Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live 8 - "it was ****ing excellent!"

Linkin Park - Live from Philadelphia on AOL webcast

Sir Bob's jamboree went well with hundreds of thousands taking part in a number of free concerts all over the globe. The Live 8 events, organized by Sir Bob Geldof and many, many others, set out to bring the plight of Africa to the attention of the G8 leaders. The concerts started with a hastily organized event in Tokyo, Japan at around 02:00 GMT, at which a number of unknown Japanese bands appeared. Bjork, the Icelandic singer, also performed. The live broadcasts of events did not start until 13:00 GMT [14:00 London/UK] when proceedings got underway in Hyde Park. The Paris concert started around two hours later and soon after bands started playing in Rome, Berlin and Moscow. Smaller events also took place in Johannesburg, South Africa and at the Eden Project in Cornwall in the UK. Most African or black artists were confined to these two stages, though Jay-Z performed alongside Linkin Park in Philadelphia, USA, and Will Smith started off proceedings with a live link up with most of the other counties involved. Snoop Dogg appeared on the UK stage but has already brought about controversy with his multiple use of the word 'motherf*****' during his performance. Madonna was also criticized for her holler to the crowd, "Are you f***ing ready, London?" She could then be heard saying, after a short pause when the band didn't immediately start up, "come on, oh, sorry". The BBC received 350 complaints, and responded by saying, "We do apologize," but since it was "a live event there isn't much we can do."
Green Day and a number of artists in Toronto coloured the air blue but their performances went almost unnoticed by the main BBC coverage. The 'interactive' content on BBC Multiscreen was quite comprehensive. The choice of other concerts included Berlin, Philadelphia and the Eden Project, as well as the normal BBC output. A fifth choice rotated from other performances around the world but mostly stayed with Toronto, Canada. Paris was occasionally aired but no sign of it when it mattered. Shakira came and went without a mention. As did nearly the entire concerts in Rome, Moscow and Johannesburg, none of which were covered by AOL’s online video stream. The choice of streams were also dependent upon the country site which was accessed. The French URL provided the best streams in terms of quality and choice.
The event overall could not be criticised. It was immense. And probably the largest Live televisual event for a very long time. And for such a technical challenge to come together as it did, was a miracle in itself. As for whether minds at the G8 will be turned by this large symbolic, musical and political event, one can only guess. Many are cynical, but just as many are hopeful and optimistic. Still, it was a good party, just a shame all the trains had stopped running by the time the concert ended. This left many stuck with long walks, expensive taxi rides, or night buses. Others were more canny. One listener to LBC, a London radio station, had the foresight to bring a camper van with her. It was an “excellent day” she exclaimed in a hoarse voice, brought about through all the singing. She then described the very crowded streets near to Hyde Park but that she was now tucked down a side street off Park Lane.
There will be more protests in the next few days leading up to the G8 summit on Wednesday.
[19:20 GMT 03/07/2005]

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