by Julian Spivey
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Elton John has always been the go to guy when it comes to charities and raising money for them, so it was no surprise when he quickly formed a celebrity benefit performance to raise money for Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation to help children in need during the Covid-19 pandemic in our country.
Elton John partnered with Fox and iHeartRadio for the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert for America on Sunday, March 29 bringing many stars from multiple genres performing in taped appearances from their living rooms to raise money for those worthy causes.
At the beginning of the telecast Elton John said: “Here we are together at home, you’ve got your family and loved ones and I’m keeping mine close too. We’re taking care of each other, looking out for each other, doing what we can during this crisis. There’s a lot of grief out there, uncertainty and fear, but let me tell you what’s going to keep us together: all the goodness that’s still happening in the world, those doctors, nurses and scientists on the frontline, they’re living proof that most superheroes don’t wear capes.”
15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys got the performances started with “Underdogs,” an ode to the selfless health workers helping the many sick and dying in this country and don’t ever quite get the ovation and recognition they deserve.
Elton John said he wished he could perform but was quarantined in the only house of his without a piano. He would borrow one of his son’s keyboards to perform a snippet of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down” at the end of the broadcast.
One of the most interesting performances of the night was boy group Backstreet Boys performing their 1999 smash hit “I Want It That Way” from five different locations across the country including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Orlando in a spliced together video that looked effortless.
My two favorite performances of the evening were the rockers “My Hero” by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Armstrong’s performance included a cute and quick cameo from one of his dogs.
Tim McGraw’s pups also made cute and quick cameos during his performance of his 1999 no. 1 country hit “Something Like That,” which he sung while setting on his pool’s diving board while his band was spliced in from their homes. It was the benefit’s lone country music performance.
One of the most stellar performances of the evening was Grammy sensation Billie Eilish and her guitar player/producer brother Finneas who performed their hit “Bad Guy.” It was fantastic to see a stripped down, acoustic version of “Bad Guy,” as it’s such a production in it single, hit form and this version really allows the listener to hear the terrific vocals by Eilish.
Other performances on the show included Sam Smith doing “How Do You Sleep?” acapella. I believe it was the only truly acapella performance of the evening. In what was possibly the weakest performance of the show Camila Cabello was joined by her pop star boyfriend Shawn Mendes on guitar for “My Oh My.” At least the two have gotten to quarantine together. R&B star H.E.R. sounded terrific as always on a performance of a song that I unfortunately do not know the title too, but she never disappoints. Demi Lovato also performed a short version of 2011 top-10 hit “Skyscraper.”
Even with all of these stunning and hitmaking artists performing during the benefit one of the most jaw-dropping moments of the entire telecast was the showing of a performance by two doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. who became viral superstars earlier in the week with their rendition of John Lennon’s classic “Imagine.” Dr. Elvis Francois, an orthopedic surgeon, shows off flawless vocals on the song with accompaniment from Dr. William Robinson on piano.
The wonderful hour of music and charity wrapped up with Mariah Carey performing her 1995 hit “Always Be My Baby,” showing off her fabulous range.
Hopefully Sunday’s telecast did incredibly numbers for Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation. If you would like to donate to these causes you can do so at feedingamerica.org and 1strcf.org.
If you missed the telecast and would like to check it out it’ll be on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel until April 1.