Guetta readies COVID-19 relief concert

TAB 200529 David Guetta-1590747630173
David Guetta performs at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival Day 1 held at T-Mobile Arena on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)
Image Credit: John Salangsang/Invision/AP

When hundreds of artists started singing from their living rooms when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Grammy-winning DJ-producer David Guetta still wanted to perform in front of a live audience.

So the hit maker set up shop in front of a 205-foot pool at the Icon Brickell in downtown Miami, performing for 90 minutes as 8,000 locals danced along from their balconies during the feel-good moment last month.

Now, he’s launching his second United At Home event at an undisclosed location in New York on Saturday to connect with fans and raise money for health care workers and virus relief efforts.

“A lot of artists, especially DJs, were doing performances from their bedrooms. I felt like that was a little bit frustrating. I really wanted to feel like I have a crowd,” Guetta said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “So, I had the idea of doing this in the middle of towers and people were on the balconies and that was absolutely amazing.”

His first concert featured fans dancing away — some taking their shirts off and basking in the moment — while others enjoyed the vibe from their homes, which Guetta could watch via Zoom as he performed his electronic dance hits that have made him a chart-topping touring juggernaut in the last decade. Police said they dispersed crowds violating social distancing guidelines during the rooftop performance, but no arrests were made when officers had to break up groups on the sidewalks far below the concert.

“To me it’s essential,” Guetta said of connecting directly with his fans. “That was the idea behind the show. I’m going to do it in a different way in New York City, but we were also interacting with people on Zoom. I thought that was so cool. I could see the kids dancing at home. I could see everybody having their own little parties. I could interact with them. Some people would write messages to me and I would answer them. Like, this is really cool! It feels more real. We’re entertainers, this is what we do. It’s not just like playing at home on the keyboard. I’m performing for the people. It’s amazing to receive energy back.”

The first United At Home concert raised $750,000, including a $300,000 contribution from Guetta. This week’s event will air live at 7pm EDT — the time of Manhattan’s ritual of clapping and cheering for a few minutes to honour all essential workers — from Guetta’s social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.

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