The pitch black sky above the Hollywood Bowl was illuminated by green, purple and pink glow sticks. Screams from approximately 18,000 adoring fans pierced the night.
Amp Radio hosted the sold out “We Can Survive” concert Oct. 24 and had a lineup consisting of today’s top artists to help raise money for breast cancer.
In order of appearance, there were performances by Sia, Paramore, Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Antabellum, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani.
“Give it up for yourselves for supporting something amazing,” said Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore.
Event organizers gave $2 from every ticket sold to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national education and support organization that assists women and families at all stages of diagnosis, treatment and recovery for those affected by breast cancer.
Williams wore a bright pink cape to help remind the crowd why they were all there.
Carson Daly took to a small stage in the middle of the crowd to keep the audience entertained during set changes. Daly lost his father to cancer at 5 and breast cancer almost took his mother’s life as well.
Alexis Panuccio and Paulina Shaw, freshmen and roommates at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, came to support their families and significant others who are currently battling the disease.
“I can’t express how happy I am that so many people are here supporting such a great cause,” said Shaw.
Jennifer Lopez surprised the audience with a guest appearance and sang “Booty” with Azalea, a track off Lopez’s new album.
This was the first time Azalea performed her new single, “Beg For It.”
With her bedazzled microphone in hand, Swift belted out her hits such as “I Knew You Were Trouble” and her current song taking over the radio, “Shake It Off.”
“I hope if anyone’s immortal, it’s Taylor Swift,” said Shaw. “She’s the best performer I have ever seen.”
This was Swift’s first performance at the Hollywood Bowl and she joked about Sunset Boulevard hearing the screams.
A pregnant Alicia Keys wore a fitted black mini dress as she sat at the piano and graced the audience with her melodic voice as words of inspiration such as, change, free, peace and joy flashed on the screen around her.
“If we’re not here for each other, then who will be?” Keys said.
Grande hit the stage in her signature hair style and thigh-high boots but had technical difficulties.
When a backup dancer offered to fix her microphone, she swatted him away and laughed it off.
Williams came out on stage with a pink earpiece and pinned a breast cancer pin onto his hat after a fan handed it to him.
“We are here to celebrate women tonight and their survival,” Pharrell Williams said.
Williams sang a medley of old and new songs such as “Hot In Herre” and “Come Get It Bae.”
In the middle of his set, Williams stared out into the audience with tears in his eyes.
“Before ya’ll make me cry, let me just finish the show,” Williams said.
Between each song, he spoke to the audience and gave praise to women fighting cancer.
“Cancer took both of my grandmas so it’s an honor to be here to support such a great cause.” Williams said.
“For those that are still fighting hard every day, just know that your energy does count,” Williams said.
“To those not giving up, the only word to describe you is ‘beautiful.’”
Gwen Stefani made a guest appearance during William’s set and the two sang “Hollaback Girl” together.
“I’ll give you a reason why we need women,” he said.
“Women are the key to our survival as a species.”
As fireworks shot up from the stage, Williams closed the show with his worldwide hit, “Happy” and had the audience singing and dancing as they made their way toward the exit and into the Los Angeles traffic.
Gabriella Chikhani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.