Baby Health in Winter
“I can’t tell you how important it is for you to take this pandemic seriously. Not long ago, there was another infectious disease that was ignored,” said Elton John Sunday night of the Coronavirus pandemic during the “Living Room Concert For America.” “Day in and day out, the disease got worse because we did nothing. Too many forgot about compassion and decency, so millions and millions of people perished from AIDS. But this time we aren’t going to let that happen. So stay home for the ones you love,” he continued, highlighting the importance of quarantine and social distancing. “We hope this bit of entertainment can feed and fuel your soul. And maybe bring you some strength.”
John, just four days removed from his 73rd birthday, hosted the all-star virtual gathering Sunday night for radio and television broadcast via iHeart and Fox, with proceeds going to benefit Feeding America (a nationwide network of food banks) and First Responders Children’s Foundation (a group dedicated to assisting the children of deceased first responders and families undergoing hardship).
Sunday night’s event featured a diverse slate of musicians ranging anywhere from rock (Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl), alternative (Green Day singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong) and country (Tim McGraw) to R&B (Alicia Keys) and pop (Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish and more).
Celebrities like comedian and daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson sung the praises of first responders and stressed the importance of the evening’s beneficiaries. Tweets from viewers using the #iHeartConcertonFOX hashtag ran on a crawl during the broadcast as Fox spotlighted donors.
“Hello, everyone. I’m thinking of you and your families,” said Ryan Seacrest during Sunday night’s broadcast. “Wash your hands for twenty seconds. Practice social distancing. Stay home as much as you can. Keep calm and help others who need help,” continued the TV host, going on to spotlight the prevalence of misinformation during uncertain times. “Let’s stay healthy and informed,” he continued, directing fans to the World Health Organization for timely, accurate information.
One of the most impressive elements of the “Living Room Concert For America” was the opportunity it gave artists to strip down often heavily produced pop hits for presentation to fans in a radically different fashion. Alicia Keys was an early highlight, reworking “Underdog.”
“This song is like a prayer. My hope is that we remember how resilient we are. And how we defy the odds. I’d like to dedicate this song to all the first responders and medical professionals that are risking their lives to keep us safe,” said Keys, setting up a performance which would work a reference to first responders into newly updated lyrics during the song’s second verse.
Dave Grohl sent his performance out to first responders too during an appropriate solo acoustic take on “My Hero.” “If you sing that last chorus every time you wash your hands, I think you’ll be in good shape,” he joked.
In a rare serious moment, actor and comedian Ken Jeong made an appearance twenty minutes into the broadcast, noting that thanks to corporate sponsors and a matching donation from Fox, the “Living Room Concert For America” had already raised over one million dollars.
“Happy anniversary from one of your biggest fans!” gushed John, introducing Billie Eilish, one year to the day following the release of her breakthrough debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Eilish was joined by her brother Finneas on acoustic guitar, turning “Bad Guy” on its heel. The soulful performance put the focus squarely on Eilish’s often overlooked vocal, one of the hour-long special’s finest moments.
Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong paused during a “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” acoustic guitar solo to call his dogs, one of which jumped up onto the couch with him.
“I hope everybody is happy and healthy – or trying to be as happy as possible. I know it’s a really stressful time. It’s an honor to be playing for everybody right now,” said Armstrong.
Clad in sunglasses from what looked to be her home studio, Lady Gaga was a voice of calm, while singling out an issue all too familiar for many during the spread of COVID-19.
“My heart goes out to people who have lost loved ones and also to people that are losing their jobs,” said the actress and singer, stressing the importance of a focus on mental health and the criticality of connection.
“Listen to my great friend Lady Gaga. I couldn’t get anywhere without my friends,” said John setting the stage for a conversation with soulful rapper and singer Lizzo. “I adore what you do. You’re so authentic. I’m so proud of you,” he gushed, before putting an a cappella spin on Lizzo’s “Juice.”
John and Lizzo formed a mutual admiration society and their back and forth provided one of the program’s most enjoyable exchanges.
“You’ve really got a point about bringing people together. As artists we’re able to do that even when we can’t physically be with people,” said Lizzo to John, stressing the importance of staying at home to prevent further virus spread. “I think right now, while we’re practicing physical social distancing, it’s important to remember that music brings people together,” she continued. “We see a lot of fear on television but we can’t let the fear spread faster than the virus. We have to let love spread.”
One of the most moving moments of Sunday night’s “Living Room Concert For America” wasn’t provided by a musician or celebrity but by an intensive care unit nurse fighting the pandemic on its front lines.
“Honestly, it felt like I was working in a war zone, completely isolated from my team members. Limited resources and limited supplies. Limited responses from physicians because they’re just as overwhelmed as we are dealing with a ton of other stuff,” said Melissa Steiner of Troy, Michigan. “This is my new normal for the next however many months that it takes for this virus to die down. I feel like I’m already breaking. Please take this seriously,” she plead.
“Hi everybody. I hope you’re staying safe and healthy and listening to all of the smart people – washing your hands and wearing the same sweatpants three days in a row. That’s what I’m doing,” joked DeGeneres later, lending a moment of levity. “I want to say I’m so grateful for all of the doctors and nurses all around the world – all of the first responders. All of the people keeping the super markets stocked. You are our heroes right now.”
Sam Smith needed only a stellar vocal to sell “How Do You Sleep” and Demi Lovato went it alone too, dropping “Skyscraper.” Mariah Carey closed things up, joined by Daniel Moore on piano and a trio of backing singers for “Always Be My Baby.”
“This keyboard is my sons’ piano and they have their piano lessons on it. I don’t normally play a keyboard like this but seeing as it’s the only thing I’ve got, I thought it would be nice just to dedicate a little bit of this song to all of the incredible heroes we mentioned before who are doing the best they can to make the world a better place during this awful crisis,” said John prior to a portion of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” “We all look forward to the day when concerts, events and sports finally restart and things get back to normal. But, while we wait, we can all support each other – and keep the faith.”
Baby Health in Winter Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast. This episode is sponsored by Four Sigmatic, the reason I’m on shrooms (the legal kind) every day. They make a wide variety of superfood mushroom infused products from coffees and teas to elixirs and even chocolate that is infused with ten mushrooms! I have a...
Baby Health in Winter The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today. I’ve been thinking in percentages for months now, so I’ve had a head start. Congenital heart defect,...