7/06/2005

so I went to Live 8 on Saturday in Philly with my roommate Adam. It was mostly enjoyable, although traffic was really bad getting up there so we missed some people. Pretty much everybody was good, even the bands I don't like, like Maroon 5 and Dave Matthews, who I must admit are good performers. We got pretty close, to where we could see the stage, but mostly watched the jumbotrons since the performers were just specks on stage where we were.

Most bands played 2 or 3 songs, though some played more, I guess if they were getting broadcast to other places or on TV. I know Dave Matthews (who everyone called Dave, "oh, what is Dave going to play next?" which annoys me) played a bunch, maybe 5 or 6. Alicia Keys only played one song I think, but that's fine by me, I could do without. And as I thought, part of Jay-Z's set got ruined by Linkin Park, with that doofus lead singer rapping half of Jay-Z's songs, and the band playing their shitty rock instead of Jay-Z's good beats. We missed the Kaiser Chiefs and Ludacris (although I haven't been able to find anything that said Ludacris actually played), which sucks, and also sucks because they weren't on the schedule I got from www.live8.us. If they had been on there, we might have tried to get there earlier. Then again, my roommate and I are lazy dudes, me especially. And we missed Bon Jovi and Destiny's Child, but oh well, no big loss there. I read the Black Eyed Peas did a Bob Marley song with Marley's widow Rita, which would have been cool, but we missed that one too.

Kanye West was on when we walked in, and he played "Jesus Walks," which was cool. Apparently he said something about AIDS being created to kill Africans and the CIA brought in crack to destroy the Black Panther party, but I didn't hear any of that. I mean, I've heard that before, but I think it's pretty dumb to say at a big concert like this.

They also beamed in a few performances from other cities, like Madonna, REM, Coldplay, and U2. I especially liked the REM one, "Everybody Hurts," even if Michael Stipe was wearing some kind of weird Boy George makeup. The song was a good tie-in with the theme of the show though, which most bands didn't seem to do. And I could have gone for more indie rock, but oh well.

Most of the performers did mention some things about poverty and the G8, which was good, and there were videos between the sets about it, some of which were pretty moving. There were also various stars, Chris Tucker, Richard Gere (who made a good little speech), Don Cheadle, Jennifer Connelly, Natalie Portman and Jimmy Smits, who'd come on stage and talk about world poverty. I don't know if the concert really accomplished much, but I suppose it couldn't have hurt. Some people were bound to know more about it after the show, though I don't know if they'll do anything about it.

The show itself was pretty well organized, though they definitely could have used more trash cans, there was garbage everywhere. There were tents with free water, which was good, and some food stands around, though I mostly avoided them. I did but a $5 fruit smoothie, which was ok, but a little small. There were lots of port-a-johns, which was good, and they had jumbotrons around so everybody could see and hear the show. And there were also a lot of "entrepreneurs" with obviously ironed-on shirts and CD-Rs and things of the bands. But hey, can't fault them for trying. And there weren't too many activists once we got far into the show, which was too bad. At the outskirts there were lots of folks from the ONE group and various other anti-poverty groups signing people up and handing out literature about the G8 and so on. But thankfully I didn't see too many off-topic groups, besides the ever-present Larouche nuts. We parked in Chinatown and avoided the crowds that way. And after the show we ate at the Sang Kee Duck House in Chinatown, which is cheap and good. My other friend Adam recommended it. There were lots of other Live 8 attendees there, including these annoying Southern girls with a really loud-talking dude. They had a funny exchange:

Southern girl 1: "I'm a morning person, I get out of bed as soon as the sun is up!"
Girl 2: "I'm a night person, I stay up late."
Girl 3: "I'm an all day person."
Then they talked about something else.

I guess that means she is awake sometime during the day. Pretty dumb.

Here's everyone I did see, in rough order

Kanye West - pretty good
Will Smith - fun, did "Fresh Prince" theme song, "Summertime," but no "Parents Just Don't Understand"
Dave Matthews - he was ok
Keith Urban - eh
Alicia Keys - short, nothing special
Sarah MacLachlan - didn't recognize her songs, but pretty good
Josh Groban - played with Sarah Maclachlan, see her comments
Def Leppard - pretty good. They played a good cover of Badfinger's "No Matter What", which I enjoyed, and "Pour Some Sugar On Me"
Jay-Z - good, until Linkin Park came on. He did lots of good ones, "Big Pimpin," "99 Problems," etc
Linkin Park - don't like them, and I wish they weren't with Jay-Z, but they were good performers
Maroon 5 - also pretty good performers. The lead singer would yell "yeah!" but his voice was so high that it sounded like a squeaky 5 year old or a yappy little dog. It was ridiculous. But they played "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World," which sounded good and fit the mood too
Toby Keith - eh. didn't play the "America is gonna kick your ass" song, or whatever, so that was nice
Rob Thomas - actually pretty good
Stevie Wonder - very good, played "Superstition," "Higher Ground," etc. I didn't know the funky bits were played on a keyboard and not a guitar or bass. I guess it makes sense though, since he's a keyboard player. Rob Thomas and Adam Levine from Maroon 5 joined him on stage for songs, which was surprisingly not annoying. They're both pretty good singers and did the songs justice.

There's more photos here, here, news and photos from the Philadelphia Inquirer here, and some news from MTV with more photos here

I'll post some of my own photos whenever the Blogger Images thing starts working.

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