Lady Gaga did more than commence “One World: Together At Home” on Saturday, April 18. As always, the gifted artist who graces all she does with her personal touch used her platform to put the kibosh on the latest news cycle focus of the nation’s chief executive. While “reopen the country” has become the latest mantra from the White House, irrespective of scientific grounding, Lady Gaga, and the superstars assembled under quarantine for the Global Citizen “One World: Together At Home” effort had very genuine reasons for remembering the countless healthcare workers coping with the crisis.

While it's certainly true that Lady Gaga commands the kind of clout and authority through her artistic and philanthropic reputation to attract premiere musical artists, such as Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Celine Dion, classical piano virtuoso, Lang Lang, and more luminaries, the distinction of “One World: Together At Home” reflected far more.

‘One World: Together At Home’ did more than rise to its moment

Amidst this surging coronavirus attack, the power of music to comfort, to heal, and to give words when the soul cannot bring words to mind has never been more invaluable. Songs from nurses raise the morale of ER rooms nationwide and comfort patients forced to be separated from family. Josh Groban and Lin Manuel Miranda are just two of the stars who seem to lift hearts with a song per day through the pandemic. Every song and every artist involved in “One World: Together At Home” deserves gratitude, the same as those they support.

Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John have seen better days when it comes to soaring high notes. It doesn't matter that these music greats fall short of the falsetto ranges of former days.

As Paul McCartney introducedLady Madonna,” he related the story of his mother being a midwife and a nurse through WWII and the years after. Paul lost his mother at 14 to cancer, and that lingering loss translates the words and the Mellotron tones into something indelible from “One World: Together At Home.” Lady Linda McCartney also passed from breast cancer in 1998.

I'm Still Standing” could not have been a more perfect tune to rally the legions of troops fighting the virus terror. His energy was palpable, and this cause hits home for Elton, too, who has suffered multiple bouts of pneumonia and respiratory ailments in the past months and years. Seeing the two premier music giants strong enough to sing is a reward in itself.

Probably no one else pondered the pain of loss more personally or closely than Taylor Swift. Similar to the countless families coping with loved ones in the grip of COVID-19, the 30-year-old singer-songwriter’s mother, Andrea, is grappling with the return of a cancerous tumor. Taylor totally bore her raw, open, and throbbing heart, as she performed “Soon You’ll Get Better,” like an open diary.

“But who am I supposed to talk to?/ What am I supposed to do if there's no you?” implores Swift’s wrenching ballad. It takes tremendous courage to speak the truth when the truth hurts the most. This was the first public performance of this song, and the strength of the singer had to inspire every heart hearing it.

Send some kind of “hug” to every COVID-19 impacted family, patient, or medical staff nearby and remember that diseases like cancer don’t pause during these scary days. Little things matter and Taylor let the world know it with her “One World: Together At Home” performance.

Standing with a smile in unity on ‘One World: Together At Home’

Besides the creativity in indoor sports, the thrill of home haircuts, and any number of new snack recipes, a refreshing benefit of self-quarantining has been the ability to see each other in real light, with celebrities free of production, soundtracks, or the glamorous backlighting. Some fans have felt free to get a little nosier than necessary, but most have felt a deeper kinship with artists after viewing kitchens and living room cushions day after day.

Lady Gaga can sing anything, onstage or on-screen, but for “One World: Together At Home,” she put a poignant spin on “Smile.” The song was almost like a momentary “permission slip” to escape the pressure, and the singer felt it, too, building with each first to the chorus. The stark white walls surrounding her and her piano didn't keep her opener from being emotionally penetrating.

A surprising upbeat song, the 60s classic by Bobby Hebb, “Sunny,” struck the right chords for Grammy sweeper Billie Eilish and her brother, Finneas. The choice gave a diversion from some of the singer’s darker selections, and will probably be getting a good share of downloads. The siblings looked cozy as ever in their usual bedroom digs, truly “One World: Together At Home.”

Another duo that melted hearts like butter on warm toast was Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello.

The real-life sweeties oozed calm and comfort with their candlelit “What a Wonderful World” sitting side-by-side at the piano. Nothing wrong with a touch of sweetness in the reminder that one day, some kind of normal will return,

A standout among the duos was the duet of “Stand by Me” by John Legend and Sam Smith. John Legend has been sharing his talent with Country Music stars, too, like Kane Brown on “Last Time I Say Sorry,” the song they performed on the CBS self-quarantined special “One Country” two weeks ago. It was a very pleasant surprise on “One World: Together At Home” to see and hear British singer, Sam Smith, complimenting Legend flawlessly on the classic song of solidarity. Both singers’ voices could sing stars into the sky, so it was truly a surprise to enjoy them together.

Keith Urban demonstrated his guitar wizardry as well is his Entertainer of the Year skills with a triple-shot view of his “Higher Love” performance. His wife, Nicole Kidman, made a sweet cameo in one frame.

The best band and the best on ‘One World: Together at Home’

The question everyone watching the lineup of “One World: Together At Home” doubtless was asking was how The Rolling Stones would pull off their performance. The answer came with Mick Jagger strumming an acoustic perfectly from the top left quadrant of the split-screen. The frontman could be a cover boy for heart procedures. Sure enough, right on cue, Keith Richards filled the top right square, followed by Ron Wood and Charlie Watts, using boxes and suitcases, filling in the bottom on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

” Where else but on this stellar, cyberworld venue do you see Jagger on guitar and the best band still together giving it all for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Unit?

Simultaneously, a US president is pouting and pondering stripping WHO funding. Purpose overtakes ego and petulance for “One World: Together At Home.” The same is certainly not true for the daily TV Shows from the White House press briefings, where the intent is supposed to be on defeating the disease. Artistic unity and acceptance were also mirrored in the performances by Colombian singer, Maluma, who fills stadiums in Israel, and Nigerian rapper, Roblox.

Simply to have Lang Lang, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, and John Legend blending voices, languages, and notes in “The Prayer” was a piece of heaven and brought unspeakable comfort to the chaos of the coronavirus.

The gifted exchange was another “only in this moment” kind of experience for the evening. Still, another performance pulled at the heart with more purity of soul than any other-- and it was Lizzo’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

Not since Sam Cooke released the seminal version of the civil rights anthem in 1964 has any artist poured as much passion into every verse as Lizzo did in her soulful downpour on “One World: Together At Home.” Before she sang the first note, the singer and classically-trained flutist drew in a breath, and it felt like the indwelling of the spirit. Her interpretation was so pure and unblemished, set against the view of botanical gardens outside her windows. The Detroit-born Lizzo is certainly aware of the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on the city and the African-American population.

The tumult of the civil rights movement is still being lived out in 2020, only with food, healthcare, clean water, and livable wages as its emblems in confronting the virus. Lizzo’s unforgettable rendition stood equal to the Staple Singers on their “Freedom Highway.”

Progress is always painful, and the new path forward is truly into the unknown. No one has faced life after this particular illness before, but we do know the power of human strength and spirit, and the lasting solace eternally echoed through song, the deepest prayer.

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