music / Columns

Double Impact 07.01.05: The Live 8 Primer

July 1, 2005 | Posted by Michael Melchor

Before we get started, I want to thank you for taking the time out to click this link and read about tomorrow’s history-making endeavor by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, who did something similar to this once before 20 years ago with great success.

Okay, so why am I doing this? What’s my stake in doing all this research for a concert going on tomorrow that you may or may not care about more than the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race, much less anything else?

Well, for all that, you can read my thoughts on the original Live Aid here, here, or here. After reading me gush over the original show on three separate, feel free to draw your own conclusions. Hopefully you’re not dumb enough to still wonder why, after all of that, would I still be excited about this show.

Otherwise, I’ll be honest. I’d planned on one last post in the News Section about the show containing all of the details on who’s playing and where/how/when you can see it. As I was putting it together, I figured, “Fuck it – why not make this a column in and of itself? It’s gonna be about that big anyway…”

Hence, here we are – and what better way to start than with:

Exactly What IS Live 8?

Now, I’m not about to sit here and recant the entire history of Africa’s poverty. I’m not even going as far as to discuss Band Aid (“Don’t They Know It’s Christmastime?”) or USA For Africa (“We Are The World”). But, to cover the event itself, I’ll do this “crib notes” style, going back to the original show…

Live Aid was a concert conceived by Bob Geldof (frontman for UK group The Boomtown Rats and star of the film Pink Floyd The Wall, among other things) with the goal being to raise money for the impoverished and starving on the continent of Africa. The show – held on July 13, 1985 (almost 20 years to the day from tomorrow’s Live 8) – was an event featuring two different concerts in two different countries. Wembley Stadium in London, England and RFK Stadium in Philadelphia, PA (US) were the sites that held roughly 60 acts.

The concert went on to become a cultural milestone that featured the reunions of surviving members of The Who and Led Zeppelin as well as all of Black Sabbath as well as stellar performances that revived the careers of some (Queen) and outright made others (U2, Madonna). In the end, the show raised $100 Million to feed the impoverished in Africa…

But it wasn’t enough.

What’s The Point?

This is the most common question I hear about the show. The mainstream audience seems to be somewhat excited about the show and who’s involved, but are utterly confused about what the hell it’s all for.

To help out some, let’s go to Sir Geldof himself:

This is not Live Aid 2.

These concerts are the start point for The Long Walk To Justice, the one way we can all make our voices heard in unison.

This is without doubt a moment in history where ordinary people can grasp the chance to achieve something truly monumental and demand from the 8 world leaders at G8 an end to poverty.
The G8 leaders have it within their power to alter history. They will only have the will to do so if tens of thousands of people show them that enough is enough.

By doubling aid, fully canceling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa, the G8 could change the future for millions of men, women and children.

For the layman, then: the purpose of Live 8 is to send a message to the leaders of the G8 summit to change policies in place as it pertains to Africa so that continent has a fair chance to escape from destitution.

But, what the hell is G8? Who’s all involved in that? And what difference would it make to get the message to them?

Jesus, you’re a tough bunch…

G8 And The World Leaders’ Role

Again, we go to the official Live 8 website:

The G8 brings together the leaders of the worlds most powerful countries – the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia. This year they meet from 6th – 9th July in Gleneagles with Britain’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair hosting the summit.

For the specifics of what the world leaders can do at G8, everything between now and the next bold AND underlined header comes from the official site:

Trade Justice – What Needs To Be Done?

It’s simple really, change the rules. Now.

It’s an obvious solution – challenge and change the rules so they work for poor countries. Re-write them so poor countries can develop, build their own industries, grow stronger, and one day compete as equals. Rich countries used trade rules to protect themselves as they developed – which is how they got where they are now. Now we need to use trade rules to end world poverty as we know it.

Debt – What Needs To Be Done?

Two weeks ago 280 million Africans woke up for the first time in their lives without owing you or me a penny from the burden of debt that has crippled them and their countries for so long. The deal struck by G7 Finance Ministers was a victory for the millions of people in the campaigns around the world.

But the deal affects, immediately, only 18 countries. There are twice that number in need of help, including Nigeria. And though debt cancellation should be directed in ways that reduce poverty and improve governance it must not come with arduous economic strings attached.

Aid – What Needs To Be Done?

But it’s vital that this Aid focuses better on poor people’s needs. This means more aid being spent on areas such as basic health care and education. Aid should support poor countries’ and communities’ own plans and paths out of poverty

We Know It Works

Smallpox was wiped out by just over US$100m worth of targeted aid. Polio is also close to being eliminated.

Mozambique’s economy grew at an astonishing 12 per cent in the 1990s when aid constituted 50 per cent of its income.

In Tanzania, debt relief enabled the government to abolish primary school fees, leading to a whopping 66 per cent increase in attendance. As a result, 1.6million more children now attend school.

Debt relief helped kick-start Mozambique’s impressive recovery from civil war and terrible floods and enabled its government to vaccinate 500,000 additional children.


Okay, But What Can I Do?

Well, there’s one of two things…

If you’re going to be in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 6, you can be a part of The Long Walk To Justice.

If you’re NOT going to be there at that time, you can always sign the Live 8 petition and let the G8 leaders know that the whole world means business.

Feel free to visit the accompanying links above to learn more about those activities.

Okay, so now you know the particulars about what’s going on and why. Here we are 4 MS Word pages into this, and I hear plenty of you asking about the important part of Live 8…the concerts!

Fine, you heartless bastards. Here’s your info YOU wanted…

Live 8 – The Concerts

Obviously, all of the shows take place TOMORROW. If anyone should know anything about this event by now, it’s the date. Most of the locations are also known, but it‘s still confusing as shit as to who’s playing where…

Never fear! I’ll remedy that for you right now!

In exchange, you get to put up with random commentary by location as we go.

Mighty white of me, I know…


UK – Hyde Park, London

Annie Lennox
Bob Geldof
Elton John
Joss Stone
The Killers
Mariah Carey
Ms. Dynamite
Paul McCartney
Pink Floyd
Robbie Williams
Scissor Sisters
Snoop Dogg
Snow Patrol
Velvet Revolver

· This is probably the most loaded show of the entire event and is being promoted as one of the two MAIN shows of the event. This may be based on location as much as lineup, but that’s immaterial at this point.

This lineup is still the best in terms of quality, in my view. Philly has a lot of big names (see below), but London has its share of big names and up-and-coming favorites. Not only that, but this lineup contains a FUCKING REUNITED PINK FLOYD!!

Need I say more?

France – Palais de Versailles, Paris

Andrea Bocelli with the Philarmonie der Nationen
Amel Bent
Axelle Red
Cerrone / Nile Rogers
Craig David
The Cure
David Hallyday
Disiz La Peste
Florent Pagny
Kool Shen
Louis Bertignac
Matt Copora
Sheryl Crow
Tina Arena
Yannick Noah
Youssou N’Dour

· An overlooked lineup, to be sure. Any fan of lush alterna-goth is in heaven here – Placebo, The Cure, Muse, and Dido are all present here. Kinda makes me wish Shakira and (ESPECIALLY) Sheryl Crow would have found another venue.

Germany – Siegessдule, Berlin

Brian Wilson
Chris de Burgh
Crosby Stills & Nash
Die Toten Hosen
Green Day
Herbert Groenemeyer
Joana Zimmer
Juan Diego Florez
Katherine Jenkins
Renee Olstead
Roxy Music
Soehne Mannheims
Wir Sind Helden

· Ah, yes – the Rock bill. Audioslave, Brian Wilson, and Green Day should rock the house, and the support from old-schoolers such as Die Toten Hosen, Roxy Music (with Bryan Ferry, maybe? Please?) and A-ha should help this one quite a bit.

Italy – Circus Maximus, Rome

Antonello Venditti
Articolo 31
Biagio Antonacci
Claudio Baglioni
Duran Duran
Faith Hill
Francesco De Gregori
Gemelli Diversi
Irene Grandi
Laura Pausini
Le Vibrazioni
Luciano Ligabue
Max Pezzali
Piero Pelu
Pino Daniele
Renato Zero
Tim McGraw

· Wow…the original members of Duran Duran (who also played Live Aid…what kind of full-circle karma is THAT?) take on Faith Hill and Tim McGraw in a handicap match while some of Europe’s finest (for all I know since I don’t recognize any other names) sell merch and popcorn.

USA – Museum of Art, Philadelphia


Will Smith
Salma Hayek
Natalie Portman
Chris Tucker
Jennifer Connolly
Jimmy Smits


Alicia Keys
Black Eyed Peas
Bon Jovi
Dave Matthews Band
Def Leppard
Destiny’s Child
Josh Groban
Kaiser Chiefs
Keith Urban
Linkin Park
Maroon 5
P Diddy
Rob Thomas
Sarah McLachlan
Stevie Wonder
Toby Keith

· The other “main venue” of the show. Well, Philly and London were the places where “Live Aid” was held…

Aside from that, though, THIS will be the one American audiences care most about. Not so much for location, but because Philly has most of the US favorites on the bill. The list above reads like a who’s-who of the American Billboard Charts for at least the last 5 years.

That having been said, London still wins for me – although I’ll be looking forward to several people here (Alicia Keys, Def Leppard, Linkin Park, Sarah McLachlan and Rob Thomas, among them). This should be a fun show, whereas Hyde Park will be the emotional one.

Canada – Park Place, Barrie

African Guitar Summit
Barenaked Ladies
Blue Rodeo
Bruce Cockburn
Bryan Adams
The Bachman Cummings Band
Deep Purple
DobaCaracol featuring Kna’an
Gordon Lightfoot
Great Big Sea
Jann Arden
Les Trois Accords
Motley Crue
Our Lady Peace
Sam Roberts
Simple Plan
Tegan & Sara
The Tragically Hip
Tom Cochrane

· Tayo is rather disappointed with Canada’s Live 8 representation. With Motley Crue on the bill, I can understand why – although Run-DMC makes for a nice counter-balance to that.

Japan – Makuhari Messe, Tokyo

Def Tech
Dreams Come True
Good Charlotte

· Between Bjork’s avant-garde noises and Good Charlotte’s unintelligible noise, Japan will hopefully cheer on the former and boo the latter off the stage – although I get the feeling it’ll be the other way around.

South Africa – Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg

4Peace Ensemble
Jabu Khanyile and Bayete
Lucky Dube
Mahotella Queens
Orchestre Baobab
Oumou Sengare
Vusi Mahlasela

· World Music Fans (and Peter Gabriel), this is YOUR show. I’ve never heard a lot of this genre, so I hope I get to catch some of this one tomorrow – although the Africa Calling show in Cornwall seems to be a better representation of that. I’ve at least heard of Youssou N’Dour, Thomas Mapfumo and Blacks Unlimited…

The Russian Federation – Red Square, Moscow

(Breaking news courtesy of

Pet Shop Boys
Agatha Christie
Moral Code X
Red Elvises
Aliona Sviridova

· Hurrm. This almost looks like an afterthought. Having a show in Russia just to have one. That having been said, I hope someone picks up the Pet Shop Boys performance. Lord knows they’re looking and sounding as good as they ever did (unlike Erasure, unfortunately).

Where, How, And When Can I See This Piece?

(Most of the info here comes courtesy of Mercury News. Took a little bit of digging to find, but…anything for you, toots.)

Okay, this will be done in three sections according to the means of hearing/seeing the show:


To be quite honest, AOL Music is probably the best place to see it (if you have the means and ways of doing so). Why? Because they’re going to show several of the shows live simultaneously tomorrow, and THEN keep the feeds on the site for 30 days on an “on-demand” basis.

Before you ask the obvious questions, no, you don’t have to be a subscriber or even sign up for the service to see it this way. They may be a corporate bureaucracy, but they have a heart sometimes, too.


Ah, this would be the preferred method of viewing for many of us (especially those that plan on taping Pink Floyd’s performance to have and to hold until the DVD comes out in November). Your broadcast options are:

· MTV, VH1 and mtvU – these three networks will be simulcasting eight hours of coverage. That starts at 9 am and runs up to 5 pm.

· Three hours later, ABC will be showing a two hour special featuring highlights of the day. That is set to start at 8 pm.

Of course, you could also take your chances hearing the entire thing on the


XM Satellite Radio will be offering several versions of Live 8 coverage. What the satellite radio firm plans on doing is grouping performances by genre.

For you FM listeners (are there any of those left?), Premiere Radio Network will broadcast straight through from 9 am to 9 pm ET/PT. However, they’ve also stated that they will continue broadcasting until all performances are finished.

The bad news in both cases? You’re going to have to check local/station program listings as I was unable to find any sort of schedule for any of the radio portions. Let me know if you find anything, particularly in the Orlando, FL area.

If All Else Fails…

…then you get to settle for highlights until November, when the DVD will be out. Of course, if you’re sharp, you already caught that earlier.

The Wrap Up

Well, there you have it. Everything you need to know to enjoy tomorrow’s spectacle. I know damned sure I will; after seeing how grand Live Aid came off, I can’t WAIT to see what Geldof has up his sleeve THIS time.

Again, do the participants a favor and visit the appropriate links to help out. No money is being asked for, so you don’t have to spend a thing (you cheap bastard). Just sign a petition or 2 and see if our World Leaders actually have any brains among them.

Thanks again and enjoy the show.


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Michael Melchor
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