The Global Citizen Festival made marvelous use of the grand space at New York's Central Park again this year, and the impact of the day of music and meaning reached far beyond the crowd of 60,000 in attendance on Saturday. Even before the first note, organizer and founder Hugh Evans held his high expectations for the event, and not a moment disappointed. No one gains the glorious views of the stage from pulling out a platinum card or drawing a huge cashier's check to score a ticket. Instead, concertgoers keep a record of the actions they take to benefit global good, which can be individually molded to preferred causes. Those records transfer to points for admission.

The Global Citizen Foundation puts efforts such as equal opportunities for women and girls in education and business, promoting health, clean water initiatives, sustainable food production, and ending poverty as priorities. This year, in the wake of so many natural disasters of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and other tumults from the earth, the needs are even greater.

Dreams were realized once more for Hugh Evans and the throngs determined to make a difference. Performers Alessia Cara, Big Sean, Green Day, Andra Day, The Chainsmokers, and global music icon himself, Stevie Wonder, joined by special guests, weren't the only ones pouring out their hearts from the platform. Throughout the day, United Nations representatives from around the globe eloquently spoke of their nations’ most immediate needs.

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Those human needs exist regardless of political climate, and regardless of whether foreign aid is in focus on the national budget. The music of the day and the spokespersons between the songs were heard loud and clear.

Bringing on the heat and heart

Alessia Cara doesn't stand very tall, but her big bold voice and passionate songs of female acceptance and human dignity for all rang out to open the day at the Global Citizen Festival. At that point, temperatures were scorching in the 90s, and the singer-songwriter’s spirit was blazing, too, especially with her “Scars To Your Beautiful.” Every age and gender was united in singing the choruses with Cara, and her energy amplified the conviction to bring dignity to all.

Several members of Congress, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, who bicycled his way to the venue, voiced continued pledges of support for global aid. More than ever, every voice matters, with the State Department stripped bare, and a rampant nationalistic philosophy creeping through every budget .consideration.

Both parties were given equal time in the appeal, but the votes of the lawmakers echo much louder than their time on stage. Big Sean came on for his set, with markedly less energy in the heat of the day. As sunset settled in, Andra Day was an absolute vision in red, and her exquisite notes seemed heaven-drenched. “Rise Up” was far from all Day offered. She got delectably sexy with her guitar player during a solo, and not very serious about the intent of the day. Four Global Citizen Festival representatives from around the globe spoke their heart about the impact of their personal campaigns, and besides applause, the hugs they got were undeniably sincere.

Green Day doesn't know how to be subdued, and in this case, it was a very good thing to have their raucous, unyielding indignation and social conviction stirring up the crowd. Their history is enough to give them credibility, and they were like a shot of adrenaline for the night. By contrast, The Chainsmokers’ chain of just the hits seemed almost like the rest period for fans who just wanted an easy recall of “Closer” to calm the mind.

Sir Stevie rules the night

There is no official royalty in the United States, but there is royalty in music, and Stevie Wonder is most certainly in line for the throne. Stevie came out escorted by his son and made his most moving statement before he ever sang the word. He kneeled down, saying he was “taking a knee for America” and then, put down the other knee, saying “I'm taking both knees” in a prayer for the nation and its leaders. The stillness, respect, and power of the gesture reverberated in reverence.

Stevie Wonder played so much of his incalculable catalog of hits that it actually would be impossible to list them without making that alone a full publication. The honored master musician made sure that he was pleasing his public, enlisting them to sing along at unexpected prompts, yell out songs, be a part of his humor, and of course, sing their hearts out. The timelessness of his songs is matched only by the exuberance that belies the composers senior years. At the opening of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Stevie Wonder dedicated the song to John McCain, “for doing the right thing.” He also mentioned the unflinching Jimmy Kimmel in the health care fight, saying that “Isn't She Lovely” is for his son, too.

It was difficult to tell if Pharrell Williams was utterly star-struck in the presence of musical greatness, or surprised beyond imagination to be sharing the stage so closely with Stevie Wonder. There's no question that Williams holds the mission and the causes of the Global Citizen Festival near and dear to his heart, but Stevie had to graciously coach the producer through the lyrics to “Superstition.” The evening’s sweetest special guests were Steve's children and grandchildren, with precious little girls lining up alongside the backup singers.

Stevie wonder offered Pharrell a second refrain of “Happy” to close the night, before the headliner, his family, singers, and Williams held hands in an affectionate departure from the stage.

There was a boy of about eight or nine in the crowd. He sang every word with Stevie Wonder. This was only one day of music, but for him, and many more involved, it will be a memory forever. Memories that matter can transcend situations, and let's hope that many world situations keep changing, and don't escape the memories of people elected to do more.