Washington -- It’s being billed
by its organizer as the “greatest political lobby ever
formed.” LIVE 8, a star-studded, globe-spanning concert
event, is expected to attract millions to concerts July 2
in Group of Eight (G8) countries Canada, France, Italy, Germany,
Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States as
well as South Africa. As many as 1 billion more are expected
to tune in via television, radio and the Internet.
Singer Sarah McLachlan practices for the upcoming LIVE 8 concert in Philadelphia, Friday, July 1. LIVE 8 concerts will take place Saturday, July 2, in Philadelphia, London, Moscow, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, Toronto, Paris and Johannesburg. About 150 musical acts are participating in the event aimed at drawing the world's attention to the need for more aid for Africa. (ŠAP/WWP)
LIVE 8 is the successor to Live Aid -- a
1985 concert event also conceived by Bob Geldof, onetime
Irish punk-rock musician turned political activist and Nobel
Laureate, as a benefit for African famine victims. LIVE
8’s mission is not fundraising, however, but awareness:
according to its Web site, the event is meant to “[Call]
on the leaders of the world’s richest countries to
act" when they meet in Gleneagles, Scotland, July 6-8
for the annual G8 summit.
Event organizers have said that they hope
to raise global awareness of poverty in Africa and thus
influence G8 leaders to move decisively on debt relief and
effective aid programs for the world’s poorest people.
Development in Africa is expected to top
the agenda at the G8 summit. President Bush reaffirmed the
United States’ commitment to Africa and U.S. support
for political and economic reform on the continent in a
June 30 speech in Washington. Saying that the United States
has tripled overseas development aid to Africa during his
presidency, Bush proposed "to double aid to Africa
once again" between 2004 and 2010, "with a primary
focus on helping reforming countries."
Speaking at the White House July 1, Press
Secretary Scott McClellan said, "I think any effort
that draws attention to helping the people of Africa can
only be helpful. We appreciated some of the comments from
people like Bono who's been very involved. ... [I]t was
very complimentary of the initiatives that we're undertaking
in Africa and the president's efforts."
As for Bono, the Irish rock star who has
been equally renowned the past several years for his part
in seeking aid to underdeveloped nations, he will return
to his more traditional role as lead singer with U2 at the
London show -- a feat he also performed at the original
Live Aid event.
The nine simultaneous shows this weekend
-- in London, Philadelphia, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Tokyo,
Ontario, Johannesburg and Moscow -- will also showcase other
Live Aid alumni as Madonna, Sting, Paul McCartney, Elton
John, Mick Jagger and David Bowie. But the lineup also includes
many that have grown up since then, or -- in the case of
18-year old Scottish pop star Joss Stone -- were not even
LIVE 8 Japan will be the first concert to
take place on July 2 and will start at 1400 hours local
time, or 0300 GMT. Icelandic singer Bjork, U.S. band Good
Charlotte and U.K. pop group McFly are on the bill for the
event, to take place at the 20,000-capacity Makuhari Messe.
The event moves on at 1200 hours GMT to
Johannesburg, where Luky Dube, Mahotella Queens and the
4Peace Ensemble are slated to perform. At 1400 hours in
Moscow, the Pet Shop Boys will take the stage, among others.
The showcase in London kicks off at 1500
GMT with veteran acts like the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd
sharing the stage with such contemporary stars as Joss Stone,
Dido and Coldplay. The Berlin show also commences at 1500,
where pop legends Brian Wilson (whose band the Beach Boys
performed in 1985) and Crosby, Stills and Nash appear with
contemporary rockers Green Day and Audioslave, as does the
show in Rome with Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Duran Duran.
The Palais de Versailles near Paris is the
venue that gets under way at 1600 hours, where classical
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Latin pop superstar Shakira,
and the great Sudanese singer Youssou N’Dour are billed
with Godfather of Soul James Brown.
In Barrie, Ontario, at 1700 hours, Brian
Adams, another veteran of the original Live Aid, will appear
with fellow Canadians Celine Dion, Neil Young and Barenaked
At 1800 GMT, the Philadelphia show begins
with hip-hop performers Destiny’s Child, Jay-Z and
the Black Eyed Peas on the same billing as country star
Toby Keith, classic rockers Bon Jovi and Def Leopard, along
with the newer Linkin Park and rhythm and blues star Alicia
Keys as well as the legendary Stevie Wonder.
The organizers are calling for the worldwide
audience to sign a petition of support and/or download their
photographs onto the LIVE 8 Web site. “Every name
on the LIVE 8 list -- and every photo sent to live8live.com
-- will be taken … directly to Gleneagles on the eve
of the most important summit in the fight against poverty,"
the Web site says.
The LIVE 8 organizers predict that the event
“is on course to attract: The largest ever TV audience;
the busiest website in the world; the largest ever online
petition … the largest ever text petition; the largest
ever response to a TV show.”
Washington File Staff Writer