Vax Live, a concert designed to “reunite the world” after the coronavirus pandemic, aired on Saturday (8 May) after taking place last weekend.
The pre-taped event brought together celebrities and political leaders, including President Joe Biden, Prince Harry, Jennifer Lopez and Foo Fighters. Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, Jimmy Kimmel, Sean Penn and David Letterman also served as guest speakers during the event staged at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
Global Citizen, an action group seeking to “end extreme poverty by 2030”, was behind the show, which doubled as a fundraiser for the organisation.
Lopez opened the evening with a moving rendition of “Sweet Caroline”, welcoming her mother Guadalupe Rodríguez onto the stage. Rodríguez sang her own version of the Neil Diamond classic, changing the lyrics to “Sweet Jennifer” – as she used to do when Lopez was a child.
Eddie Vedder provided another of the evening’s highlights, in an energetic set introduced by Sean Penn.
In a guest appearance, Olivia Munn discussed the rise of hate crimes targeting Asian American people amid the pandemic. Several of the evening’s speakers stressed the importance for countries not to stockpile doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, sharing it instead with nations which need it.
Prince Harry appeared onstage on two different occasions during the show. He and Meghan Markle acted as campaign chairs for the event, promoting vaccine access equality and voicing their support for vaccination efforts. Meghan couldn’t attend the event in person, presumably because she’s currently pregnant with her second child, but she contributed a pre-recorded video message which aired during the broadcast.
“As campaign chairs of Vax Live, my husband and I believe it's critical that our recovery prioritises the health, safety and success of everyone – and particularly women, who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic,” she said in her remarks, which marked her first TV appearance since she and Harry spoke with Oprah Winfrey for a headline-making interview which aired in March.
She added: “My husband and I are thrilled to soon be welcoming a daughter. It's a feeling of joy we share with millions of other families around the world. When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and the support to lead us forward.”
Foo Fighters delivered the longest set of the evening and were joined by AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson for a rendition of “Back in Black”. Dave Grohl and his band mates, like the rest of the acts at Vax Live, seemed visibly thrilled to be back on stage, and gave an energetic, thrilling performance.
Follow the event as it happened with our live blog: