As far as one night only events are concerned, last night YouTube put on the best one of the year thus far. Also celebrating its 9th anniversary, YouTube hosted OnStage Live from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It was an amazing night full of wonderful performances and heartfelt tributes. The celebration of art and technology brought together talented stars from the music industry and digital world to the stage. Nine-time Grammy Award winner John Legend, dubstep violinist Lindsey Stirling, YouTube dance sensations Les Twins, Playing for Change, Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox, Mike Relm, and the Howard University Gospel Choir delighted the audience with unforgettable performances.
Sal Masekela served as host for the event and he actually did a very good job. Kudos are also in order for impromptu honoring of the late Dr. Maya Angelou who reportedly passed away earlier that morning. Mike Relm’s audio/visual masterpieces were in full effect on the jumbo screen that served as co-host of sorts bringing to life the testimonials of featured artists as well as those who are no longer with us to tell their own stories like Dr. Angelou and Zach Sobiech an American folk rock singer-songwriter who after being diagnosed with a terminal cancer of which he shortly thereafter passed away determined to make the most of the rest of his short lived life. With the help of YouTube, Zach’s single “Cloud” got millions of hits and went viral attracting the attention of musicians around the world. The Howard University Gospel Choir celebrated Zach’s live with a soul stirring cover of “Clouds”.
This event is being pegged as a once in a lifetime occurrence, however after the great response it has received, there absolutely has to be several encores. The line itself was wrapped half way around the building... Not just any building, The Kennedy Center!
Also to note, complimentary popcorn and popsicles were passed out to those standing in line (Many of whom which were in line for hours, a couple since 7am) waiting to receive tickets to the free event. More than likely the bulk of the draw was for John Legend who did not disappoint. Even though Legend hit the scene a year before the birth of YouTube he attributed and acknowledged the platform for having a major hand in his musical career. His latest single alone “All of Me” garnered a remarkable 100 million views on YouTube and he has nearly 1 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. It has also been the subject of thousands uploaded covers, one of which he performed on stage with Lindsey Stirling as the event’s finale which received a standing ovation. For those who were not able to attend the event, it was streamed live via The Kennedy Center’s YouTube channel. Alas, all is still not for those who were unfortunately under a rock during the simulcast. It wouldn't be The Kennedy Center or YouTube either for that matter if everything wasn't documented. For footage from last night’s amazing event visit The Kennedy Center’s website or their YouTube channel.