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28 Sep

Music Monday: Global Citizen Edition

*Since we wanted to recap the incredible festival ASAP, we’re bringing our Tunesday to Monday and preparing something extra special for you tomorrow.

Sitting down to write this post has been no easy feat. Due to the unparalleled magnificence of Saturday’s Global Citizen Festival, my head is nonstop reeling with clips of performances and speeches. Trying to get everything out in anything close to literate sentences is incredibly difficult when your mind has just been… BLOWN to bits by the extreme power of music. The cross-genre and cross-generational collaborations were so powerful they were sure to speak to even the most critical of ears.

In an effortless manner, artists jumped in and out of performances with each other, creating unique masterpieces and sending the crowd into overdrive. The first of such duets was between Chris Martin and Ariana Grande.

There’s no doubt Grande is a powerhouse, but I never find myself flipping through spotify for her songs. Surprisingly, the stripped version of her song “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart,’ coupled with Chris Martin’s expert vocal accompaniment was a show stopper. All of that, in addition to Coldplay’s own performances of two of my favorites: “Viva la Vida” and “Yellow,” was a sign of great things to come.

Tori Kelley started the second set with a breathtaking rendition of the classic Beatles hit, “Blackbird” and followed with some of her songs to get the crowd warmed up… next was Ed Sheeran.

Though I have always been a fan, and find myself constantly moved by his soulful vocals and ability to sing anything, this was the first time I heard him live. He is the perfect combination of quirky nerd meets sexy-ish, confident rock star. He more than held his own with Chris Martin during “Thinking Out Loud.” The two playfully performed the song as if they’d written it together.

He also gifted us with some of his other hits, including “Don’t” mashed up with Chris Brown’s “Loyal” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.”

Now take this moment to gather yourself. Enter…COMMON

Common stepped out on stage looking fly as ever. He performed “The Light” and (to everyone’s hope and excitement) “Glory,” which brought tears to my eyes and sent chills down my spine. In a sly move missed by many, mid-performance one of his guitarists wiggled up to the front of the stage and began to play what sounded like an oldie. With mashups happening left and right, I wasn’t surprised to hear the beat of “Every Breath You Take”, until I realized it wasn’t just the beat, and it wasn’t just a backup musician. It was, in fact, Sting singing the rock classic. He and Common closed their set with “One World”, making his one of my favorite unexpected performances of the night.

The climax of the evening was definitely when Beyonce took the stage. She started with her slower rendition of “Crazy in Love”… you know, the one that makes you blush just for enjoying it out loud surrounded by thousands of strangers. Slaying performance after performance, her set got progressively more intense. Widely known as a proud feminist, her selected songs were all about girls, women, equality and empowerment. She sang “Flawless”, “Ring the Alarm”, “Run the World” and brought back “Crazy in Love” along with a mash up of some of her greatest hits including Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor.”

The real ringer though, was when she called Ed Sheeran back to the stage and they preformed his acoustic version of “Drunk in Love.”

mic drop.

His schoolboy giggles were contagious as he sang the sexy lyrics with the queen herself.

All I can say is… holy surfboard.

The final act was Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder didn’t disappoint. Dedicating their performance of “Given to Fly,” to Malala, Eddie acted like a true humbled rock legend. They also played one of my favorite PJ songs, “Better Man” and ended the night with one last breathtaking duet. Eddie Vedder called Beyonce back to the stage where the two of them performed Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” complete with footage of Nelson Mandela speaking in the background. Both musicians were clearly moved by the experience and opportunity to share the stage promoting such an important message, and the crowd was moved as well.

Every song. Every performance. Every moment of this festival was one for the books.



Gabrielle Levy
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