset viewers were asked to set aside their wallets, as this time the responsibility was left to large companies and world leaders.
Global Citizen, together with Lady Gaga, after the event announced on social media “$127.9 million in commitments to date in support of healthcare workers.”
Taylor Swift’s performance best summed up the spirit of the moment as she sang “Soon You’ll Get Better,” the lyrics of which were originally dedicated to her mother in cancer treatment and this weekend served as a message of encouragement to the whole planet.
The pandemic was the focus throughout the event, as images of cities such as Paris, Madrid, London, New York and Buenos Aires, streets all empty under quarantine, were projected.
One of the most awaited acts was the Rolling Stones, who performed “You Can’t Get Always What You Want” over video-call.
The unique performance featured each band member playing and singing from their respective houses.
Mick Jagger began singing with his acoustic guitar; Keith Richards – with a beer on the table – and Ronnie Wood teamed up afterwards, and eventually Charlie Watts played a quirky drum beat with everyday objects and a lot of imagination.
The performances were held in endearing and homely atmospheres, something that lingered in each of the musical acts.
While the lack of a physical public presence and a stage made this kind of “macro-concert” a formless reunion, that did not stop those in charge of entertaining the public from putting their heart and soul into it.
Even social distancing did not prevent collaborations such as that of John Legend and Sam Smith, who together covered the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me.”
Others, too, opted for classic songs, as Jennifer Lopez sang Barbra Streisand’s “People” in her garden, and Lady Gaga performed Nat King Cole’s “Smile” on the piano.
Exceptional circumstances and social media allowed the public to view highlights outside the official broadcast of the event.
The internet was all praise for the emotion Lady Gaga displayed on Instagram before the event kicked off, and after her appearance, she uploaded videos of her dancing in front of the TV while Elton John and Stevie Wonder were performing.
Other celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, tweeted their dinners prepared for the occasion, while Swift thanked her fans on social media for their support.
Between the performances, several personalities from diverse fields used the opportunity to convey their messages.
One of the first to do so was United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who called for the use of the “universal language” of music to thank health workers and give hope to people affected by the pandemic.
Former United States first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, also appeared together in a video, minutes before Bill and Melinda Gates lent their support.