A standing ovation greeted Sir Rod Stewart, Van Morrison and Paloma Faith as they led a star-studded line-up at a charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Thousands flocked to the world-famous central London venue on Wednesday night for the Raise the Roof benefit concert organized by charity Prostate Cancer UK and musician Jools Holland, 64, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2014.
Holland, who performed on piano throughout the show along with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, accompanied all of the musician’s sets.
Olly Alexander, Celeste, Melanie C, Paul Weller, Ruby Turner and Chris Difford were among the acts, each performing a song cover or two.
Celeste, wearing a deep purple dress, gave a powerful performance as Ray Charles’ Come Rain or Come Shine, while Paloma Faith, in a floor-length silver and gold dress, was cheered on during her performance of Etta James’ Something’s Got A Hold On Me.
Stand-up comedians Omid Djalili, Harry Hill, Stephen K Amos, Shaparak Khorsandi and Gina Yashere kept the audience laughing with jokes ranging from obsessing over their dogs to living with their 82-year-old father during lockdown .
Meanwhile, Holland and Sir Rod, wearing a silver suit, presented a new song from a swing album they’ve been working on.
The Maggie May singer danced across the stage belting out the chorus of “Sunshine and Flowers.”
Sir Rod, who previously battled the disease himself and flew in from California for the event, told the audience: “It’s great to be here.
“You may have had that dreaded disease. I would not be here tonight without my wonderful wife, amazing family and some amazing doctors.”
The singer later joked about the outfit Van Morrison wore during his set, which included green aviator sunglasses and a baby blue suit with a matching trilby hat.
Sir Rod said: “Ladies and gentlemen, a special round of applause for Van Morrison’s suit.”
“I always warm up by singing Have I Told You Lately? but he’s in the next dressing room so I didn’t do it. Well done Van.”
Sir Rod then said, “What else do we have to say, Jools?” before adding, “I love you.”
Holland replied, “I love you too,” before discussing how they met through their shared love of model trains.
Holland repeatedly thanked the cast for their support throughout the show, saying, “I want to thank all the artists who came from all over the world to be here tonight.”
He told the audience between performances, “I want to say a big thank you for coming tonight, but I really want to say thank you to all the artists.
“They came because they wanted to support this, because they or their families were affected in some way, or they came because they are my dear friend.”
Mel C also thanked the audience, saying: “Unfortunately this affects so many of us and we are touched by these terrible things in our lives so here we are and you did something good tonight so thank you for being here. “
Then she asked Holland at the piano, “What do you think? Shall we go back in time? Shall we get a little sharp?”.
The crowd went wild when Mel C started singing the Spice Girls’ song Who Do You Think You Are.
Olly Alexander also got the audience off their seats and dancing as he sang Stevie Wonder’s Sign, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.
After he finished the song, he laughed and raised a towel in front of his face: “I’ll pat myself dry afterwards, sorry.”
Funds from Raise The Roof, also organized by Prostate Cancer UK founder Professor Jonathan Waxman, will go towards research to find a better prostate cancer testing approach that could be used for a UK screening programme, the charity previously said.
In March this year, Holland told the PA news agency about his own diagnosis in 2014, revealing he was diagnosed after a routine blood test and had no symptoms at the time.
He added that it’s “really important for men to be aware of the facts of prostate cancer and understand their risk.”
Sir Rod also battled the disease and was given the all-clear in 2019 after being diagnosed two years earlier.
The singer, who has previously spoken out in favor of encouraging more at-risk men to speak to their GP, said ahead of the concert: “I’m clear now just because I caught it early… Guys, you guys really need to go to the doctor. “