On Saturday, May 30th, over 70 artists and thousands of fans came together for Quarantine Comes Alive, a virtual music festival that raised over $150,000 for a litany of charities via the comprehensive PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The 15-hour live stream marathon featured virtual performances and never-before-seen videos by an array of artists from around the world including singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson who performed the Grateful Dead‘s “Friend of the Devil”, her own “The Hardest Part”, and Talking Heads‘ “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”.
Beginning with the eternal Dead singalong anthem from American Beauty, Mendelson set a tone of laid-back, acoustic bliss for her three-song set. Her no-frills approach to the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter tune placed the focus squarely on her vocals, which delicately transposed the age-old song into today’s context of QCA. After donning a harmonica strap and switching to a smaller guitar, Mendelson performed her own composition, “The Hardest Part”, from If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…, which was released in April. Here, Mendelson showed off her own patented songwriting prowess, a gift that has earned her the attention of such icons as Jackson Browne, who composed the song “A Human Touch” with Mendelson for the 2018 documentary, 5B.
Finally, Mendelson closed out her set with a cover of the timeless Talking Heads song, “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”. While it isn’t entirely outlandish to see an artist cover this particular Talking Heads song, seeing it done solo on acoustic guitar is rather out of the ordinary. The lack of dense instrumentation found on Mendelson’s cover stood in stark contrast to the original version from 1983’s Speaking in Tongues. Once again, the lyrics became the focal point as Mendelson’s delivery gave them a dour feeling as opposed to the jovial touch many acts put on the song and its catchy riff.
As Leslie Mendelson explained to Live For Live Music about her Quarantine Comes Alive performance,
We all need music in times like these. Music is the healer, the unifier and the common thread that brings us together. I wanted to pick a few songs that felt uplifting and familiar, like a warm hug. It felt great to provide a little light in these dark times and to help raise money for Covid 19 relief. I know it can’t replace the feeling of actually being at a show, but it’s a great way to spend the day seeing your favorite artists and friends. Thanks to QCA for having me.
If you enjoyed the performance, Leslie asks that you make a donation to Campaign Zero, an organization whose main goal is to create a world in which no one is killed by police. Watch Leslie Mendelson’s Quarantine Comes Alive performance below:
Leslie Mendelson – Quarantine Comes Alive – Full Set
Presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with PLUS1 and Nugs.TV, Quarantine Comes Alive was conceived as a way to celebrate and support musicians, provide fans with unique musical experiences from the comfort of their couches, and raise money for comprehensive COVID-19 relief during this time of uncertainty. All funds raised from the donation-based event will be split evenly between the artists on the bill and the PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund, which works directly with leading non-profit organizations like Sweet Relief, MusiCares, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, World Central Kitchen, Partners In Health, Trans Lifeline, and Backline to provide aid where it’s needed most. For more information, head here.