Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past few weeks, you’ll be well aware of the Sound of Change concert, on behalf of the Chime for Change charity, over the weekend at Twickenham Stadium.
Stagedoor’s guest contributor Samantha Fogelman was lucky enough to grab a ticket to this A-list event…. here’s her review!
#ChimeforChange changed my view
June 1st saw 55,000 music lovers grace the entrance of Twickenham Stadium to support Chime For Change, an initiative founded by Gucci to support and aid women around the world. The global campaign has been set up by Frida Giannini, creative director of the fashion house, in conjunction with star powers Beyonce and Salma Hayek. A worthy cause for A-listers to lend their name to, Chime for Change raises funds for Health, Education and Justice for women around the world.
On walking into the stadium, I did take a second to wonder why I was spending my Saturday night here, surrounded by excitable tweens dressed for festival season (!?) and the occasional pool of sick strewn in corners. Then I remember- Beyonce. It was all about headline act Queen Bey. Everything else was a bonus, and that seemed to be the general consensus. However the line up was promising and there was definitely a buzz in the air.
The event concept was actually very interesting – striking an intriguing balance between the charity aspect and what was essentially a ‘party in the park’ line up. Does that show my age?! Each act was broken up by pleas for donations, and information about struggling women around the world, designed to pull on heartstrings. Making it impossible not to be drawn into the back-story of this amazing cause were the hoards of Hollywood stars telling you about them. Amongst the famous faces: James Franco (hot hot hot), Blake Lively, Frieda Pinto, John Legend, Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana and Salma Hayek. There will most definitely be a packed Virgin upper class flight back to LA today. Would love to be on that plane…
To ice the cake, MADONNA (!) even made an appearance to host, her sobering speech resonating with the crowds, reminding us of what we were there to support. “Until you learn to read and write, you can’t ask the question why. You can’t do this without an education. Education is not a luxury; it is a basic human right.”
Jessie J opened the show with her pipes well and truly oiled as she belted ‘Price Tag’, ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, and newer track ‘Wild’. Her vocal runs are unparalled and she succeeded in warming up the audience for the night ahead. Girlie pop ‘so-hot-right-now’ sensations Rita Ora, Florence and The Machine, Haim and Iggy Azalea and Laura Pausini came next in a succession of pop-tastic sets, with a sprinkling of John Legend for good measure. Flo has to be my favourite, her version of ‘You’ve Got The Love’ raising the (proverbial) roof.
Appearing from the stage floor to the beginning notes of ‘Live It Up’, meticulously made up J-Lo was next on the agenda, surrounded by some rather hot dancers, the performance was high energy and dare I say it, a bit retro – it definitely reminded me of my university days. Renditions of ‘Get Right’, ‘Love don’t cost a thing’ and of course –“because you know she really hasn’t changed” from her days as ‘jenny from the block’ followed. However – shock-horror, she was miming! To be fair, you can’t dance around like a teenager at 43 whilst also giving perfect vocals, but I wouldn’t rave about her performance considering she didn’t actually sing.. Just as I had switched off however, came a big surprise in the shape of diva Mary J Blige who joined J to the L O (hello!) for a fantastic LIVE version of ‘Come Together ‘. Not a seated member in the house, they sounded fantastic, giving it everything they had in an Olympic worthy vocal battle. I would even say it was ‘ear-busting’. The nostalgic set finished with radio hit ‘On The Floor’, throughout which she was literally on the floor – in her thing highs and split up to ‘who knows where’ unitard. Let’s just say it wasn’t family viewing – although the men in the audience were lapping it up. Her raunchy set led to rapturous applause – perhaps because it was over?! Or the prospect of Beyonce’s set was ever closer. Rumour has it she zoomed straight to China Tang in the Dorchester after her energetic performance – to be honest, she deserved a greasy chinese after busting out those moves!
Now.. Timbaland.. This was a bit of a mystery to me. As a powerhouse producer, his name associated with some of the biggest tracks out there, his name on the line up pulled in crowds..But I’m not sure he did anything? A DJ at the back of the stage played his tunes, while he bounced around on the walkway touching fans hands and occasionally offering a sound bite on the mic. A pointless performance would be my summing up of Timbaland, but it was good of him to join in and help raise some money!
I love a bit of Ellie Goulding.. And she didn’t disappoint. Too cool to mime, she was most definitely live and sounded pitch perfect. It’s also worth noting, that her outfit choice was the classiest and most appropriate of the evening, a black shorts/cami ensemble with slouchy suit jacket – top marks Miss G! Starting her set with ‘Anything Can Happen’, the crowds ‘ooh ooh’d’ along with massive enthusiasm. Finishing her set with ‘I Need Your Love’ and ‘Lights’, Ellie left us wanting more in anticipation of the main event – Beyonce.
As you will imagine, Queen Bey was un-Bey-lievable… Her stage presence is second to none and the crowd were practically salivating as she appeared on stage, another leotard clad songstress, to the tune of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’. Her opening speech: “I am Beyonce Knowles Carter, and I Chime for Change.” What was to follow was an emotional rollercoaster of songs, and a teary Beyonce who looked visibly moved by the crowd and their reaction to the cause she has put her name to. Inspirational women and their quotes floated behind her on screens as she performed, enforcing that she along with so many, have empowered women to be who they want to be.
Her grown up version of girl power themed lineup included gold standard hits ‘Run The World (Girls),’ ‘Single Ladies,’ ‘If I Were a Boy,’ and an outstanding finale of ‘I will always love you’/’Halo.’ Highlights most definitely include the cameo of Mr. Beyonce – Jay Z – rapping the break in ‘Crazy in Love’. His surprise appearance gained more applause than when we were informed the event had raised in excess of $4,000,000, especially when the music mogul snatched a kiss from his wife as he exited stage right, #totesemosh. Her ode to Whitney Houston rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ was incredible and spot on to get the crowds into a frenzy for her finale of my most favorite Beyonce no. ‘Halo’. Elegantly clad in a floor length black sequined dress, it was the perfect way to end the show. There were no crowds exiting the stadium early to beat the traffic, no-one wanted to miss a second of what had now become a mini Beyonce concert.
Overall, it was a great night – the stars shone, and put on a performance to remember for a fantastic cause. It was surreal to think about all the talent under one roof, and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go and witness it. The best bit? Beyonce and Jay Z together on stage. The low-light? Timbaland strutting his stuff to a backing track..
If you also went to Chime for Change, let us know what you thought, and don’t forget to log on to www.chimeforchange.org where you can contribute by donating your ticket costs to a cause of your choice.