Last Saturday's Live 8 event featuring more than seventy well-known pop and rock musicians playing live via a satellite linkup ran quite smoothly
The Pet Shop Boys saved Moscow's Live 8 concert on Vasilyevsky Spusk last Saturday. The group was actually signed up just two weeks prior to the show. The Pet Shop Boys eventually prevented Moscow from falling out of the list of global series of concerts aimed at relieving poverty in Africa. The Live 8 concerts were designed to take place in every Group of Eight nation and in South Africa on the eve of G-8 summit in Scotland. Moscow was the last to join the Live 8 project. Despite the fact that the show on Red Square was set up at short notice, it looked pretty nice and decent. Hundreds of policemen and soldiers around the stage should be disregarded if we want to stick to the description.
The original Live Aid concerts were organized by Bob Geldof, a 1980s rock star, in London and Philadelphia twenty years ago. The concerts proved to be an enormous success and raised around $100 million in relief aid for Africa. Top pop and rock stars like Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and Mick Jagger took part in an event that became a cultural milestone for a generation.
Sir Bob Geldof's new project was not a continuation of the old Live Aid theme. According to him, it is an independent project to mark the next G-8 summit due on July 6th in Scotland. The march of antiglobalists, a final part of Mr. Geldof's project, is also slated for July 6th.
Last Saturday's Live 8 event featuring more than seventy well-known pop and rock musicians playing live via a satellite linkup ran quite smoothly and peacefully as opposed to a regular antiglobalist rally. Everything was filled with decency. The artists asked the audience (estimated television audience ranged from 2 billion to 5 billion people ) to make Africa's poverty history. At the request of Bob Geldof, none of the artists mentioned the name of George W. Bush. Prior to the event, Mr. Gelfdof specifically asked the participants to refrain from criticizing Mr. Bush and his policies. The concerts on all nine stages ran without a hitch.
200,000 people gathered in London to watch the show at the Live 8 stage in Hyde Park. The number of viewers which attended the concert on Vasilyevsky Spusk in Moscow was ten times smaller. Paul McCartney backed by U2 kicked off the London show with St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Elton John played a few numbers including an all-time classic Children of the Revolution by Marc Bolan. Coldplay did a nice rendition of Bitter Sweet Symphony featuring Richard Ashcroft. Other acts included Annie Lennox, Sting, and Madonna. Pink Floyd headlined of the London show. The legendary group re-united for the occasion after almost a 25-year break. The Cure and Shakira played in Paris. Roxy Music and A-ha were the main acts in Berlin. Duran Duran played a few oldies in Rome while Bjork pulled a marvelous show in Tokyo.
Apart from the Pet Shop Boys, a few Russian bands including Moralny Kodeks and Agata Kristi performed at a small stage on Vasilyevsky Spusk in Moscow. According to a spokesperson for the Moscow police, 1,200 policemen and 500 soldiers of the Interior Ministry were guarding the show on Red Square. There were 1,000 policeman maintaining law and order during the show in London attended by 200,000 people.
20,000 peoples turned out to the Moscow concert. The cops looked greater in number anyway. The police cordoned off many blocks before the show so spectators had to move slowly along the narrow side-streets in order to pass through the metal detectors and reach the area overlooking the stage. There was a handful of spectators in front of the stage, though everybody looked good-humored and peaceful.
No African musicians performed in Moscow. They could not be seen on the other Live 8 stages either save for a few African acts in Johannesburg. Madonna brought an African girl to the stage during her gig in London. According to Mr. Geldof, the girl survived thanks to the proceeds from the Live Aid concerts in 1985. The girl did not sing anything. She just smiled.