Live 8 Philadelphia

July 2, 2005

Top 8 of Live 8

Live 8, the ten-concert global event to bring awareness and apply pressure to the leaders of the G-8 countries on issues of world poverty and AIDS, was an historic event politically, economically, and musically. Yes, the London lineup of artists was more impressive than the American, but the Philly show definitely had its moments.

Following are the top eight reasons to have attended Live 8 in Philadelphia:

1.This was a social justice concert | It was free and was successful in reenergizing the fight against global poverty. The G-8 leaders subsequently decided to double African aid to $50 billion annually by 2010. The G-8 nations also agreed to cancel the debt of 18 of the world’s poorest nations. Although this did not totally fulfill the hopes of Bob Geldof and Bono, the two were heartened by the direction taken by the G-8. (More information on the further work needed with regard to world poverty/AIDS/debt relief can be found at www.one.org.)

2. Will Smith as emcee and as performer | Smith, a Philly native, spoke with genuine conviction about the issue. He returned to the stage in the afternoon and treated the crowd to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song as well as “Summertime” with DJ Jazzy Jeff Townes.

3. Kaiser Chiefs | This British band took the stage before the official kickoff in Philly with “I Predict a Riot.” Their high-energy music, heavily influenced by early ’80s new wave, was good stuff.

4. Dave Matthews Band | Dave and Co. did a set of four songs, including the apropos “Don’t Drink the Water” (referencing the European conquering of North America comparable to today’s situation in Africa) and “Too Much” (Matthews’ comment on excessive consumerism).

5. Linkin Park with Jay Z | For many people, this combo was the highlight of the Philly show, garnering more stage time than any other performer. Chicagoans Linkin Park powered through four songs, then an incendiary three-song set with Jay Z, including “Dirt off My Shoulder.” The event’s performers had been instructed to lobby but not disparage the G-8 leaders; Jay Z put it most succinctly: “We’re spending billions and billions of dollars to kill people. Let’s spend billions and billions of dollars to let people live.”

6. Keith Urban | This country artist who hails from Australia rocked during his set. He may be country, but his guitar picking and high energy impressed even the metal fans.

7. Stevie Wonder | After seven hours in the sun, long waits for the Johnny-on-the-Spots, and people climbing the trees for a better view, Wonder’s funk brought folks to their feet with a set that included “Superstition” and “Higher Ground.”

8. An estimated 800,000 people getting along—for the most part—despite heat and being jam-packed in front of the Philly Art Museum | The stage should have been set higher—even at 100 yards, one couldn’t see the tops of the performers’ heads—but the sound was loud and there were few (if any) technical glitches. Note to all future mega-concertgoers: People will step on your blankets. Get over it, share your space, and remember the cause.

 

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