Music lovers were spoilt for choice on Saturday as they viewed dozens of performances as part of the One World Together at Home concert.
The April 18 show was streamed on social media and broadcast locally on Dubai TV. More than 30 artists performed hits from their respective homes, raising $127.9 million (Dh469.7m) for Covid-19 relief at the last count.
In keeping with the intimate setting, nearly all acts performed stripped down versions of their songs, either on piano or guitar. With no studios in sight, what we heard was unfiltered voices that were both passionate and raw. Here are 10 of the best performances from the event, in no particular order.
1. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ by The Rolling Stones
A delightfully sloppy rendition of the band’s classic anthem. Each member’s part was recorded separately and the videos provide insights into their personalities. There is Jagger, all businesslike as he leads the band on vocals from a corner of a dimly lit room (check out the Persian-inspired patterns on the curtains). Then there is Keith Richards sitting on a comfy sofa, seemingly having the time of life on the guitar. Ronnie Woods looks dishevelled as ever as he coaxes out riffs besides a palm tree. Last is the always unflappable drummer Charlie Watts, “performing” in front of his hundreds of records. There is no drum set, but Watts doesn’t care. He plays the air drums like a boss.
2. ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes
Everything about the video screams comfort. There is warm lighting as the two lovebirds sit together on the piano stool and coo along to the Louis Armstrong classic.
3. ‘Lady Madonna’ by Paul McCartney
As Jimmy Kimmel said, "you know that coronavirus is in trouble when you get a Beatle involved". This is an interesting bluesy take of the band's 1968 hit. Beatle-maniacs should savour this moment. The rock tune was originally created from a solo piano piece, so this rendition may be the version closest to the original we will hear, before McCartney took Lady Madonna to the band.
4. ‘No Me Doy Por Vencido’ by Luis Fonsi
No, he didn't play Despacito. Regardless, the Puerto Rican singer showcases his rich voice in this lovely ballad. He is joined by his band, who are spaced more than a metre apart to respect social distancing measures.
5. ‘The Prayer’ by Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, John Legend and Lang Lang
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and singer Celine Dion team up to reprise their soaring 1999 hit The Prayer – only this time, they are joined by Lady Gaga, John Legend and Chinese pianist Lang Lang. Fortunately, the guests know not to outstay their welcome. This is Bocelli and Dion's show, and they don't disappoint.
6. ‘Carnaval’ by Maluma
The Colombian star makes isolation look like a holiday. Recorded from a balcony overlooking luscious greenery and the ocean, Maluma delivers a typically breezy version of his hit Carnaval.
7. ‘River Cross’ by Eddie Vedder
The Pearl Jam frontman gives us the chills with this spooky number. Dressed in a black shirt and cap and performing in what looks like a candlelit lair straight out of an Anne Rice novel, Vedder pounds the organ for the dark River Cross, a song from their latest album, Gigaton.
8. ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ by Lizzo
Lizzo’s larger-than-life personality has always been in your face. Her take on the Sam Cooke classic is true to form, and her vocals are brilliantly on point.
9. ‘Rainbow’ by Kacey Musgraves
A charming performance by the talented US artist. Once viewed as premier country music artist, Musgraves crossed over to becoming a pop star following last year's Grammy Award-winning album, Golden Hour. Performing the last song from that record, Rainbow, is a showcase of her elegant songwriting in a tender ode to better days.
10. ‘African Giant’ and ‘Hallelujah’ by Burna Boy
The biggest African act of the night, Nigeria’s Burna Boy brings that smooth Afropop sound to the house party in this two-song medley. Sitting on a couch with shades, the artist and his warm, raspy vocals made it all look so effortless.