Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

One half-expected Elton John, seen here on April 18, 2020, to top off his unsteady performance of I’m Still Standing with a tomahawk dunk.

Getty Images/Getty Images

A rock star is no more what the fans imagine him to be than a film star with a gun and a vengeance is an actual vigilante. Still, who would have ever pegged Elton John as a driveway basketball-hoop guy?

On Saturday, a globally streamed and televised One World: Together at Home event brought audiences not only music but also a look into the houses of artists such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, along with the physically distanced Rolling Stones and the apparently jump-shooting John.

Unlike John‘s recent Living Room Concert TV special, in which Tim McGraw crooned from a mansion’s backyard swimming pool, lavishness was avoided for a stripped-down quarantine concert curated by Lady Gaga to salute front-line health care workers and raise funds for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Story continues below advertisement

One World was less a melodious episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, more a carefully arranged entry into the music rooms of superstars, where the decors and backdrops drew as much attention as the performances. Here’s a round-up of the best, worst and wackiest of the songs and settings.

Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert revealed themselves as wood lovers.

Getty Images/Getty Images

Wood-panelling ruled

The three hosts (Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert) revealed themselves as wood lovers. Fallon’s excessive woodwork in particular was surreal. More seriously, why go with three self-isolated late-night U.S. television personalities if the event was global in scope?

Most moving

Against a pastel backdrop, Taylor Swift somberly delivered the piano-based prayer Soon You’ll Get Better, written about her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Her singing “This won’t go back to normal” struck a vulnerable tone and sobering reality.

Weirdest backdrop

Did Canadian David Furnish banish husband Elton John and his baby grand to the basketball court out back? One half-expected John to top off his unsteady performance of I’m Still Standing with a tomahawk dunk.

Best and worst performances

While Lizzo’s version of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come took us to church, John sounded like comedian Larry David with a poor denture fit.

Something’s missing

For the four-location version of You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones, a grinning Charlie Watts played air drums instead of the real thing. Also missing: rap music, despite its ubiquity on the pop charts, was not performed during the two-hour event.

Top music cave

The room of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder (who looked like a witness protection plan participant) was outfitted with a pump organ Neil Young would envy and a road case that once belonged to the Who’s Pete Townshend. Vedder also won the award for the most lit candles.

Story continues below advertisement

Lady Gaga wins the award for best background props.

Getty Images/Getty Images

Best props

In the corner of Lady Gaga’s small, bright space sat a pair of golden barbells. Also, dying to know what kind of beer Stones guitarist Keith Richards had on his coffee table, and what was that encyclopedia next to his glass?

Can’t hear you

Billie Eilish is known as a quiet singer, but the pop star was nearly inaudible during her version of Bobby Hebb’s soul-jazz hit Sunny. The electric piano accompaniment by her brother Finneas O’Connell (who added in elements of James Bond music) was heard fine.

Digital razzle-dazzle

Not one, not two, but three Keith Urbans performed Steve Winwood’s Higher Love. When it was over, Bewitched-actress/wife Nicole Kidman popped in out of nowhere.

Biggest show-off

There’s Legend, and then there’s legend. No one should take issue with Paul McCartney singing a nurse-saluting Lady Madonna with a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band bit of decor behind him, but John Legend’s conspicuous display of Grammy Awards during his transatlantic duet with Sam Smith was ferociously pretentious.

Most adorable

Cohabiting pop stars Camila Cabello and Canada’s Shawn Mendes shared a piano bench and an enthusiasm for vocal vibrato for a lovely version of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.

Reading the room

Sensing the moment was bigger than themselves, many artists chose to perform standards and classics rather than their own material. Lady Gaga tastefully presented the Charlie Chaplin co-written Smile, for example, while an on-brand Jennifer Lopez was overly sentimental in a swank reading of People set against a glowing tree of fairy lights.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies