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The Global Citizen Festival Experience, as Told Through Letters [PICTURES / VIDEO]

Global Citizen Festival stage
Angela Stefano

This past Saturday (September 29), more than 60,000 people — including myself — packed Central Park’s Great Lawn for the Global Citizen Festival, a free show featuring Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Band of Horses and K’Naan with the goal of raising awareness about and ending extreme poverty across the globe.

But with 60,000-plus people there, even though my friend and I secured a relatively close-to-the-stage spot on the Great Lawn, I spent most of the show simply listening because standing on my tiptoes to see over the thousands in front of me got tiring really fast. So rather than a traditional review, here’s my experience at the festival in a series of open letters.

***

Dear Global Citizen Festival Organizers –

Thanks for the sweet free tickets. The event was awesome, but two things: 

  1. Next time, can we start the festivities a little earlier? What can I say, only getting to hear each act for one hour or so just isn’t enough!
  2. Speaking of things that were an hour long — Those food lines? Ridiculous.

***

Dear John Legend –

“Imagine” was beautiful. And listening to 60,000 people sing along? Chills.

John Legend Global Citizen Festival
Angela Stefano

***

Dear Dan Auerbach –

Marry me?

***

Dear Pat Carney –

Dude, that drum set is amazing. I don’t know how to play drums, but it makes me want to learn because it’s just that cool.

***

Dear Foo Fighters –

Your last concert for a while and you don’t play “Monkey Wrench”? What gives?? I was looking forward to an epic “One last thing…” scream-along!

But, on that note, thanks for playing “Arlandria.” It’s one of my favorites.

***

Dear Dave Grohl –

Yes, I have lots of questions about your life as a musician, your inspiration, your time in Nirvana, etc. — but what I really want to know is: What do you do to get your hair to look so amazing?

No, I’m not kidding.

***

Dear Other Global Citizen Festival-goers –

I’m so very, very glad that — at least in the areas I was in — I didn’t once hear someone say, “The lead singer of the Foo Fighters looks a lot like that guy from Nirvana.”

***

Dear People Leaving During Neil Young’s Set –

I’m sorry, but I don’t think we can be friends. I know he’s a little bit of an aquired taste — I used to beg my parents to turn his music off when I was little because I couldn’t stand his voice — but there’s no denying that he’s still in fine musical form (and not just for a 66 year old).

***

Dear Neil Young and Black Foo K’Horse (as my friend and I called them) –

totally called it. What a wall of guitars! What a jam session! And I love how happy and smiley everyone on stage looked. Keep on rockin’ in the free world, guys.

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