iHeart Delivers Special Night of Music’s Brightest Stars for Living Room Concert
It has been several weeks of anxiety with plenty of days of uncertainty across America. Fox and iHeart Radio brought out an A-list of music’s brightest stars on Sunday night, March 29, for a special night of music directly from their respective living rooms. The one-hour special televised on Fox Network stations across the U.S. was watched by over 4.6 million viewers and diverted the attention of millions of Americans who many of whom have been confined and self-quarantined at home for weeks with no clear date when the coronavirus pandemic will end.
Hosted by Sir Elton John, the pre-recorded concerts that took place in various locations in the U.S. included a special performance from Sam Smith from his home in London. It was an emotional night of music designed to raise much needed funds for Feeding America® and First Responders Children’s Foundation, two charities whose mission is to support hungry families and provide funds to first-responder families who are struggling to make ends meet while they battle on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sitting in his kitchen, Sir Elton, who said he didn’t have a piano at that location, got the music going quickly by introducing 15-time Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys, who delivered a powerful performance by singing “Underdog,” a song she wrote with Ed Sheeran months ago, before the coronavirus took over the world. She dedicated her song to all the first responders and medical professionals who are putting their own lives at risk to help others.
Next were The Backstreet Boys, with Brian Littrell starting things off sitting in his living room and kicking off the band’s signature song “I Want It That Way”; the song featured Howie Dorough in Orlando, Nick Carter in Las Vegas, and Kevin Richardson and AJ McLean and his son playing the drums in Los Angeles, all signing from various parts of their homes. The song mix worked well considering the challenge of mixing the vocal tracks by each of the Boys.
Alternative rocker and Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl sang perhaps the most appropriate song of the night, an acoustic version of “My Hero.”
Perhaps the most surprising performance of the night was by Billie Eilish, the 18-year-old rising superstar who performed along with her brother Finneas O’Connell, who played guitar while she sang her mega-hit “Tough Guy.” The future is bright for the multi-talented Eilish, who continues to impress and evolve with her vocal range.
At home in Miami, Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes collaborated to sing her 2019 hit “My Oh My.”
Longtime Green Day rocker Billy Joe Armstrong was equally impressive and sounded incredible while performing in front of his dog with Green Day’s 2004 hit “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” from the band’s most successful album, American Idiot, that produced two Grammy Awards. As with most of the acts, Armstrong sang his song in its purest form without adding any tracks, demonstrating his vocal prowess.
Lady Gaga didn’t sing but reminded us that we must be kind to ourselves and that she finds joy in expressing gratitude. Next up, Sir Elton dialed up a video conference call with Lizzo, who was in Palm Springs, California. He spoke with Lizzo about his desire to bring people together through music. “We have to come together closer as a people. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile; call a family member. This is a very real pandemic. We watch TV, and 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,” he said during his conversation with Lizzo. Tim McGraw, who sat poolside along with his dog, performed his 1999 hit “Something Like That” while the rest of his band followed the self-quarantine rules with them performing at their own homes.
The Singing Surgeon Elvis Francois, who took timeout of his busy schedule at the Mayo Clinic, performed dressed in his doctor’s coat and scrubs, accompanied by his piano-playing fellow doctor William Robinson as he sang an impressive rendition of “Imagine.” These doctors have a true gift for healing in two ways with traditional medicine and through medicinal music. Performing from his home in London, Sam Smith showed why he won three Grammy Awards in 2015 with his song “Stay With Me.” Smith, who sang “How Did You Sleep Tonight” a capella, was in prime form with his powerful voice.
Demi Lovato endulged the audience with “Skyscraper” and gave us all hope with her words of inspiration: “We can only use love to cure the pain.”
Staying put in New York during the city’s most critical time, H.E.R. delivered a beautiful acoustic version of “Keep Holding On.”
Also performing from New York, Mariah Carey along with three backup singers and her band all in various parts of the country performed “Always Be My Baby.”
Closing out the night, Sir Elton returned and surprised the audience with a table-top piano that belonged to his son and sang “Don’t Let The Sun Come Down on Me.”
The living room concerts were just what we Americans needed. It gave us a chance to be reminded of what is truly important in life, including family, friends and, of course, music. We know that the coronavirus pandemic will pass and that in its wake it will change the world forever. But the music that was shared on this night brought to light the importance of helping others during this challenging time when, in just a few short weeks, our lives have been turned upside down. Life will settle — eventually — and we will have a new appreciation for life.