With greetings in a multitude of languages, a suited and booted Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon kicked off the multi-network One World: Together at Home concert from their respective homes on different sides of the country. But, even with a joint “overwhelming gratitude” appearance by former First Ladies Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, it was the words of Beyoncé and the music of the Rolling Stones that were truly up front on the show for the World Health Organization and frontline health care workers
Put it this way, if the late night hosts were playing traffic cops, Beyoncé laid down the law.
“This virus is killing black people in alarming rates here in America,” Queen B said to the camera in a passionate plea for all affected by COVID-19, but especially health care workers, sanitation workers, delivery drivers and those who keep our world going during this troubling time, the many of whom are from African-American communities.
“Please protect yourself, we are one family,” the most nominated woman in Grammy history added for all. “Please be patient – pray for our heroes.”
A last-minute addition to the Sesame Street, Lupita Nyong’o, LL Cool J and Matthew McConaughey featuring show, the Stones at first seemed to be plagued by technical difficulties as a guitar strumming Mick Jagger was the only one visible. However, it soon became clear as the rock legends’ rendition of their classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” progressed, that a slow reveal was actually part of the band’s deal tonight. Having put their latest tour on hold like everyone else because of the coronavirus threat, Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts showed everyone how it is done, live or not – as you can see in the video below:
— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) April 19, 2020
From their respective mansions in the U.S. and the U.K. the rockers that headlined the SARSfest in Toronto back in 2003 also displayed what a great band they are stripped down, even with Charlie without an actual drum kit – as Ron Howard noted seconds after the boys wrapped it up:
amazing – #rollingstones
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) April 19, 2020
Beyoncé didn’t sing, but starting with curator Lady Gaga herself, the One World show went supernova out of the gate with Stevie Wonder doing Bill Withers and a very personal Paul McCartney advocating for stronger health care systems around the world and singing his Beatles classic Lady Madonna for his nurse mother. One knight of the realm was soon followed by another as David and Victoria Beckham introducedSir Elton John belting out I’m Still Standing from his LA driveway.
I’m going to be sitting down tonight with David and the boys to watch One World: #TogetherAtHome, a global display of unity to support the @WHO in the fight against #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/hc0iaGQyZp
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) April 18, 2020
As the trio of late-night rivals noted that the almost unprecedented two-hour primetime special in response to the coronavirus crisis was being broadcast on ABC, CBS, and NBC, Kimmel added that One World was also on “all those streaming networks you’ve been promising to set up for your parents.”
“Where ever you are watching, tonight we are thanking first responders and others on the frontline of this global pandemic,” the two-time Oscar frontman also noted in a more serious vein. With a superstar heavy line-up on the show, the Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon hosts pretty much dispensed with an opening monologue and went more for the “just the facts ma’am” approach of Dragnet.
After CBS’ Colbert told viewers to toss away their wallets, Kimmel noted that the One World efforts have already raised $50 million for the WHO. Proclaiming he was coming from “beautiful downtown my house,” Colbert, like the slide owning Fallon and Kimmel, was in a familiar setting to fans who have been watching the late nighters broadcast from home over the past few weeks.
Fallon and Tonight Show band and hip-hop heavyweights, The Roots, were another clear highlight. The host and the band were joined Zoom-style by actual health care workers for a touching version of the 1980s classic “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.
Those moves tho 👀 Thanks for teaching us the “Safety Dance,” @theroots! Take the pledge to stay home (and practice your footwork!) here: https://t.co/26xVXSb0qy #TogetherAtHome pic.twitter.com/iHb7qZHGRy
— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) April 19, 2020
Having already appeared on the Elton hosted Fox Presents The iHeart Living Room Concert for America last month, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes sat down tonight for a moving rendition of “What A Wonderful World.” Songs continued throughout the mainly hip hop free show from Burna Boy, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, EGOTer John Legend in his awards room, Sam Smith, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, a piano playing Taylor Swift and a joint song by Celine Dion, Gaga, Legend, Lang Lang and Andrea Bocelli. Even with all those luminaries, another show stopper was Lizzo, another Living Room Concert alum, put out a stunning and intimate performance of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
— iHeartRadio (@iHeartRadio) April 19, 2020
In a week that saw a petulant Donald Trump suspend America’s financial contribution to the WHO, the organization’s director Tedros Adhanom made a pointed entrance tonight calling for a global solution to the global health crisis. It should be noted that the former Celebrity Apprentice host was deftly never actually mentioned in tonight’s show.
With strong words from Idris Elba, who recently tested COVID-19 positive, and spouse Sabrina, the primetime event did also see Kimmel pay his own form of tribute to food delivery workers. The ABC host ordered a meal from a Los Angeles restaurant, presenting the guy who showed up with a pizza as well as payment.
“This is not a fundraiser, so put your wallets away,” Gaga herself had told those watching the digital stream portion of the event this evening, which started at 2 PM ET. Including remote performances from the likes of Jennifer Hudson nailing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” The Killers, John Legend and Annie Lennox, to name but a few, the first part of the show was available on Twitter, SiriusXM, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Prime Video, and TIDAL.
Instigated by Coldplay’s Chris Martin over a month ago, the concert series has seen some of the biggest acts in music take to Instagram and other online platforms to play. It’s doubtful tonight will be the last time we will see some of these acts online during these challenging times.
As of earlier today there are over 2.17 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world with 146,198 deaths, according to the WHO website.