Music fans are on Sunday morning enjoying free front row tickets to one of the most star-studded world concerts, beaming into living rooms from the homes of musicians.
The ‘One World: Together at Home’ livestreaming concert aims to support medical workers and bring people together in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Global infections have reached more than 2.3 million and there have been more than 158,000 deaths, with the USA accounting for about one-third of the world’s cases.
Already on Sunday morning popular artists including Australia’s Delta Goodrem, Kesha, Jennifer Hudson and The Killers have performed but later there will be acts from Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and more.
In keeping with social distancing measures, entertainers have been singing or playing instruments in isolation against backdrops of pot plants, messy furniture, bookshelves and framed wall-hangings – rather than the usual theatrics and costumes of stage concerts.
The first performer was US singer Andra Day wearing headphones in her apartment as she sang her inspirational ballad Rise Up.
She was followed by One Direction star Niall Horan playing Black And White on an acoustic guitar behind the sofa in his living room.
The mostly acoustic acts have been interspersed with stories from workers on the frontline saving lives – and risking their own – as COVID-19 grips nations.
The event encourages wealthy individuals and corporations to contribute to the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund and had last week raised $35 million.
In Australia the international special will run in two parts:
- A global multi-hour digital livestream on a range of social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter running from 4am to 10am AEST
- A two-hour broadcast from 10am to 12pm AEST on Channel Ten and Channel 7.
The digital stream features artists such as Juanes, John Legend, Luis Fonsi and Sheryl Crow and appearances by other celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson and David Beckham.
The following two-hour broadcast will include performances by Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Chris Martin of Coldplay, among many other artists.
Global health experts, front-line medical workers and world leaders also will participate in the event and urge people to heed lockdown restrictions.
Global Citizen, which has organised the event along with the WHO, said the event itself was not a fundraiser.
“All we want from you is to support the global fight against coronavirus through taking action to support the Together at Home campaign,” including taking a pledge stating that “As a global citizen, I’m staying home!” according to that international advocacy organisation.
Queen cancels birthday
But as one world party gets underway, another has been cancelled with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth announcing she will not celebrate her 94th birthday in any special way.
The Queen has asked that there be no gun salutes to mark the occasion on April 21 because it would not be appropriate while the country battles a deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Britain is at or near the peak of an outbreak in which more than 14,000 people have already died – the fifth highest national death toll of a pandemic linked to at least 150,000 deaths worldwide.
Ceremonial gun salutes, in which blank rounds are fired from various location across London, are typically used by the royal family to mark special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays.
It is believed to be the first such request in the Queen’s 68-year reign.
Britain is in its fourth week of a national lockdown, with businesses forced to close and citizens ordered to stay at home.
Earlier this month, the country’s longest-serving monarch made an exceptional address to the nation, promising “Better days will return.”
Buckingham Palace last month said a parade to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday, which is celebrated in June, would not go ahead in its traditional form in light of restrictions on social gatherings.