Gladys Knight was among the legendary artists to sing the praise of laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and the IAEA – the Agency that he leads – at a concert of superstars that shined and rocked into the dark, December, Norwegian night.
The R&B singer soon had the audience moving, as some 6000 people clapped and sang along with her. “I am proud to be part of something that is definitely so moving and uplifting,” Knight said. “This is a wonderful accomplishment” by “an extraordinary man.”
Hollywood stars Salma Hayek and Julianne Moore were joint masters of ceremony for the Peace concert that featured some of the world’s finest in pop, rock, Latino, reggae and classical music.
Colombian rock star Juanes said Dr. ElBaradei was ” trying to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. That gives hope for the whole world”.
While Irish singer Damien Rice recounted a conversation he had with Dr. ElBaradei’s sister the night before. “I asked her what the meaning of ElBaradei was,” the singer said. He was told it was the cloth that people used to cover their faces in the desert. “That’s fitting,” Rice told the audience. “ElBaradei is protecting us.”
An emotional Dr. ElBaradei then appeared on stage flanked by screen stars Hayek and Moore, while images of his wife, son and daughter were beamed onto two huge screens. He joked with his Scandinavian audience that, with the attention from the Nobel Prize, people would now know the difference between IKEA and the IAEA. But it was his impassioned call for peace, an end to poverty and a world free of nuclear weapons that moved the crowd to a standing ovation.
The only hiccup of the night was when Duran Duran’s lead singer dropped his microphone in mid-song. But the crowd was forgiving, inspired by messages of peace. The concert closed with all the performers’ singing a John Lennon favourite that left audience with the words “Give Peace A Chance” ringing in their minds.