Livestreams — and, increasingly, benefit livestreams — have long since become our norm now. Tonight brought us another one. Rise Up New York! was the latest effort to gather A-List talent to raise funds for aid intended for those most affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It was organized by iHeartMedia and Robin Hood, a poverty-fighting organization in New York, and it was designed to benefit the latter’s relief efforts in the state. New York has, of course, been right at the center of the pandemic, and the event gathered some of the city’s big names — everyone from Andrew Cuomo and Bill De Blasio to Jennifer Lopez and Jimmy Fallon and Robert De Niro and Spike Lee. The whole thing was hosted by Tina Fey.
It also gathered some very big names from the music world. Mariah Carey sang a mashup of “Make It Happen” and “Through The Rain.” Sting performed a solo rendition of “Message In A Bottle.” Lin-Manuel Miranda and Idina Menzel led a big group take on “New York, New York.” Alicia Keys did “Good Job” and soundtracked a video tribute to essential workers who are still out there during all this. Bon Jovi offered a (remote) full-band acoustic interpretation of “It’s My Life.”
And finally, Billy Joel made his quarantine livestream debut with “Miami 2017,” which featured him singing the words “I’ve seen the lights go out on Broadway” while being projected all over the screens lining Broadway. As these things go, there was a whole lot of broad-stroke talk about New York throughout the livestream, but the event raised a ton of money, and Joel’s performance wound up a genuinely poignant conclusion. He closed by saying: “Stay safe New York, please wear a mask. That way, you won’t catch anything from anybody.” (Joel normally closes shows with the phrase “don’t take any shit from anybody.”) Below, check out video of Joel’s performance, as well as other moments from the benefit.