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LIVE 8 to Span Globe With Nine Different Concerts

Musicians promote aid to Africa. Newer acts appearing with legendary stars in aid awareness event

Posted: July 2, 2005 Related item: President Bush Discusses G8 Summit, Progress in Africa  

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)
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.

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 born yet.

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 Ladies.

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.”

Michael O'Toole
Washington File Staff Writer



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