World primed for all-star virtual show featuring Taylor Swift, Rolling Stones

New York (AFP) –


A world stuck at home was gearing up Saturday for a marathon global special event in support of health care workers, featuring dozens of superstars ranging from Taylor Swift to The Rolling Stones.

The Lady Gaga-curated virtual show -- backed by the international advocacy organization Global Citizen in collaboration with the World Health Organization -- aims to celebrate and support the efforts of medical workers against coronavirus, which has at least 4.5 billion people forced or urged to stay home.

The party kicks off at 2Pm ECHT (1800 GMT) with a six-hour pre-show streamed online, which will feature a laundry list of stars including performers Christine and the Queens, Annie Lennox and Luis Fons; actors Don Cheadle and Samuel L Jackson; and soccer star Megan Rapine.

A two-hour primetime event rife with A-listers including Billie Eilis, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder is set to follow.

American late-night television personalities Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert will host that show.

A Global Citizen publicist confirmed to AFP that all four Stones -- Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood -- would perform, and the group said they would be participating "from our homes in isolation."

Lady Gaga told a WHO briefing ahead of the event it was intended to continue the "love letter to the world" that is the "fearless global effort" against COVID-19, which has left more than 154,000 dead worldwide.

Saturday's special "will continue this, telling global stories of triumph and hope, and told to a global audience, truly bringing the world together," Lady Gaga said.

"We can do something to bring joy and respite to the corners of the earth."

The event intends to entertain but also act as a "rallying cry" to support health workers and action for charities on a local level.

Global Citizen is also urging philanthropists, companies and governments to support the WHO in its coronavirus response efforts, saying its already raised $35 million for local organizations and the international health body's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

"Music provides this moment for us to pause to reflect to unite as one humanity," Global Citizen's CEO Hugh Evans told AFP ahead of the event.

"And to come back together and say you know what, we truly -- it's not just hyperbole -- we truly are all in this together."