Live 8 (2005 TV Special)
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A who's who concert of the past and present music industry featuring Paul McCartney, U2, The Who, Pink Floyd, Madonna, Elton John, Coldplay, Sting, Robbie Williams and REM in 10 different concerts in London, Cornwall, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Ontario, Tokyo, Jo'Burg, Moscow and Philadelphia.
Why? For justice! The concerts were designed to raise awareness, (not money), about the catastrophic poverty that exists in our world today, primarily in Africa. This public awareness was raised in order to put pressure on the G8 Leaders who will be meeting in Scotland on July 6-9. Through the huge public support, these leaders will be forced to consider the issues of fair trade, debt relief and aid and hopefully act upon these issues and in doing so, Make Poverty History.
A stellar event for a most worthy cause!
What we have is a bunch of aging and not so aging rockers and pop stars patting themselves on the back and stroking their collective egos by playing for hundreds of thousands of people (live) and millions on TV and the web. Its a great big feel good fest, the musicians get to play for a large crowd, and the audience gets off the hook, they don't have to do anything but watch one of the most fantastic lineups ever. At least when the SARS-AID show in Toronto was going to help Toronto recover from the SARS epidemic. What did this event do? "Raise awareness" they say, well how many people really understand the issues in Africa? I do probably more than most, but I still don't really know why the hell Africa is such bad shape. I don't really know why the AIDS epidemic has hit Africa so hard. Is it just pure poverty? Was is the root cause of this poverty? Is it dictatorships? Foreign debt? That seems to be main focus of guys like Bono, but realistically what how does a concert help this? Do you really think that the leaders of the free world give a damn that bunch of people go together to listen to some music? I'm sorry, call me cynical, I do think music is important and effects our lives in a meaningful way but when I think Geldof has kind of lost his mind. He stands there so proud of himself, but is there any surprise that so many people would watch the most popular musical acts in the world? It could have had nothing to do with Africa, it could have been to celebrate sponges and people still would have shown up.
I am sorry, in 1985 it seemed magical, but it's a movie sequel, too polished, quite expected and simply a rehash of what we've already seen.
First of the artist line up . Hyde Park had REM a band who have their best days behind them by about ten years . Are they really a big name act ? Same as UB40 . At least with Live Aid we had the biggest acts of the day take part even if most of them disappeared from the radar soon afterwards . I mean who are Velvet Revolver or Razorlight ? Are they off the stature Queen or U2 were in 1985 ? Of course not . Oh and what idiot thought The Who would be a welcome addition ? Pete Townshend was asked to perform ! No doubt Gary Glitter is upset his invite got lost in the post
Secondly the language . Bob swore live on air in 1985 but he organised the life saving world changing concert so he can get away with it , but here we saw Green Day swear in a pre recorded piece from Berlin while Hyde Park heard the F word come from Velvet Revolver ( I've still no idea who they are ) while Snoop Dogg continually ranted on about a " mother figure " or something . I'm no prude but all this took place well before the 9pm watershed . Robbie Williams too let out some colourful expletives but this was around 10.15 pm and is acceptable I guess . But even so the swearing shows a lack of maturity
Lastly my major gripe is what's the cause ? Live Aid raised money via the £20 ticket for the concert , and the pledges , tens of millions were raised but the concert goers for Live 8 attended via a text messaging system and this means the world wide concerts were effectively free , no money was raised for NGOs and the general public who unfortunately are ignorant on African affairs went home still ignorant on African affairs . One thing we did learn was that Velvet Revolvers guitarist used to be in Guns N Roses and that Mariah Carey has a new single out . Forgive me being cynical but aren't the biggest - Perhaps only - winners on Saturday 2nd July 2005 the artists who performed ? I see the record sales of some acts have risen by over 1,000 per cent
" Theo you're so cynical you disgust me "
Sorry that wasn't my intention but I did read in the press that all the artists at Hyde Park received goody bags with contents that cost several thousand pounds while the African children who appeared on stage with the artists got a free T-Shirt . Oh and seeing as there's all these kids dying in Africa because of lack of medical facilities or clean drinking water I wonder how much money the performers spent on drink and drugs that day ? Yup rock stars are the sort of people who can really empathise with the starving souls of this world . I won't condemn them all of course because as I said Geldof is a genuine living saint while other artists appearing are genuinely caring about the suffering in Africa especially Bono whose set with U2 was far superior to the performance seen at Wembly 1985 . But apart from that opening moment Live 8 is totally unfit to be compared to Live Aid
Still,the ultimate highlight for me was the performance of my favorite band (together with Sonic Youth) Pink Floyd in their entire line up (except Syd Barrett of course).They also had a great choice of songs (Money,Wish You Were Here,Breathe).Still,there final song took my breath away and I wasn't the only one. "Comfortably Numb" was sung so beautifully and played with such intensity that it was unreal (considering the fact that they are old rockers and haven't played together in this set for over 20 years). Truly the musical highpoint of the day! But all in all it was about the message and it was spread out in a good and sincere way,thank you Bob Geldof! Now we can only hope that the G8 leaders have a heart...
Missing bands: Sonic Youth,Radiohead,The Prodigy,Lou Reed,Underworld,etc... But hey,you can't have them all!
Those of us lucky enough to be at the concert left that evening feeling human. Those who watched it on TV felt the power of that message. We had been forced to get in touch with our emotions, whether that be elation, excitement, empathy, passion.... whatever the emotions we felt, they made us remember what it was like to be human.
Reminding us fortunate westerners what it is like to be a real human.
And that, my friend, is what i believe is the key to making a change in this very un-human world.
Pink Floyd made a historic return to the stage and stole the show. Roger's voice may not be at its best, but in terms of pure presence, they were ace! Velvet Revolver, sadly, was less impressive; the first live performance of theirs that I had seen, and I was fairly underwhelmed. Slash looked bloated and bored, Scott Weiland's vocals were fair at best, and their song selection was questionable (the opening line of "Do It for the Kids" contains a strong expletive, and the entire point of the song is to encourage sex). I'm not anti-swearing/sex, but the idea of them performing this show in front of millions of families across the nation was a bit disappointing. I think they could have instead played something more relevant and melodic.
To be entirely honest I couldn't care less about most of the other performers. REM was pretty dull and all the solo artists were grating MTV generation no-talent hacks.
Pretty colossal production. I was only 20 miles from Hyde Park, and looking back in retrospect I wish I had gone down to see the concert if only to catch a glimpse of what may possibly be the last Pink Floyd performance ever.
There was a real sense of occasion about it, that it might have an influence on world poverty.
Now watching the DVDs some of that sense of occasion has gone. Although there are still children dying every few seconds and the haunting video to Annie Lenox's 'Why?' still affects as it should.
What disappointed me most was the removal of some tracks, presumably due to shortage of time. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Keane's 'Bedshaped' again and found it was one of those that had been left out.
The sound quality however is excellent through my hifi speakers but not all the bands performed that well on the day. For me Pete Doherty and Black Eyed Peas were a little bit poor.
Overall it is still an excellent concert to watch, the variety of artists and the reason they were all there make it unique...apart from Live Aid of course