Elton John enlists help of A-list friends for live coronavirus relief concert

Sir Elton John at the launch of a new coalition of global Aids funders Ð the MenStar Coalition - during the Aids 2018 sum
Sir Elton John at the launch of a new coalition of global Aids funders Ð the MenStar Coalition - during the Aids 2018 summit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Sir Elton John enlisted some of the biggest names in music to perform live from their homes in a televised concert to raise money for the coronavirus relief effort.

The hour-long, advert-free living room concert saw performances from A-listers including Billie Eilish, the Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Sam Smith, Demi Lovato and Mariah Carey.

It came soon after President Donald Trump announced he was extending the voluntary national shutdown to April 30.

The US now leads the world in known coronavirus infections and by late Sunday afternoon had more than 137,000 Covid-19 cases with more than 2,400 deaths.

It was against that backdrop Sir Elton opened Fox Presents iHeart Living Room Concert with a tribute to health workers around the world and said money raised from the show was going to the charities Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

Despite hosting the evening, Sir Elton initially said he was unable to perform himself, explaining he is quarantined “in the only house I’ve ever been in without a piano”.

However, he later sourced a keyboard and sang the chorus from Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Sir Elton, who postponed a string of tour dates due to the pandemic, ended the show with a message to fans.

He said: “Stay safe, cherish your loved ones and when this is all over and done with, I’ll be out there playing for you again.”

Carey delivered a typically powerful performance of her 1996 hit Always Be My Baby, before revealing she has been wearing gloves in her own home.

Eilish was joined by her brother and collaborator Finneas O’Connell, as the pair performed their Grammy Award-winning single Bad Guy from a sofa at home.

Mendes and Cabello – a couple – are quarantined together and delivered an acoustic version of her hit My Oh My.

Alicia Keys sang her uplifting hit Underdog. Fittingly, the song pays tribute to teachers and student doctors, as well as those “on the frontline knowing they don’t get to run”.

The Backstreet Boys – each streaming from their individual homes – performed I Want It That Way, while Dave Grohl dedicated the song My Hero to health workers.

Billie Joe Armstrong, best known as the front man of rock band Green Day, played an acoustic version of the group’s hit Boulevard Of Broken Dreams.

British singer Sam Smith performed his hit How Do You Sleep and told fans: “I hope this makes you feel better. Music is making me feel better right now.”

Lovato sang her single Skyscraper.

Throughout the evening, viewers were shown messages from medical staff leading the fight against the pandemic, stressing the importance of social distancing and good hygiene.

Lady Gaga – who said Sir Elton has the “biggest heart in the world” – appeared and said many will find prolonged isolation damaging to their mental well-being, but emphasised it was vital to slow the virus’s spread.

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