JOHN LEGEND, Instagram Live – Evening Standard, 18 March 2020

With concerts across the world cancelled for the forseeable, a temporary entertainment replacement is taking shape on Instagram. Planned in collaboration with the World Health Organization and activist group Global Citizen, the #TogetherAtHome series saw Coldplay’s Chris Martin messing around in his music room on Tuesday. Last night it was John Legend, with his model wife Chrissy Teigen (wearing a towel after a Twitter vote on her outfit) and their three-year-old daughter Luna sitting on his piano.

  There were 115,000 fans watching – more than a stadium’s worth – but the Instagram Live setup is very different from going to a proper gig. Instead of having your view blocked by people holding up their phones, the view on your phone is blocked by an incessant stream of heart-eye emojis, song requests and general observations flowing upwards from a comment box. It is literally people talking through a concert.

  Legend ignored them and bantered with his sarcastic beloved, who responded to the questionable timing of his announcement of a new album with: “If I could pick, I’d probably pick medicine.”

  Still, it was lovely to see the ease with which his hands floated across his piano, even if the mirrored image made it look like the high notes were on the left. He managed Bridge Over Troubled Water, the theme from Beauty and the Beast, his soppy original All of Me and the theme from the US version of The Office.

  He ended his hour with a speech about helping others, a dig at the President and a surprising offer: “They say there might be a corona baby boom after all this. I have music that can help you with that.” If imminent online gigs from Miguel, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello can feel this relaxed, the time will pass a little quicker in the long days ahead.

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