The One World Together at Home concert took place last night, here in the U.K. it was streamed on YouTube between 7pm last night and 3am this morning but it was well worth the sleep loss for those who stayed up! The show included artists from all around the World who performed in their own living rooms and in their own languages. Early highlights included performances from Jennifer Hudson who sung a beautiful rendition of Memory a song which she received praise for when she performed it as Grizabella in the film of Cats last year. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself took to Twitter last night to applaud her rendition. Jessi J sung to a backing track in her living room and praised key workers and encouraged people to stay at home and stay positive. Ellie Goulding was also sincere in the way she spoke as she played popular hits Love Me Like You Do and Burn on her Taylor guitar and joked that she had accidentally dressed like a carpet however we thought she looked and sounded lovely! An early stand out performance for me was Hozier and Maren Morris teaming up from opposite sides of the World to sing her hit The Bones. The Killers did an interesting performance of Mr Brightside, it was very well done and I imagined that households all across the globe were singing along. Luis Fonsi and his band practiced social distancing in a studio and he talked about his hit despacito the song that crossed languages and rose to the top in various countries around the World. All the while we had breaks where world leaders spoke of the current situation, experts talked of finding a vaccine, testing and funding and we heard first hand accounts from those working on the frontline to tackle Coronavirus. They kept reminding us to put our wallets away, this was supposed to just be a positive programme to unite the World in Song, which it did, the fundraising was done behind the scenes by the artists and companies who had sponsored the telethon, though they provided a link of how you can help in your community. I discovered a new band I liked, Picture This from Ireland. They played a couple of songs acoustically from their home and switched up a chorus in their song Wynona Ryder to make it appropriate to Corona Virus which was quite clever. Just before the main show came on Lady Antebellum gave a beautiful performance from their separate homes in Florida and Tennessee. It was these kind of performances that really captured the spirit of things, they were stripped back, well thought out and hammered home the message of staying home. Some performances let down the side as they sounded almost pre-recorded in a studio, as if they just mimed along in their own homes! The main event, curated by Lady Gaga saw Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert host from their separate houses.
Lady Gaga herself spoke quite a bit, thanking frontline healthcare professionals and performed on a couple of occasions. There was two stand out performances for me on the night and the first came from Kacey Musgraves who sat at a piano in her house and did a beautiful rendition of her song Rainbow which she wrote with Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby as pictures were shown on a split screen of the rainbows that people had put in their windows all around the World. Though the song was written a number of years ago it was as if the anthem was written precisely for this moment and was a lovely tribute to healthcare professionals across the globe. Elton John performed a lively version of I’m Still Standing on the grand piano sat in his garden whilst the Rolling Stones did a rather unusual performance... each from their own houses they came on individually and “performed” together, I say that loosely as drummer Charlie Watts didn’t actually have a drum kit and so improvised with an arm chair and flight cases. Keith Urban did a very clever performance of Higher Love where there was actually three of him playing all the different parts of the song, it was very well done, showed off his musicianship and edited together well. Wife Nicole Kidman came on at the end as they sent positive vibes to frontline staff. The second stand out performance for me came from Taylor Swift who from her piano room played the incredibly emotional Soon You’ll Get Better which she had written about the heartbreak of her mums cancer diagnosis some years ago but the references to doctors and hospital waiting rooms gave it a new meaning during this crisis. You could see how hard it was for Taylor to keep it together as she played through the personal, heartfelt song and I’m sure many like me around the World shed a tear or two. The final performance came from Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion and John Legend with Lang Lang on the piano as they sang The Prayer, a perfect ending to a spectacular evening! Who knew a concert from the comfort of your own home, via technology, could have such a profound and lasting impact. The event raised almost $128 million despite being free to watch and not asking viewers directly for donations! What a phenomenal event for a worthy cause. It really was one World United through music.