Who would drive a Hummer to Live Earth?
The TV coverage of the Live Earth concerts is missing out on the message behind the whole idea -- quite literally. There are scrolling messages behind the bands in London containing what appear to be tips for helping battle global warming. But viewers on TV see maybe half the sentence before coverage cuts away to show a sweating drummer or dazed concert-goer in the stands.
I'm still waiting for one of the messages to say, "Will the fellow who drove the Hummer to the show, please go to Gate 4. We'd like to beat you to death."
Musicians have taken to the stage today as the series of Live Earth concerts around the world begin -- and end. Click here to follow the action on official Live Earth blogs around the world. Or click here to see the broadcast schedule for the day.
Action is now underway in Washington, New Jersey and Brazil. The Live Earth show in Sydney, Australia, has already wrapped up. (They're a day ahead, remember.) Crowded House closed the show in front of tens of thousands of fans. Click here to read coverage and see photos from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Here are some reports on how things are going. I'll update these section throughout the day:
- Why would Madonna try to play guitar during her set, which closed the London show? Please tell me it wasn't plugged in. (Isn't her cheesy '90s choreography and faux-singing enough?)
- Melissa Etheridge had a multi-platinum album in the '80s, so she's one of us. And she's knocking them dead at Giants Stadium -- with a political song.
- Spinal Tap rocked Wembley with "Stonehedge," complete with midget-sized version of the Stonehedge structure. For this song "Big Bottom," the bass players of many of the bands in attendance (Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, David Grey, Block Party) came on stage to perform.
- Duran Duran has played their set in London -- their second show at Wembley in a week. They performed last Saturday for the "Concert for Diana."
- The show at Giants Stadium in New Jersey is finally underway. Performers are playing on a stage built of recycled tires. At this point, the tires outnumber the fans in attendance. Maybe I'll eventually recognize some of the bands too. I can dream.
- Why is Metallica playing the London show? Wouldn't they get a more appreciative audience if they played Jersey instead?
- I found the full lineup for the London show on The Times of London website. (Click here to see it.) Some 80s acts still to come: Metallica, Beastie Boys, Spinal Tap and Madonna.
- Early reports say the Sydney show suffered from long lines and bad sound at times.
- In London, Genesis was the opening act. How long has it been since that happened? Their version of "Invisible Touch" was a little less punchier than I remembered. The guitar sounds a little softer, and though Phil Collin's voice sounds great, he seems to be holding back a little and occasionally changes a word or two. The floor of Wembley Stadium looks full but there are a lot of empty seats in the stands.
Click here to see the latest photos from around the world, courtesy of the Associated Press.
Former Vice President and Live Earth co-organizer Al Gore appeared via satellite before the Sydney show. Gore is attending the Washington, D.C., show today -- a surprise concert organized at the last minute. (And if you doubt that, just listen in -- they need to fire their sound guy.)
Live Earth may not be a definitive '80s event, but remember this: Without the "USA for Africa" and "Live Aid" concerts in the mid-80s, who knows if anyone would have tried using global rock music concerts to raise public awareness to important issues.
To learn some tips on battling global warming, click here. Want to really have some fun and help at the same time? Bid on the "Dinner With Spinal Tap" package on eBay. The winning bidder gets a private dinner with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, along with director Rob Reiner, in Los Angeles. The auction ends July 9 and the current bid tops $5,000.