LIVE 8: I literally spent the entire day watching the historic Live 8 concert on television. While the telecast on MTV and VH-1 focused too much on the American and London shows, there were still some iconic moments today: Coldplay and Richard Ashcroft, a still vital Madonna and the reunion of Pink Floyd - including Roger Waters!

I was 15 years old when the Live Aid concerts were held in 1985. I watched most of it at my late Uncle Terry's apartment that Saturday 20 years ago. Damn...time does fly. I still remember delighting at a young Madonna defiantly stating, "I ain't taking shit off," after nude photos of her had been published. She launched into Holiday wearing a layer of coats even in the sweltering Philadelphia heat. Other favorites from 20 years ago are Tina Turner and Mick Jagger doing State of Shock and Queen leading the crowd in London through Radio Ga-Ga. Even then, I understood the magnitude of the moment and was glad to be alive to see it.

Sir Bob Geldof organized Live Aid and he came through again today with Live 8. He's a tireless activist for fundraiser for Africa and the effort to end global poverty. The Live 8 concerts came just ahead of the G8 Summit in Scotland, encouraging the leaders from the world's most powerful countries to focus on erasing the debt to developing countries and giving more aid. While there has been plenty of criticism of Live Aid and what it actually did for Africa in the 20 years since those concerts in 1985, raising the awareness of the poverty, famine and AIDS crisis is not to be dismissed lightly.

While I was incredibly pissed that performances by Bjork in Tokyo, Pet Shops Boys in Moscow, Annie Lennox in London and Sarah McLachlan were never even aired during the eight hours of coverage, it was still amazing to see some of the acts. London definitely had the hottest show. Coldplay and Richard Ashcroft (formerly of The Verve) performed the now classic song Bittersweet Symphony, which is one of the moments that everyone will remember. It's one of my favorite songs, so I was thrilled. Geldof introducing a now healthy and happy young African woman who was shown near death in a documentary filmed in 1985 was so moving, and it even touched Madonna, who was verklempt as she launched into a trio of hits: Like A Prayer, Ray of Light and Music. She looked and sounded amazing. Definitely one of the great moments.

Of course, everyone was buzzing about Roger Waters and Pink Floyd reuniting for Live 8 and they didn't disappoint. Watching the 200,000 plus spectators packed into Hyde Park at dusk made me long to be there. When the pig floating over Battersea Power Station appeared on the giant screen, the crowd went nuts. Money, Comfortably Numb and Wish You Were Here (which made me a little verklempt, I must admit) was transcendent.

U2 and Paul McCartney looked like they were having fun performing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band and Green Day belted out American Idiot and a cover of Queen's We Are the Champions in Berlin. From the American show, Kanye West was definitely the most potent performer and I love his new single, Diamonds from Sierra Leone, which cleverly samples both Shirley Bassey's Diamonds Are Forever and OutKast's Mrs. Jackson. The night closed with an all-star sing-along in Hyde Park with McCartney leading everyone through a round of the warhorse Hey Jude.

I encourage everyone to visit the ONE campaign site and add your voice to the cause to end global poverty and AIDS. Also consider making a donation to The Global Fund. Although everyone is tight on money these days (me included), every three seconds a child dies of starvation in Africa. In the time it took you to read this sentence, another child has died. Now is the time to add your voice, stand up and be heard. As cliched as it sounds, I still believe it is possible to change the world, but we must work together. It's never been more important.


jenny said…
i waited and waited and waited for bjork too. boo.
Collin said…
I finally saw Bjork in a 30 second clip singing All Is Full of Love. I read that her concert was very emotional and a lot of people in the audience cried. Damn...wish I could have been Tokyo for that.

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