Beyonce ended the European leg of her Mrs Carter tour on Saturday by headlining The Sound of Change. The concert, which saw a stellar line-up of A-list celebrities descend on London, launched the Gucci-founded global campaign Chime for Change.
I was lucky enough to join an audience of 50,000 people to watch the four hour show, which was also broadcast live from Twickenham Stadium to an audience of 1 billion across 150 countries.
Short sets came from a predominantly female line up including surprise act Jessie J, who opened the concert. She was followed by Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora, Laura Pausini, Florence and the Machine, John Legend, Haim and Ellie Goulding, who all performed a selection of their top hits. Jennifer Lopez was joined on stage by Mary J Blige for the Beatles classic Come Together. Timbaland was also joined on stage by another surprise act, Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon.
Each act was interspersed with moving and inspirational short films, introduced by a line-up of presenters as impressive as the musical one, including James Franco, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Jada Pinkett Smith and Madonna. The hard hitting films presented the audience with statistics and highlighted issues and real life experiences.
What better and more fitting way to end an extraordinary event than with Chime for Change co-founder Beyonce. She opened with Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come, followed by Etta James’ At Last. Her empowering songs included Run the World (Girls), Destiny’s Child hit Survivor and If I were a Boy. She also performed a haunting rendition of the late Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You which lead into Halo. A highlight for me and considering the response, the whole audience, was when she was joined on stage by rapper husband Jay Z during Crazy in Love.
Co-founders Salma Hayek, Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, were joined by the biggest stars in the world right now to support an amazing cause. Chime for Change campaigns for education, health and justice “for every girl, every woman, everywhere” and the Sound of Change is its first event. The sell-out concert is expected to fund at least 120 projects in more than 70 countries from ticket sales alone. In a world first, ticket buyers could choose which project to fund and 100% of their money would go straight to the non-profit organisations.
Ellie was a guest of Freud.