The Sound of Change benefit concert in London — headlined by Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez — delivered a heady cocktail of high-energy music, Hollywood star power and women’s rights politics on Saturday.
The event at London’s Twickenham Stadium, which airs on NBC Sunday, had been billed as a sort of “female Live Aid.” It was in aid of Chime For Change, a charity that promotes education, health and justice for women. The charity was founded by Beyonce, Salma Hayek and Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini.
Performers at the concert also included Timbaland, who was joined for one number by Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon, indie-rockers Haim, rapper Iggy Azalea, Florence and the Machine, Jessie J, John Legend and Rita Ora.
Among those delivering messages on stage in support of the campaign for women’s rights were Hayek, Madonna, feminist writer Gloria Steinem, Blake Lively, Jada Pinkett Smith, Zoe Saldana, Jessica Chastain, Freida Pinto, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Ryan Reynolds and James Franco.
Madonna told the 50,000 crowd that she wanted to start a “revolution of love.” “I keep telling people I want to start a revolution, but my revolution doesn’t involve bloodshed and violence. My revolution starts with education. My revolution is about achieving a higher level of consciousness, but this cannot start without education,” she said.
TV rights to the concert had been sold to channels covering more than 150 countries, with a potential aud of up to a billion. As well as NBC, broadcasters included the U.K.’s BBC, France’s M6, Brazil’s Globo, Japan’s Wowow, Rotana in the Middle East and Australia’s Ten.
The show was produced by music promoter Harvey Goldsmith, who orchestrated Live Aid, alongside L.A.-based Control Room’s Kevin Wall and Aaron Grosky, who worked on the Live Earth event.
Show highpoints included Jennifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige combining for a version of the Beatles’ “Come Together,” and Beyonce performing cover versions of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Etta James’ “At Last.”
Beyonce was joined onstage by husband, Jay-Z, for a rendition of 2003 hit “Crazy in Love.”
The NBC show will include PSA’s featuring Franco, Ben Affleck, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow.