The Greatest Show in the History of the World

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Marble Arch entrance
“It was twenty years ago today…” Paul McCartney and Bono couldn’t have chosen a more perfect song to kick-off Live 8 with. And in complete Sgt. Peppers regalia at that!

Nearly twenty years ago to the very day, on 13 July 1985 at the Wembley Stadium in London - and simultaneously at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia - Live Aid took place. It was The Day That Music Changed The World. Broadcast live all over the world, it was an extraordinarily unforgettable event as people across the planet united as one for a single cause to save Ethiopia from a terrible famine that plagued millions of its people.

It all started in November of 1984 with a TV news report on the Ethiopian famine situation, which aroused, concerned and touched Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats.
Paul McCartney
So graphic and disheartening was the account of the situation that Geldof felt compelled to immediately take action by enlisting the support of his friends in the music industry. The result: Band Aid, a collaboration of the era’s brightest rock and pop luminaries, all taking turns singing lines of Do They Know It’s Christmas, a charity single he had penned specially for the occasion. Recorded and mixed in just 24 hours, it was released a month after on 15 December, hogging the number 1 spot in the UK charts for 5 weeks and selling over 3 million copies in the first 5 weeks.

The following summer, Band Aid snowballed and translated into Live Aid, the first ever charity concert of legendary proportions. Again spearheaded by Bob Geldof, Live Aid was organized in a time of technological deficiency - with no PCs, emails, fax machines, IDD, PDAs or mobile phones, where communication was done solely via telex and overseas calls had to be scheduled through operators hours in advance - Live Aid still managed to assemble the 80’s A-list of chart-toppers.
U2 - "One"
Everyone who was anyone in the music scene back then took to one of two stages - in some cases, both - that were spread across the Atlantic. TV schedules the world-over were cleared, and the now defunct Concorde was on standby in order to shuttle the likes of Phil Collins to perform in both London and Philly. Even astronauts made a contribution - live and direct from outer space. All told, Live Aid drew in a global television audience of more than a billion and a half people - that’s 98% of all TV screens worldwide tuned-in. In that year alone it raised over $80 million - the most a single event had ever collected for charity. The emotional power it had generated was incredible beyond belief, Live Aid is said to be the “single most important public event in the lives of two generations.
Live 8 crowd
” It had, for the very first time, united music, emotion and politics. No other event in human history, before or after, has ever paralleled that of Live Aid.

Until Live 8.

Billed as The Greatest Show In The History Of The World, Sir Bob broke his promise of twenty years to reprise his role as organizer of yet another global music event and continued the UK’s mission from twenty years ago. It had now expanded from a trans-Atlantic showdown to a multi-continent demonstration. This time around, however, it was no longer a call for charity, but one for justice.

In response to Make Poverty History, the UK’s campaign for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Geldof once again brought together a whole breed of rock aristocracy to reign over the world.
R.E.M. - "Everybody Hurts"
Live Aid veterans and current day hit-makers ruled for a day - Stevie Wonder, The Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child were among those in Philadelphia; The Cure, Muse, Andrea Bocelli, Placebo, Craig David played alongside local acts in Paris; Nena lead other German bands together with Brian Wilson, A-Ha, Audioslave, Roxy Music, Sasha and Greenday in Berlin; Duran Duran and Faith Hill joined Italian performers in Rome; Bjork and Good Charlotte rocked the Japanese in Tokyo.

But it was in London’s Hyde Park where the world’s spotlight was on, where over 200,000 people were packed, and filling the space above their heads with flags, banners, balloons, flowers and frisbees. At 2pm, Paul McCartney and Bono instantly ignited a surge of emotion that lasted the whole day as they opened the show with Sgt.
Bob Geldof - "I Don't Like Mondays"
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The massive crowd then burst into tears and started hugging each other. The drama was incredibly overwhelming. U2 then took over with Beautiful Day. Near the close of the song, a hundred white doves were released into the air, a while before Bono segued into “Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see, all your life, you have just been waiting for this moment to arise, blackbird fly” - lyrics from the Beatles’ Blackbird - a song Paul McCartney had written about the civil rights struggle of African-Americans in the 60’s - a truly appropriate arrangement for the occasion.

Coldplay followed with In My Place. Chris Martin punctuated the end with Status Quo’s Rockin’ All Over The World - the song that opened Live Aid in ’85 - with his right hand on his chest, Make Poverty History whiteband on his wrist.
MPH Volunteer
The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft then made a generous surprise appearance and sang Bittersweet Symphony backed up by the band with Chris Martin on vocals and piano. They ended their set with Fix You, a new song off their latest album, X&Y. Elton John took over next to sing a three-song set later joined in the end by the Babyshambles’ vocalist and frontman Pete Doherty.

Billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates, who has donated close to £3 million for poverty relief, then took to the stage with his own message, “the generosity we are asking for can save millions of lives…we can do this and when we do, it will be the best thing humanity has ever done.” He then introduced Dido, who dueted with one of the most celebrated African artists, Senegalese singer, Youssou N’Dour, performing an angelic and heart warming Thank You and 7 Seconds.
Annie Lennox - "Why"


The next acts that followed were the Stereophonics, a blue-stripe faced Michael Stipe and the rest of R.E.M., Ms. Dynamite, Keane and Travis. All impassioned by the cause, they each asserted the reason for their presence, the gravity of the situation and the substance of our support. So touching were their performances and messages there was hardly a dry eye in the Park.

Breaking yet another promise to not perform, out again came Sir Bob for an impromptu number, his one and ever popular I Don’t Like Mondays. Delivered almost the same way as in Live Aid, there, too, was the classic pregnant pause after “and the lesson today is how to die!” Though everyone was clapping with their hands over their heads singing and dancing along, there was redness everywhere in people’s eyes and noses.
Why does it always rain on him?
It was a total repeat of the effect twenty years ago, although a significant fraction of the audience were not even old enough to remember the day, not even some of the performers.

But for some, like veteran Annie Lennox, Live Aid was a missed opportunity. Having lost her voice, the Eurythmics’ involvement was impossible. Unwilling to pass up her chance this time around, her voice back to its original solid state, she opened with a heart-rending and chilling version of Why and topped it off with a thunderous classic, Sweet Dreams, proving to still be in top form.

Next were UB40, Snoop Dog and Razorlight. Then came another highlight of the day, an unsettling short film from 1984 on the Ethiopian famine. It featured Birhan Woldu, a young girl then moments away from death’s door.
Madonna & famine survivor Birhan Woldu
It was to everyone’s surprise when Sir Bob introduced her to the world once more, now as a beautiful and healthy 24 year-old who had just taken her exams on agricultural studies. As she appeared on stage, more tears flowed everywhere. “See this little girl? She had 10 minutes to live 20 years ago…she is here tonight, this little girl Birhan. Don’t let them tell us it does not work.” Glowing with pride, she exclaimed to the crowd through a translator, her voice filled with excitement, “Hello from Africa, we love you very much. It’s a great honor to be here at Live 8. We love you very much, thank you.”

Second-timer Queen of Pop Madonna then stepped in and held her hand as she set off to sing Like A Prayer. A kiss and a hug with Birhan after was more emotion than the audience could endure as a collective tingling of spines and rising of hairs transpired.
Madonna
She then transformed the mood into a more cheerful one as she launched into Ray Of Light and finished off with Music. Together with her band, back-up singers, dancers and choir singers, they were all clothed in white, the official color of Make Poverty History.

Newcomers Snow Patrol and The Killers played shorter sets. The former doing hits Chocolate and Run, and the latter taking advantage rocking the crowd with their sole number, All These Things That I Have Done. A barefoot Joss Stone stepped up after, followed by the spangly Scissor Sisters. The Velvet Revolver were the only metal heads to hit the stage.

Pop diva Mariah Carey’s stint was eclipsed between Sting’s and Robbie Williams’ performances. Earlier, the ex-Police man repeated his Live Aid repertoire of Message In A Bottle, Driven To Tears and Every Breath You Take to a welcoming audience.
The Killers - "All These Things That I Have Done"
Robbie Williams, after a hiatus from the stage, was introduced by pal David Beckham. He owned the crowd. He entranced them into joining in on all the lyrics of Queen’s We Will Rock You, Let Me Entertain You, Feel, and Angels.

A brilliant though short two-song set from The Who followed with Who Are You and Won’t Get Fooled again. Then, the most anticipated act of the evening - the return of Pink Floyd. It was a historical moment all on its own as Dave Gilmore and Roger Waters had unpredictably reunited after 25 years for Live 8. Breathe, Money, Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb were all carried out like it was only yesterday that they played last.

And finally, Sir Paul McCartney. The supreme ruler of the entire rock arena. He bookended a most spectacular day, and wrapped up with a string of Beatles’ hits.
Reckon they're enjoying?
First off was Get Back. On Drive My Car, he dueted with another surprise performer and Live Aid veteran, George Michael then rocked on to b-side favorite, Helter Skelter before settling down at the piano with The Long and Winding Road, signifying what Sir Bob has now dubbed as The Long Walk To Justice. And for the finale, he was joined by most of the regal line-up for Hey Jude.

Live 8 truly lived up to its label of being the greatest show in the history of the world. As one UK writer put it, “Passion for music came second to compassion for fellow man.” Aside from the 200,000 people that were live witnesses to the Hyde Park phenomenon, 5 billion others watched on TV, according to Britain’s News of the World - another record-breaking 8 out of 10 people tuned-in.
Scissor Sisters
At one point in Hyde Park, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan came out to speak to the crowd saying, “THIS is really the UN. The world has come together in solidarity with the poor. On behalf of the poor, the voiceless and the weak, I say thank you.”

Live 8 also holds the record for holding the biggest internet audience in history where over a million people logged on to www.live8live.com. And not just to catch the best performers strut their stuff on stage, but in support of the Make Poverty History campaign, to put pressure on the leaders of the 8 most powerful nations by simply being there, to live up to their promise to eradicate poverty though debt relief, fair trade and more and better aid.

Such are the problems correlated with poverty.
Sporting the merchandise
Earlier in the day, Bono appealed to the audience, “This is our moment. This is our time…to stand up for what’s right…We can’t eradicate every problem, but the ones we can we must. Three thousand Africans, mostly children, die every day of a mosquito bite.”

And that’s not all. According to the Live 8 program figures, “over a billion people lack access to safe drinking water,” another billion people, or “1 in 6 of the global population, live on less than 65pence ($1) a day. Women’s reproductive health services, which would make childbirth safer, would cost $12 billion a year, the amount Europe and the US currently spend on perfume alone. Basic healthcare and nutrition would cost $13 billion a year. The EU and the US currently spend $17 billion on pet food.
Slash, Velvet Revolver
In 1970, rich nations agreed to spend 0.7% of its income on development aid. Thirty-five years later, the world is still waiting for it to happen. At the current rate of progress, Justin Timberlake will be 184 by the time we’ve stopped the completely unnecessary deaths of under-fives. In 2000, every cow in the EU received $913 in subsidy, while every sub-Saharan African person received $8 in EU aid. Malawi spends more on servicing debt than on healthcare even though 1 in 5 Malawians are HIV positive. Nigeria borrowed $17 billion, has paid $18 billion to date and still owes $34 billion. Every minute, 6 people die of AIDS. Every year, 17 million people die of curable diseases.” And every 3 seconds, a child dies of extreme poverty, hunger and easily preventable diseases.
Velvet Revolver


Where Make Poverty History is the GCAP’s rallying cry for its White Band Campaign in the UK, in the US it is One, and different others in over 60 other countries. Locally it is No More Excuses, Philippines. Initiated by Rock Ed Philippines, it aims for the very same targets, plus those outlined by the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - through youth education via new media - eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child morality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and to develop a global partnership for development.

What Live 8 has accomplished so far is the G8’s doubling of aid to $50 billion.
Stereophonics - "Dakota"
Sounds like an avalanche of generosity, but this will not come easy to those who need it most, as there are heavy terms and conditions attached. It may even pose as yet another problem in itself. But on a higher level, it has opened the eyes of the world to the core of this global problem. It clearly does not end with Live 8. Live 8 is only the beginning, the boldest and loudest cry to the people of the world to join in this movement for justice.

“It is not the kings and generals who make history, but the masses of the people,” says Nelson Mandela. It is entirely up to us to mobilise and act together. Continuously and relentlessly. Only we can make these changes happen. Our leaders are aware of their accountability to the people of the world and they know we’re keeping a close eye on them.
You better believe it
Wear a white band in 2005 to show your support. This is a very important year for this change to start taking place, as are there 3 key dates where issues on poverty will be addressed. The first has already passed at the G8 Summit in Edinburgh. The next will be in September for the UN General Assembly Special Summit. The final event takes place in December for the World Trade Organization 6th Ministerial Conference.

This year may be our last chance to free ourselves, and the millions of others around the world, from poverty in ages to come. At the rate we’re going, it happens only once every 20 years. And through a pop concert, no less. “What a stupid way to run the world,” argues Sir Bob.

So let us take heed in the words of Nelson Mandela, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. Let us be that great generation. Make history in 2005. Then we can all walk with our heads held high.”

Let us all join in on The Long Walk to Justice.

For more information, visit:
www.makepovertyhistory.org
www.whiteband.org
www.live8live.com
www.rockedphilippines.org

sunstroke says:
Astig pre! :D
Posted on: May 28, 2009
lauro says:
ako lang nag smile! ahahaha
Posted on: May 28, 2009
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Marble Arch entrance
Marble Arch entrance
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
U2 - One
U2 - "One"
Live 8 crowd
Live 8 crowd
R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts
R.E.M. - "Everybody Hurts"
Bob Geldof - I Dont Like Mondays
Bob Geldof - "I Don't Like Mondays"
MPH Volunteer
MPH Volunteer
Annie Lennox - Why
Annie Lennox - "Why"
Why does it always rain on him?
Why does it always rain on him?
Madonna & famine survivor Birhan W…
Madonna & famine survivor Birhan …
Madonna
Madonna
The Killers - All These Things Th…
The Killers - "All These Things T…
Reckon theyre enjoying?
Reckon they're enjoying?
Scissor Sisters
Scissor Sisters
Sporting the merchandise
Sporting the merchandise
Slash, Velvet Revolver
Slash, Velvet Revolver
Velvet Revolver
Velvet Revolver
Stereophonics - Dakota
Stereophonics - "Dakota"
You better believe it
You better believe it
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photo by: ulysses