All star performances at Chime for Change charity concert in London

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A new kind of benefit concert rang out through Twickenham as the likes of Beyonce and Madonna took to the stage in London to raise awareness and money for women’s issues.

Chime for Change: The Sound of Change Live Concert set out to raise awareness of issues affecting girls and women, and to raise funds for non-profit organizations pursuing change." This generalised mission statement is in itself a departure from most benefit concerts which have one particular charity as the beneficiary. A large part of the reason for the new flexibility of purpose and destination is the ‘Catapult’ website which allowed the 50,000 ticket holders to choose the recipient organizations for their purchase price: directly funding the charity or charities of their choice.

The tunes were interspersed with statements and personal reflections on the issues. Madonna spoke to the audience about education for girls in impoverished and often socially inert countries. Short films were shown, guest presenters were brought in and statistics rained down on Twickenham’s hallowed turf.

As far as the performances themselves went, Beyonce yet again stole the show. Larger than life and bursting with glitzy yet powerful charisma, she kicked off with Civil Rights anthem A Change Is Gonna Come and Etta James’s At Last before launching into a medley of her hits until husband Jay Z joined her on stage for a rare duet on Crazy in Love.

Acts on the night included Florence + the Machine, Rita Ora, California girl-band Haim, John Legend and Ellie Goulding, although these special events are as much about unlikely jams as individual performances. Simon le Bon did Duran Duran's classic "The Reflex" with hip-hop flavours courtesy of Timbaland while Jennifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige took the stadium by storm with a rendition of The Beatles' "Come Together."

All in all, it proved a triumphant night – and no matter how much the more cynical end of the press may question the tenor of their good works or the more paparazzi end of the press may ignore the issues and focus on the outfits, at least the artists involved are trying to do something positive and worthwhile.

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