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What do Vice President Joe Biden, Bono, Big Bird, Sting, and Katie Holmes have in common?
They all wish to live in a world in which global warming, poverty, and inequality are no longer matters of concern.
The Global Citizen concert is a charity concert at Central Park featuring world leaders and celebrities who are united in their mission to end extreme poverty. Hugh Evans, the founder of this event, imagines a world without hunger, poverty and inequality by 2030. He believes that this is the generation that will eradicate the problems that have consistently plagued humanity. He points to the fact that “in the last 30 years, extreme poverty has halved, plummeting faster than at any time in history.”
This concert is a way of unifying the younger generations to rally for these causes. It teaches young citizens that change is at their fingertips. Throughout the event, several keynote speakers, including Michelle Obama and many foreign government officials, came onto the stage and encouraged audience members to use social media to rally the leaders into achieving the UN’s “Sustainable Development Goals. ” The tickets themselves are won through social media acts, such as signing up to be a Global Citizen online, emailing a senator, or signing a petition.
The concert’s headliners, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, and Pearl Jam all centered their repertoires around the cause they supported. Beyonce did this especially well, using songs like “Survivor” to celebrate the beauty of the woman’s body and mind. Accompanied with gorgeous montages, Beyonce captivated her audience with “Halo” and “Diva,” creating an anthem that would rally everyone, not only those at the festival.
Coldplay opened the show with classics such as “Viva la Vida” and “Yellow,” along with one of their new songs, “Amazing Day,” which created a relaxed atmosphere. They were joined onstage by surprise guest Ariana Grande, who sang “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart.” Ed Sheeran brought the audience’s pulse up in “Bloodstream.” Sheeran managed to make an acoustic guitar sound like a live rock band using electronic loops and creating a percussive sound by tapping on his guitar.
Between each of the headliners, celebrities and political activists alike gave speeches on today’s problems. Malala Yousafzai gave an impassioned speech in favor of education for girls. Leonardo DiCaprio spoke of large corporate interest in fossil fuels and its hindrance to clean energy even as Bill Nye the Science Guy focused on global warming.
Pearl Jam played crowd favorites “Mind your Manners” and “Alive” as the concert drew close to its end. The final touch on a night calling attention to serious causes was Pearl Jam’s performance of “Imagine” by John Lennon, the song widely regarded as the universal song for peace.