Coronavirus: Virtual mega-concert featuring Stones, Swift celebrates health workers
A virtual concert packed with A-listers – from The Rolling Stones to Taylor Swift to Billie Eilish – entertained fans around the world with a show celebrating health workers, as billions shelter at home due to coronavirus.
Lizzo, Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, and LL Cool J also joined in the Lady Gaga-curated online party, which was backed by the international advocacy organization Global Citizen in partnership with the World Health Organization.
Before opening the show Lady Gaga – who began working with Global Citizen and the WHO weeks ago to fundraise for the battle against COVID-19 – said she was praying for medical workers and also “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 broke into a rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Smile.”
Stevie Wonder then wowed with a tribute to the late soul legend Bill Withers.
Sitting at his home piano Wonder, who turns 70 next month, played “Lean On Me” before launching into his own “Love’s In Need Of Love Today” in his singular crystal-clear voice.
Mick Jagger also appeared ageless despite his 76 years 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 air drums.
Also at her piano Swift played the vulnerable “Soon You’ll Get Better,” which the pop phenom wrote about her mother’s struggles with cancer.
Global Citizen intended the primetime event broadcast on major television networks worldwide – and hosted by American late-night television personalities Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert – not as a fundraiser but as a moment of unity through song.
They also planned it as a “rallying cry” to support health workers, while coronavirus has at least 4.5 billion people forced or urged to stay home.
Prior to the event, Global Citizen began urging philanthropists, companies, and governments to support 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.