VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World brought together some of the biggest names from around the world for a good cause, and great entertainment!
The Global Citizen concert — which was pre-taped last weekend at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, and aired on Saturday — was put on to celebrate the hope that COVID-19 vaccines are offering families and communities around the world. Throughout the concert, celebrities and public figures gave thanks to the frontline heroes (in the audience and around the world) who put their lives on the line amid the coronavirus pandemic. They also raised awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated, and asked world leaders to step up in making sure vaccines are accessible for all.
Now, ET’s breaking down all the best moments from the star-studded show, including must-see speeches from campaign chairs Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, along with appearances and performances from special guests that kept us entertained from beginning to end.
MEGHAN MARKLE TOUCHES ON DAUGHTER-TO-BE’S FUTURE
While the Duchess of Sussex did not attend the benefit event in person, she sent in a video that aired during Saturday’s broadcast. “The past year has been defined by communities coming together tirelessly and heroically to tackle COVID-19. And we’ve gathered tonight because the road ahead is getting brighter, but it’s going to take every one of us to find our way forward,” said Meghan, who is pregnant with her and Harry’s second child, a baby girl. “As campaign chairs of VAX LIVE, my husband and I believe it’s critical that our recovery prioritizes the health, safety and success of everyone, and particularly women who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. Women, and especially women of color, have seen a generation of economic gain wiped out. Since the pandemic began, nearly 5.5 million women have lost work in the U.S., and 47 million more women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty.”
“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,” she continued. “When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and support to lead us forward. Their future leadership depends on the decisions we make and the actions we take now to set them up, and to set all of us up, for a successful, equitable and compassionate tomorrow. We want to make sure that as we recover, we recover stronger; that as we rebuild, we rebuild together.”
PRINCE HARRY THANKS FRONTLINE HEROES
Out of all the guests that attended the benefit concert in person, no one received quite the applause as Prince Harry! When the Duke of Sussex walked onstage to deliver his first speech, the entire audience rose to their feet, cheering loudly and clapping before he even said a word.
“Hi, everybody. We are at a defining moment in the global fight against COVID-19. Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world,” Harry told the crowd. “You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You’ve served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm’s way and acted with bravery, knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible debt of gratitude. Thank you.”
“But we’re also coming together because this pandemic will not end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity. The vaccine must be distributed to everyone, everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world,” he added. “The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that’s what tonight is about. The virus does not respect borders, and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography. It must be accepted as a basic right for all and that is our starting point.”
See more highlights from his passionate speech here.
POPE FRANCIS MAKES A SURPRISE APPEARANCE VIA VIDEO MESSAGE
Throughout his speech, His Holiness begged viewers “not to forget the most vulnerable.”
“To the youngsters in age and in spirit, a very warm greeting from this old man, who does not sing nor dance as you do, but who believes, like you, that injustice and evil are not invincible,” he began. “The coronavirus has provoked much death and suffering, affecting the lives of many, especially the most vulnerable. I beg you not to forget [them].”
“In the midst of so much darkness and uncertainty, we lack light and hope. We need paths of healing and salvation,” he continued. “God Creator fills our hearts with a new and generous spirit to abandon our individualism and promote the common good. A spirit of justice that mobilizes us to ensure true universal access to the vaccine, and a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights.
“Every social injustice, every marginalization that leads poverty or misery impacts the environment as well. Nature and persons are united,” he said.
JOE BIDEN AND WIFE DR. JILL BIDEN ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO GET VACCINATED
Like Meghan Markle and Pope Francis, the president of the United States and the first lady also appeared at the event via video message, telling the crowd, “We know just how difficult the last year has been, we really do.”
“The loss of life, and the loss of our way of life — birthdays, graduations — all the milestones we missed and the simple pleasures we had to forego to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” POTUS said. “You know, we can’t let up now. The vaccines are safe, I promise you, they’re safe. They work.”
“Everybody in America, 16 years old and older, is now eligible to get vaccinated for free. We’re working with leaders around the world to share more vaccines and boost production, to make sure every country has the vaccines they need,” he continued. “If we can get this done, we won’t have to miss another moment. We can do this, we really can. Thank you and God bless you. Get vaccinated!”
JENNIFER LOPEZ PERFORMS… TWICE!
The singer opened the show by bringing her mother, Guadalupe Rodríguez, onstage to perform a beautiful rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” J.Lo told the crowd that for the first time in her whole life, she and her mom were unable to spend Christmas together last year due to concerns over COVID-19.
“We’ve been away too long, but she’s here with me tonight, and she’s vaccinated,” Lopez said. “When I was thinking about what song to sing tonight, I remembered the song she always used to sing to me when I was a baby. So if you would indulge me, I’d love to sing that one tonight … you guys know this one!”
“Let’s sing it like a lullaby, and let’s help her out,” she told the crowd, before asking her mom, “Sing it like you used to sing it to me.”
