Singer Elton John headlined a peace concert in London on Friday, accompanied on stage by actor Jude Law and pop star James Morrison.

The concert marked United Nations’ World Peace Day, which calls for a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, and was jointly organized by Jude Law and the Peace One Day foundation, led by Jeremy Gilley.

It comes as anti-U.S. and anti-Western protests continue to spread around the world, fuelled most recently by a French magazine’s publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad.

British actor Jude Law said that the unrest made the concert even more poignant.

“I suppose in the end, you know, the unrest will always continue just as bullying will always continue and that’s all the more reason for me and everyone else to support this extraordinary organisation,” Law said.

Elton performed Bennie and the Jets and other hits to an audience of thousands dressed in a glittering suit and making faces at the crowd.

Part of the Global Truce 2012 campaign, the concert was also supported by singer Eliza Doolittle and international model Lily Cole.

“Whether it’s race, politics, nations, individuals, any kind of antagonism and conflict separates us and ultimately, hopefully we’re realizing that the point of a pause today for peace,” Cole said. “And in World War I when the British and German troops come together on Christmas Day and acknowledge that they are all human, and there’s a commonality. I really, genuinely, deeply believe that all humans are good and that if you ask any individuals fighting in those conflicts situations, they probably deeply wouldn’t want to be in conflict.”

The popular British pop star James Morrison also performed and said that music was a powerful medium for the message of peace.

“You know when I was growing up listening to music, certain songs I’d hear at a certain time that really lift your spirit or lift your mood,” Morrison said. “I think music, as well as art, is one of those things that’s just as powerful as a demonstration. If it’s the right thing — if it’s the right song at the right time, then it can be really powerful, definitely.”

Organizers of Peace One Day were hoping for “the largest global reduction of violence ever recorded on one day.”

But in light of the recent protests, originally sparked by an anti-Islam movie made in California, some punters were unsure the concert would make much of an impact.

“The film on the Middle East, it shouldn’t have gone anywhere,” said Thomas Venables, a town planner, said. “It was just someone trying to make a cheap publicity stunt. It’s completely different, I think. It’s a shame that it’s gone as far as it has really.”

“I feel like in the Middle East they probably didn’t know about Elton John playing at the peace concert so I don’t think we can relate them really at all,” Heather Topel, a planning consultant, said. “Maybe people in the States taking a higher profile in terms of what people should be posting on YouTube would have more of an effect?”

Benefit concerts first took off with Live Aid, organized in the 1980s by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to donate funds to an Ethiopian famine, and have been followed  by other events such as Live Earth and Live 8.