Good music, that is for sure.
But will it make a difference? Has it ever in the past with Harrison's Bangla-Desh concert, Live Aid, or Nelson's Farm Aid?
Do these multi-millionaire rock stars, whose ego's are only surpassed by their income, really think they are gonna influence those G8 nations by holding a concert? Do they really think they have that much pull/influence?
I find that the only ones who end up benefiting from these events, as noble as these performers intent is to raise social consciousness on those starving in Africa, are the performers, promoters, and those who have to be paid to stage/set these things up. Those suffering in Africa will see little of it.
After the concert, all these artist will return to their mansions and comfy living, pat themselves on the back, and then wait for the album to come out this Christmas season.
Symbolism over substance IMO.
But will it make a difference?
BARRIE- Righteous rock `n' roll. Snap. Music on a mission. Snap. The virtuous and the virtuosos. Snap.
In concert, in symbolic "interdependence," against poverty.
But still some 6,800 children in Africa died yesterday from hunger, from preventable diseases related to wretched impoverishment during the hours between opening act Tom Cochrane and closing act Neil Young at Park Place.
One child lost every three seconds.
Snap. Snap. Snap.
That's the grim reality and the core message of Live 8 for all the waving arms and swaying hips under a brilliantly blue Canadian sky; a message that just might resonate long after the last guitar lick and harmonica riff and drum solo had been performed, whether here or at nine other venues, in half a dozen time zones, on four continents.
A marathon of music, it was, a shockwave of amplified sound and imploring sentiment that rumbled around the planet, from London to Tokyo, from Rome to Johannesburg, from Berlin to a modest city north of Toronto, where some 35,000 fans gathered in a field alongside the highway to groove, cheer yes, even applaud themselves every time the TV cameras panned and snap their fingers in solidarity.
If they had some fun while being proselytized the gospel according to Sir Bob Geldof where is the harm in that?
It was a concert, after all. The message was sobering but the occasion was festive.
On the giant screen and small screens across the country: Paul McCartney and Bono resurrecting "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," Sting, Madonna, a reunified Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder and more rock royalty than you could shake a stick at.
On the hastily refurbished stage at Park Place: The crθme of Canadian content but with some aliens thrown in (Deep Purple, Mφtley Crόe), 21 bands and solo performers banding together in response to the poverty relief shout-out from Geldof.
Organizers hope, perhaps naively, that the urgent appeal for responsibility and redress will carry through at least to this week's G8 summit, when leaders of the planet's richest countries convene at a posh Scottish resort to palaver about the poor-who-are-always-with-us.
In a sneering world, it might be chic to mock privileged pop stars and their grey-haired rock ancestors survivors of a more decadent era for laying claim to a social consciousness, from the comfort of their wealth, whilst preaching to the rest of us about global economics and debt relief and foreign aid packages equal to 0.7 per cent of the gross national product, as recommended 30 years ago by Lester B. Pearson. (Loads of references on the Barrie stage to him and, of course, to the collective "us," as in Canada, land of "peacemakers and peacekeepers," as extolled by Dan Aykroyd, co-host of the Canadian show with Tom Green.)
This would be the same Aykroyd, one can't help but mention, who spoke about Third World poverty in recent weeks while appearing as celebrity shill for a $90 bottle of vodka.
Still, it would be churlish to challenge the sincerity of those who squeezed Live 8 into their schedules and donated their talents their only real commodity or the estimated 3.3 million people who attended the concerts in ten cities.
The gesture felt utterly genuine when Bryan Adams interrupted his own set for the high-noon "Worldwide Click Moment," when the international stages fell silent and every concert crowd raised its hands to snap as directed in what has become the mute code of the Make Poverty History campaign.
With cameras flashing images from venue to venue, Live 8 impresario Geldof remembered, without nostalgia, the Live Aid spectacle he organized exactly two decades ago, antecedent to this one. "Many of us saw something so grotesque that anybody in this world of plenty should die of want that we felt physically sick."
It is no less sickening now.
"Don't listen to the skeptics, folks," advised Adams, as he approached the proscenium with an acoustic slung over his shoulders, launching into a ballad that ended on a poignant whiff of "Tears Are Not Enough."
Twenty years ago, at the two-city Live Aid concert the event raised $100 million for Africa yet the continent is worse off now than in 1985 Adams participated as a fresh-faced arriviste. Now he's a middle-aged veteran of the rock industry, still singing the same old song on behalf of a poverty-wracked and politically ravaged Africa.
"I'm still here,'' Adams told reporters afterwards, with a shrug that spoke volumes.
He's still here; Africa is still hungry and enslaved to escalating interest debt, even if donor countries have cancelled $40 billion (U.S.) in money owed, but only for those countries that have met established thresholds of self-management.
Yet Adams believes Live 8 will make a difference, that political leaders will feel the heat and make the generous financial commitments necessary to rescue Africa from catastrophe.
"Look at the difference between 20 years ago and today. We had two shows. Today we've got nine concerts around the world. To be able to get a message out across the world is much easier than it ever was before.
"We know this is probably the biggest rock concert in history. It will receive a lot of attention. It will bring a lot of attention.''
If Adams, a simple rock star after all, is not a voice worthy of changing intractable political minds Prime Minister Paul Martin, come on down then what of Nelson Mandela, an enduring icon of all that is resilient in the human spirit?
Frail at age 86, still grieving the recent death of a son who succumbed to AIDS, Mandela riveted both the crowd in distant Johannesburg and the one surprisingly young in composition that fell into a hush in Barrie. Wearing a shirt on which was emblazoned his prison number 46664 from more than 25 years in a South African jail, the retired president of Africa's richest nation, a country awash in gold yet staggered by poverty, Mandela invested Live 8 with a very special kind of legitimacy.
"I am pleased to be here today to support Africa standing tall against poverty, in concert with Live 8.
"As you know, I formally announced my retirement from public life and should really not be here. However, as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest."
Mandela told of how his spirit, and those of his anti-apartheid comrades, had been lifted during all those years of incarceration from knowing the world was watching, the world cared.
"Those efforts paid off and we are able to stand here today and join the millions around the world in support of the fight against poverty. Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times. We live in a world where knowledge and information have made enormous strides yet millions of children are not in school. We live in a world where the AIDS pandemic threatens the very fabric of our lives, yet we spend more money on weapons than supporting the millions infected by HIV. ... Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.''
The burden of doing the right thing falls now on the shoulders of those eight leaders heading for Gleneagles, said Mandela.
In their own way, more effectively as musical messiahs than public orators, the performers in Barrie yesterday tried to say the same thing. And the audience was receptive, even if fans had to often remind themselves of the purpose behind this affair as they tossed beach balls and slathered their bodies with suntan lotion.
Mighty Popo, a member of African Guitar Summit there were unforgivably few African performers on any of the lineups expressed his gratitude, as an African, to Live 8 and the support it had engendered.
"We talk to many Africans here and abroad," said Popo, raised in Burundi. "We told them people are gathering for them."
But he wanted to correct a false impression. "Africans work very hard. They work harder than anybody can imagine."
It's a resource-blessed continent whose riches never trickle down to the vast majority, many of whom live on less than $1 a day. And its economy has been disastrously damaged over a century of pillaging by the West.
"They don't really want to beg any more," said Popo of Africans. "It's a little bit of a dilemma, to think of the nations that have helped make Africa poor. And now we look to these nations for help."
To quote The Barenaked Ladies: If I had a million dollars ...