Later, Lopez took the stage again for a performance of her 2016 hit single, “Ain’t Your Mama.” The Bronx, New York, native was flanked by backup dancers for the high-energy number, at one point transitioning into a dance break set to Saweetie’s “Pretty B**ch Freestyle.” The dance moves, complete with plenty of booty shaking, was well-received by the audience, along with host Selena Gomez ,who raved, “How hot was J.Lo?”
BEN AFFLECK AND JIMMY KIMMEL BRING THE LAUGHS
Taking the stage right after Lopez’s second performance of the night, Ben Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel entertained the crowd in between sets. Kimmel thought it would be funny to wear a Robin costume onstage, but was a bit upset that Affleck, who previously portrayed Bruce Wayne, didn’t suit up as Batman for the event (he opted for a classic look instead).
“Why do you think I would come here wearing a Batman costume? The pope is here… our prince is here,” Affleck said, with Kimmel saying, “Excuse me, hello, you told me we were dressing up!”
The two then went back and forth talking about the return of sporting events, when Affleck joked to Kimmel, “You know, we can all see your fantasy package right now. I wouldn’t have made that choice.”
“I bought it with my stimulus check,” the late-night host replied, as the crowd erupted into laughter.
Hear more from Affleck and Kimmel, and how YOU can win tickets to major sporting events through Global Citizen, below:
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SELENA GOMEZ CAN’T STOP FANGIRLING
While welcoming Lopez to the stage for her second performance of the night, the singer couldn’t seem to keep her cool around her idol. “Wait, I messed up. I’m sorry, J.Lo,” she joked, after flubbing one of her lines. “It’s totally fine. I’m just making a fool of myself in front of J.Lo!”
While speaking to ET on the red carpet, Gomez admitted that she totally “geeked out” when she saw the VAX LIVE guest list.
“I was happy that those people decided to join us and spread the word. I have to be honest, I was a little nervous [to come out and host]. I love to be a part of especially moments like this, but we haven’t done anything like this in a long time so I’m actually very nervous,” she shared. “But why I’m here — and in general — I have been using my platform for the past year and year and a half to confront issues with businesses, philanthropists, people who may have not been given the proper information.”
Gomez added that she believes the goal of the event was to “show what the whole world could be like” if vaccines are accessible to everyone, everywhere.
“And to give facts on what this vaccination is. Encouraging people to look into it and not get their information from a false source,” she explained. “I’m just excited to give people the chance to see the other side. I hope [viewers] feel a sense of comfortability, safeness and are hopefully more educated on what’s going on. My dream would be for everyone to get vaccinated.”
FOO FIGHTERS DEDICATE A SONG TO HEALTHCARE HEROES…
Frontman Dave Grohl made it very clear throughout the Foo Fighters’ close-out performance that he and the band couldn’t have been happier to finally be back onstage, performing their classic hits like “All My Life,” “Everlong,” “Times Like These,” and “Best of You.”
“We’re at a ROCK concert right now, oh my god!” he exclaimed. “All last year, I’ve been having this dream that’s happening right now. Go to sleep at night, have this dream [where] I’m back onstage, with people jumping around and singing, and I feel like I’m at home.”
“But then, I wake up! I realize we’re not here yet. We’ve still got a ways to go but let me tell you — I truly and deeply believe that human beings need to come together and share music in a communal setting, because that’s what we do,” he continued. “I am a firm believer in the idea that music should be shared with people, right? So let’s work as hard as we can to make sure that we can do this every f**king night for the rest of our lives, how ’bout that?”
Giving thanks to the vaccinated frontline heroes in the crowd (and around the world), the Foo Fighters then performed “My Hero,” bringing everyone to their feet to sing along. “As a tribute to you healthcare workers, I’d like to sing this song to you, and with you,” Grohl explained.
… AND BRING OUT A SPECIAL GUEST!
At one point in the show, Grohl revealed that he was bringing out a surprise special guest — his good pal and rock legend, Brian Johnson, from AC/DC! Following lots of cheers and applause from the crowd, they belted out an energetic rendition of “Back in Black.”
“Who missed going to rock concerts? You miss live music a little bit, right?” Grohl said. “So considering that this is the first show that we’ve done in, I don’t know, a year and a half? A long time. We thought that we would make this a special occasion for all of us. So say you wanna do something special, what do you do? You call a friend to come play with you!”
Speaking to ET this week, Grohl opened up about why he and the Foo Fighters wanted to take part in such a historic event.
“I think that one thing that people have realized in the last year is that the communal aspect of life is very important as a human being. Whether that’s going to church with your family, a sporting event with your kids or going to see live music,” he explained. “I think music’s greatest power is that it brings people together. And when music is shared in that communal tangible experience, in that setting where people come together and all sing along together, that’s where the magic really happens.”
“So to play that show not only reminded me why we need this as human beings, but I think it also reminded the audience,” he continued. “That we’ve got a lot of work to do, but if we can get through this together, we’ll all experience that again.”
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