Elton John launches global concerts for climate and vaccines | Show biz
PARIS, September 26 – A ‘one in a generation’ global music event kicked off on Saturday with pop megastars BTS and Elton John launching Global Citizen Live – 24 hours of broadcasts across the world to raise awareness about climate change, equality of vaccines and starvation.
The “Rocketman” made things happen in Paris, performing hits including Little dancer and Your song in front of the Eiffel Tower in a dazzling green suit.
“No one should be left behind,” said the 74-year-old pop legend, who appeared despite a hip injury that forced him to cancel the rest of his tour dates this year.
The NGO Global Citizen wants a billion trees planted, two billion vaccines delivered to the poorest countries and meals for 41 million people on the brink of famine.
The social media broadcast opened with a pre-recorded performance by BTS in Seoul.
It was followed by dozens of live performances from around the world and will include Billie Eilish, Coldplay and Jennifer Lopez in Central Park in New York City, where Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were also scheduled to take the stage.
Ed Sheeran was the headliner in Paris alongside Black Eyed Peas and Stormzy, while Stevie Wonder is headlining in Los Angeles.
“There has never been more need for advocacy than now,” said Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, host of the live broadcast from Paris.
Put pressure on governments
Tens of thousands of tickets won tickets to the concerts (which required proof of vaccination or negative tests) by signing up to the Global Citizen app and sharing its posts on social media.
Pre-recorded performances have also been delivered by Green Day in Los Angeles, superstar DJ Alok in Rio, Kylie Minogue in London and Andrea Bocelli in Tuscany.
This week’s comeback concert of the Fugees in New York – their first in 15 years – was also presented as part of the event.
Global Citizen has been behind other large-scale charity events, including “Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World” earlier this year in Los Angeles.
It brought together musicians, actors, celebrities, world leaders and even the Pope, in a united call for global vaccination to fight Covid-19.
The organization describes itself as a movement with a mission to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Its app uses incentives such as concert tickets to encourage users to lobby governments on issues of sustainability and equality.
The Saturday and Sunday event also brought charitable engagements from international companies like Lego and Cisco.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus, gave his support to the campaign, calling for equality of vaccines.
“We are now facing a two-way pandemic of haves and have-nots,” he said ahead of the event.
“We cannot ignore this blatant injustice or become complacent.”
Elton John almost canceled his performance with a hip injury, but said he would wait until after the Global Citizen Live concert for his surgery “because I don’t want to drop a charity.” – AFP