Jay Z stirs up more controversy by bringing out Beyoncé in surprise at Global Citizen Festival
The couple’s song ‘Holy Grail’ helped fan the flames of gossip over their rumored marital problems. The celebrity-studded concert in Central Park on Saturday, which also featured actors like Jessica Alba, Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde, aims to end extreme poverty on the planet by 2030 by getting citizens involved.
The ongoing drama of Jay Z and Beyoncé somehow managed to upstage a festival of global importance on Saturday
At the Global Citizen Festival on Central Park’s Great Lawn, before 60,000 New Yorkers, headliner Jay brought out his wife as an unannounced guest toward the end of the night to perform a song guaranteed to get tongues wagging.
The two rendered “Holy Grail,” a depiction of troubled love, in the context of addictive fame, with Beyoncé playing the saddened party.
“Oh, that’s real life,” Jay said as the song ended.
The scene played right into the hands of all those who’ve been speculating about the state of their marriage for months now.
Jay’s performance also must have raised eyebrows for home viewers: The NBC censor apparently snoozed through f-bombs, “bitches” and “n” words.
Together, the details lent a note of odd intrigue to an event otherwise devoted to unflinching positivity.
“Global Citizen” has as its considerable goal to end extreme poverty on the planet by 2030. It aims to do so by getting citizens to urge world leaders to address related issues of vaccines, education and sanitation. To rally the masses, organizers have been convening annual, all-star concerts in Central Park since 2012.
For its third birthday, the fest embraced a far wider world of sound than before. For the first time, it boasted a rap superstar (Jay Z), a country staple (Carrie Underwood) and a fixture from the demimonde of electronic dance music (Tiesto).
To this, the show added pop acts like No Doubt and fun., as well as the pan-genre band The Roots. Also taking part were guest stars Sting and Alicia Keys.
The sprawling show also drew names from the worlds of acting, politics and activism. Presentations and speeches were delivered by Jessica Alba, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde and others
As always, the event coincided with the United Nations General Assembly meeting, which explains the participation of dignitaries like the Prime Ministers of scores of countries from India to Norway.
Though the concert was free, the 60,000 fans gathered could only garner tickets by pledging to do various good deeds through the Global Citizen website.Actions ranged from signing petitions to tweeting at world leaders to taking part in tutorials on the central subject at hand.
Brian Palmer travelled to the show from Massachusetts, as he did last year. Palmer said he performed the maximum number of actions on the site to get a ticket because he “wanted to spread awareness for a good cause. Even if it cost money, I would have donated for a ticket,” he said. “It makes people listen.”
Scores of digital outlets streamed the event, from YouTube to Vevo to the Huffington Post.
For the first time this year, the show appeared on terrestrial TV outlets: MSNBC and even NBC, in an hour-long, prime-time highlight segment. Together, the coverage created what organizers claim to be the largest digital charity event in history.
The Dutch-born electronic DJ Tiesto opened the show with an exuberant set that stressed the celebratory side of group action. Implicitly, it drew a line between the joy of masses dancing and the power of unified effort.
A key lyric, mixed into Tiesto’s thumping beats, went “in this together / we’ll never let go / we’ll leave our foot prints all over the world.”
The Roots brought a holistic sound to the proceedings. Their songs, which combined funk, jazz, African music and hip-hop, saluted “one love,” and the power of the “wise warrior,” in vocals both rapped and sung. They stressed the elevated context of the night by performing Curtis Mayfield’s classic song of uplift and faith, “Move On Up.”
The music of fun. suited the event in its anthemic aspirations. “What do I stand for?” singer Nate Ruess asked in earnest during their song of searching “Some Nights.”
No Doubt’s peppy songs carry an underlying message of outreach to the world. Their songs open up California pop to the jumpy rhythms of Jamaica in songs like “Underneath It All.” The band connected to another pop star in thrall to island rhythms by joining guest Sting on a version of his reggae-tinged Police hit “Message In A Bottle.”
Carrie Underwood seemed most out of her element, shouting rock-inflected country pop hits of personal concern. She strained to fit in with a bleeding-heart version of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.”
A very pregnant Alicia Keys performed a new song of inclusion titled “We Are Here.” To stress the point, she was joined by a young singer from Israel and one from Palestine.
She performed the song at a piano with a message scrawled across its side: “Oneness.”
Headliner Jay Z used the local setting of the city to demonstrate how outsized goals can be achieved. After an intro of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and Frank Sinatra’s take on “New York, New York,” he launched into his own “Empire State Of Mind.” The context of the night expanded his song about improbable personal achievement into a declaration of global-impact-against-all-odds. He followed with a greatest-hits sprint through “Izzo,” “Big Pimpin,’” “99 Problems” and “On To The Next One.”
Whatever the theme of the numbers, Jay’s accent on lyrical skills demonstrated how inventive language and individual ideas can help overcome universal problems.
The gossipy tease of “Holy Grail” may have flipped the script toward the event’s close, but Jay and Bey ended the six-hour event with “Forever Young,” a song which righted the ship with a message of eternal optimism.
Source : NY Daily News