City lights sparked over singer Chris Martin as he sang to a virtual audience of more than 1500 people from the terrace of his home on Sunday night to aid Jamaica’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
The live-streamed concert was unlike those presented by various artistes over the past few weeks. Organised by VP Records, Restaurants of Jamaica and KFC, the concert marked the launch of ‘Telethon Jamaica: Together We Stand’, a fundraising event to be broadcast on Television Jamaica on April 12. The initiative is expected to raise US$10-million to purchase protective gear and equipment for healthcare workers and security forces to help fight the coronavirus.
Martin proved to be the consummate star to shine some light, as he curated an intimate musical experience tailored to ease anxieties, reassure the doubtful and crack a smile or two. With shaker in hand, and a ‘socially distant’ percussionist and keyboardist, Martin started with an ode to victims of domestic abuse, and aptly segued into another toast to women, Mama. Attendees blazed virtual lighters (fire emojis) in the comments and commended Martin for his inclusion of Garnet Silk’s Mama.
“All my beautiful ladies watching this now, you deserve unconditional love,” he said, before belting the lyrics to Take My Wings. His soothing falsettos won patron Malik Sampson, who commented, “The song that got me hooked on Chris Martin.”
The artiste served some one-drop vibes too, singing hits like Paper and Look On My Face. He even took viewers down memory lane with a medley of reggae classics, including Cocoa Tea’s She Loves Me Now, Dennis Brown’s Little Green Apples and Bushman’s Fire Bun A Weak Heart.
“At this time I want you to visit the bar…” Martin told viewers. “The bar is the line (www.jatogetherwestand.com). Donate, it’s a worthy cause,” he continued. As with an in-person concert, encores were inevitable and came with tracks like Cheater’s Prayer, which reaped several pull-ups in the comments.
He dived into his Romain Virgo collab catalogue, first with Leave People Business Alone, then the uplifting record Glow, for which he imparted: “It doesn’t matter what’s happening right now, we under curfew but don’t let that steal your joy, do the right thing… This telethon, you can make a change with whatever change you have. Support, support, support.”
He rounded off the night with his newly released Big Big, a tale of his rise to fame, followed by his 2014 smash, I’m A Big Deal. “Thank you to everyone who tuned in tonight… We’re gonna do it again, thank you very much.”
Though there were technical glitches at the start of Martin’s set, fans (from as far as France) were still pleased. “It’s a big deal! Large up Chris, more powers,” said Jason Diego.
“Right now we need more of this,” commented Jamie Gordon.
ReRe added, “Can listen to you all night, Chris, good vibes.”
The occasion also saw the support of singer and Martin’s longtime friend, D’Major. He delivered soulful vocals on songs including Speak the Truth, That’s What Loves About and Dream Love.