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Global Citizen Festival 2014: Beyonce Duets With Jay Z, Sting Joins No Doubt & 8 More Highlights

Beyonce, Jay Z, Global Citizens Festival 2014
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Beyonce performs onstage with Jay-Z at the 2014 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030 at Central Park on September 27, 2014 in New York City

Now in its third year, the Global Citizen Festival took its ambitious name to heart during its Sept. 27 gathering on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park. In addition to show-stopping performances from Jay Z (with a two-song finale cameo from Beyonce), No Doubt (who were at one point joined by Sting), Carrie Underwood, fun., Alicia Keys, The Roots and Tiesto, efforts to fix seemingly all the world’s problems were rampant throughout.

Celebrities like host Hugh Jackman and presenters Dianna Agron, Zachary Quinto and Erin Heatherton often appeared alongside world dignitaries like Queen Silvia of Sweden, Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway and even President Barack Obama (via pre-recorded video), often interrupting the raucous adrenaline of the rock performances taking place to remind the 50,000-plus crowd and global audience tuning in via NBC/ MSNBC of global poverty as well as epidemics like ebola, HIV and dirty water. The shifts in tone wouldn’t seem so drastic if the calls to action weren’t so compelling. “You are now part of the global fight to end extreme poverty, and this is a fight we can win,” President Obama said at one point.

Global Citizen Festival's Co-Founder Explains Its Birth & Mission

With many moments both light and heavy unfolding over the course of an eventful six hours, here’s 10 moments worth revisiting:

1. At most general-market festivals these days, the EDM superstar gets final billing – as evidenced by Calvin Harris’ closing set at last weekend’s iHeartRadio or Steve Aoki’s bicoastal headlining of Made in America over Labor Day. But Tiesto seemed game for playing opening act, warming up the crowd with hits like “Last Train” and “Wasted” as well as a four-on-the-floor remix of Sam Smith and Naughty Boy’s “La La La.”

2. Taking selfies has become a pretty commonplace concert activity these days, but it takes on a different weight when encouraged by the uniquely Global Citizen pairing of “Glee” star Dianna Agron and United Nations Population Fund executive director Babatunde Osotimehin, who encouraged attendees and viewers to “Show Your Selfie,” the UNFPA’s visual fund.

3. Alicia Keys’ new single “We Are Here” touches on subjects the singer only hints at addressing, with thought-provoking couplets like “Let’s talk about Nigeria / and the mass hysteria” and “Let’s talk about Israel / ‘cause right it is real.” But for her surprise appearance at Global Citizen, the singer put the latter talking point to life by inviting musicians from both Israel and Palestine to perform alongside her. Given the recent streak of concert cancellations in Israel alone, ended by Lady Gaga earlier this month, it was a statement that spoke even louder than Keys’ thematically ambitious song.

10. The Roots' positively polished instruments shone in the sun as Jimmy Fallon's house band ripped through their usual ebullient medleys, including their own "The Seed (2.0)" and brassy, sassy covers of Fela Kuti's pertinent "Water Got No Enemy" and Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up." Dashing around onstage in many a black t-shirt, the band members brought a whole new meaning to working hard for the money... that's all going to charity.