Rihanna ran through her pop and R&B hits, Eddie Vedder partnered with Chris Martin and Kendrick Lamar was enthusiastic and energetic during his hour-long set at the Global Citizen Festival in New York.
Metallica, Ellie Goulding and Usher also performed familiar songs at the free event on the Great Lawn in Central Park.
Major Lazer kicked off the festival, performing hits such as Lean On, and was backed by lively dancers who, at one point, all wore New York Mets jerseys on stage.
Fans earned free tickets by promoting the importance of education. The event was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, Salma Hayek Pinault, Chelsea Handler, Priyanka Chopra and Hugh Jackman and his actress-wife Deborra-Lee Furness.
Rihanna closed the show with a number of her smash hits, from We Found Love to Umbrella to the recent Needed Me. Most of the performers thanked the audience for doing acts of kindness to earn the tickets.
“We got global citizens in the house tonight — I myself, I’m from Barbados so I came a long way,” Rihanna said. “There are people all over the globe that need help.”
As fans waited for Rihanna to perform, Chris — who had just performed — came back on stage to stall. He sang Prince’s Raspberry Beret while strumming the guitar, and freestyled new lyrics about why Rihanna was late, which earned laughs and applause from the crowd.
He joked that the singer was doing her make-up and said he would perform the Prince song again.
Metallica earned one of the night’s loudest ovations and Usher wore a black shirt that read, Silence is content.
The Global Citizen Festival is in its fifth year. Last year’s event featured Michelle Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Beyonce and Pearl Jam.