The concept of live-streamed gigs remains fairly new and alien to the industry, yet that hasn’t stopped musical superstars from creating international line-ups. One of many of these being WHO/Global Citizen’s ‘Together at Home’ project, in collaboration with Lady Gaga.
The line-up for this event featured a mix of artists, celebs, comedians and sport personalities, highliting the importance of coming together in times like these. Throughout the show, various clips of the key workers and hospital staff appeared, from more heart-breaking images of them struggling, to signs of peace like the rainbows for NHS in many household front windows. The evening felt like a plea for solidarity, and their demand: stay at home. The hosts stood 2-metres apart to practice social distancing, the artists performed in their luxurious homes, and all asked for the viewers to come together and fight this pandemic by simply adhering to government advice. It was a heartfelt evening, one made even more special by it being a global event we could all stream, cry to, and be mesmerised by all at once. Most importantly, experiencing this global unity and unbelievably talented line-up from the safety of our homes.
This worldwide livestream raised a breathtaking $127.9 million in aid of coronavirus relief, $55.1m of which will go to WHO, with the remaining $72.8m going to charities providing housing or food banks. And it’s no wonder the event raised such a huge amount, considering the beautiful way in which it flowed. The evening took us from upbeat moments, such as Billie Eilish and FINNEAS’ catchy cover of ‘Sunny’, to more melancholy, reality-check moments like Taylor Swift’s ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ – a song about her mums cancer. There were times that also left us speechless, such as Céline Dion and Andrea Bocelli’s song ‘The Prayer’, accompanied by pianist Lang Lang, alongside Lady Gaga and John Legend. This song ended the evening on a perfect note, providing us with a beautiful collaboration that felt like it could be considered the global national anthem. Beyoncé also took the time to note on racial inequalities surrounding the pandemic, discussing the disproportionate impact African American communities have faced throughout, stating that 57% of fatal cases in her home state of Houston were African Americans. She also noted that “Black Americans disproportionately belong to these essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home”.
From songs of solidarity, both upbeat and melancholy, to raising funds and highlighting injustices faced by primarily marginalised communities, global livestreams such as the ‘Together at Home’ project are a creative means of raising awareness whilst we come together internationally to fight this virus. Most of the performers, celebrities, and hosts used their screen time to beg everyone watching to simply stay at home. Though it may not have been entirely effective, seeing the celebrities dressed down in their houses (Elton John even having a net and basketballs in the background, a sign of staying at home) certainly stressed that this virus has no sympathy for who you are.
The WHO/Global Citizen ‘Together at Home’ project highlights how we can support those most in need, by both donating and isolating. Everything aside, it also uplifts spirits, allowing the globe to see their favourite artists perform in a very uncertain time when nearly every live concert/tour is being cancelled. Though ambitious, this project should serve as inspiration to stay home, and help in creative ways.