Miley's cry for 'Help!': Cyrus covers the Beatles in empty stadium for pandemic relief

·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music

On Saturday, international advocacy organization Global Citizen brought together A-list artists from around the world for a live-streamed concert, “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future,” to drive action towards combating the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on vulnerable and marginalized communities, including people of color and those living in extreme poverty.

The global goal, so to speak, was to help — and activist/singer Miley Cyrus took that message to heart, with her choice of Beatles cover for the event.

Miley Cyrus performs in an empty Rose Bowl for Global Goal: Unite for Our Future. (Photo: YouTube)
Miley Cyrus performs in an empty Rose Bowl for Global Goal: Unite for Our Future. (Photo: YouTube)

Cyrus also took the concept of social distancing very seriously, performing her countrified version of the Fab Four’s “Help!” in Pasadena’s completely empty Rose Bowl Stadium, a cavernous venue with a capacity of 92,000. Overhead drone shots of the deserted football field revealed a brilliantly art-directed use of the space, with the giant letters H-E-L-P seemingly telegraphing a message from this troubled planet into outer space.

Cyrus, rocking a two-piece mermaid gown and shaggy peroxided mullet, positioned herself in the center of the giant exclamation point’s pedestal-like white dot, as she dedicated her performance “to those who are tirelessly working on testing, treatment, and vaccines so all of us can come together in places like this empty stadium again.”

The Global Goal concert was preceded by a summit that raised $6.9 billion in pledges from governments, corporations, and philanthropists internationally; both the summit and concert were part of the “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future” campaign to coordinate the development of COVID-19 medical developments and to ensure access to health care for all. Cyrus also participated in an afternoon summit panel, hosted by Mumbai-based Bloomberg Live Deputy Global Editor Mallika Kapur, speaking with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans.

“My generation is hungry for change and is leading that charge in many ways,” Cyrus said during her panel. “I’ve just been a student, over the last few months and especially over the few weeks in my home country. I’ve been a student of these organizers and being able to learn and educate myself. That’s kind of what my time is filled with at this moment, even through Global Citizen, just educating myself. I think that’s the first step to making change. … Young people are using their voices every day to demand that change, and especially now in this activism, even though change is taking time, we want it to lead to lasting change. Something that has been kind of in my mind was wanting to go back to normal, but this ‘new’ normal of we don’t want to go back to the way things were before. We want to go to a more improved, inspired way of life.”

The two-hour Global Goal live-stream featured other musical moments just as visually dazzling as Cyrus’s one-woman Rose Bowl show, including Jennifer Hudson opening the concert with a cover of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” while sailing down the Chicago River in her hometown; Chloe X Halle channeling Revolution-era Wendy & Lisa with their laser-beam-enhanced sci-fi epic, “Rest of Your Life”; France’s Christine and the Queens performing “La Vita Nuova” inside the vacant Grand Palais; Jimmy Fallon and the Roots jamming on “Helpless” with the virtually reunited original Broadway cast of Hamilton; Usher debuting his new political ballad “I Cry” while surrounded by protesters by lying face-down on the floor with their hands behind their backs; and animated clips from J Balvin and Coldplay, the latter dedicated to Elijah McClain, a Black man killed by Colorado police. Those performances can be seen below. To find out how to can help, click here.

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