July 10th, 2005


Thoughts on Live 8.

I'm a few days behind the times, but I would like to make some comments on Live 8. I was unfortunately subjected to the dismal coverage of MTV/VH1 - so pathetic that the event was rebroadcast, albeit after I left the US - and so now I'm really looking forward to the DVD, but I'd still like to make comments now on the positives and negatives I remember of what I did see.

- It seemed someone forgot to tell Velvet Revolver that playing in tune and in time is a really good idea.
- Snoop Dogg's ego. How about instigating that chant of "hey hey hey, Snoop Dogg"? Couldn't he put his ego aside for one day to turn that chant into something clever and appropriate like "hey hey hey, no debt"?
- Jay-Z and Linkin Park in a word: embarrassing. I can't believe that MTV cut off The Who and Pink Floyd and showed U2's set in bits and pieces, and yet they gave some of the best coverage of the day to this humiliating match-up.
- Green Day's horrific cover of Queen's We Are The Champions must've made Freddie turn in his grave. Here's a lesson: if you're not Queen with Freddie Mercury, don't try playing Queen songs, especially if you don't possess a modicum of talent.
- Good Charlotte in Tokyo were simply pathetic. Then again, Good Charlotte anywhere are pathetic, so what's new?

- Pink Floyd! Even after all these years, they can still play. That performance just cemented their position as one of the great acts of all time.
- The Who proved they've still got what it takes too.
- Coldplay and Richard Ashcroft performing Bittersweet Symphony. Sure, I think Coldplay are a ripoff of Unforgettable Fire-era U2, Chris Martin needs to stop thinking he's the second coming of Bono, and the song's performance itself wasn't up to the studio version, but even with all that considered, it's still a great song and I found it to be a definite positive of the day.
- U2 and Paul McCartney performing Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club. I'm not much of a fan of the Beatles, but this performance was great - you could tell both McCartney and U2 were having a great time and it really energised the crowd.
- U2's set. Absolutely scorching rendition of Beautiful Day, and I thought the release of the doves was a nice symbolic touch. Even better than that, though, was the performance of One. This tour, I've found One to be one of the least exciting songs, and I am firmly of the belief that it should be kept solely for special occasions. I feel vindicated by this performance. One really shines on certain occasions, and this was definitely one of them; that was the best performance of One since the historic gig in Sarajevo, 23 September 1997.

Ultimately, I would hope that all those who attended the concerts or watched them on TV or online came away with a positive impression, if not of individual performers or the coverage, but of the cause. I sure hope many who simply went for the fun factor were influenced by the serious undertones of the event and came away with new perspectives and awareness. The crisis of global poverty is one requiring an urgent and committed response, and as Bono has been saying, we are more powerful when we act as one.
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