Pop music legend Sir Elton John hosted a massive "living room concert" for coronavirus front liners, featuring multiple artists last night, March 29.
Titled "iHeart Living Room Concert for America," the event aims to uplift people affected by social distancing as well as raise funds for the nation's food banks and the families of the first responders. The concert was simultaneously live-streamed online and aired for television on Fox.
The "Rocket Man" himself opens the event, "Here we are all together at home, you've got your family and loved ones, and I'm keeping mine close too." The singer-songwriter then assured the audience that "all the goodness that's still happening in the world" will help us through this crisis. "Those doctors, nurses, and scientists on the front lines. They're living proof that most heroes don't wear capes".
Alicia Keys opened the event playing a purple piano and singing "Underdog". Where the instrument was clear and crisp, Alicia's song through her microphone was raw, yet still powerful. She even revised some lines in her 2020 single to recognize the country's workers at risk of contracting the disease.
"Talking to the driver 'bout his children and wife/ A first responder who was risking her life, to give us her love and get her right on time," the adapted verse said.
The Backstreet Boys followed Alicia Keys with their 90s hit "I Want It That Way". The five-man boy band turned the "living room concert" into their music video segment as the screen continuously shifts across their five separate locations. Kevin Richardson even included his two little boys playing the guitar and the drums.
The next performance came courtesy of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. After a short dedication to front liners "that are doing their best to get us through all this", the former Nirvana drummer did an acoustic version of the Foo Fighters' 1997 single "My Hero".
After his heartfelt performance, Grohl quipped that "if you sing that last chorus every time you wash your hands, you'll be in good shape".
Billie Eilish performed the smash hit "Bad Guy" together with his brother Finneas, who also played guitar. This rendition of the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 song, courtesy of the siblings, sounds differently amazing without the electronic accompaniment, with Finneas providing the perfect backup vocals for his sister.
Following the siblings is another duet, with Camila Cabello performing "My Oh My" with Shawn Mendes, who fills in for rapper DaBaby while playing the guitar. Next up was Green Day lead Billie Joe Armstrong performed "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", maintaining the song's signature bleak and somber mid-tempo while chewing gum and calling his dog.
Tim McGraw, country music hitmaker, sang "Something Like That" in front of a pool, sharing the screen with three other bandmates. Another emotional performance came from Dr. Elvis Francois, who found online fame for his voice, as he sang John Lennon's "Imagine" accompanied by another medical worker on the piano.
Crossing the Atlantic all the way to London, Sam Smith sang "How Do You Sleep". His a cappella performance only served to demonstrate his exceptional vocals, turning the dance-track into a ballad as images of first responders were shown on screen.
Demi Lovato, also playing her piano, belted her own fight song "Skyscraper" surrounded by images of US weathering the outbreak, mostly empty versions of usually busy streets.
One of the surprises of the Fox-aired event was two-time Grammy-winner H.E.R. The young R&B prodigy dropped a new single, "Keep Holding On", which she played on guitar in New York City. While the song seemingly talks about a relationship on edge, her soulful performance felt like a general message to everyone to "just keep holding on."
Topping the evening was Mariah Carey, accompanied by Daniel Moore on keyboards and a trio of backup vocals. The Songbird Supreme sang the timeless hit "Always Be My Baby", involving an adlib involving her signature whistles before returning to Elton John, led the event's denouement by playing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" on his son's piano.
The fundraiser event was also filled with appearances and messages from celebrities and other artists, including Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Ellen Degeneres, and Ryan Seacrest, among many others.