McCartney, U2 Kick Off Massive Live 8 Show

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By Jill Lawless Associated Press Writer

LONDON Jul 2, 2005 - Bono effortlessly worked the crowd. Pink Floyd were sharing a stage for the first time in two decades. And Bill Gates was treated like a rock star. Live 8's long, winding road around the globe Saturday was an eclectic, unprecedented extravaganza.

From Johannesburg to Philadelphia, Berlin to Tokyo, Rome to Moscow, hundreds of thousands gathered for a global music marathon to pressure the world's most powerful leaders to alleviate African poverty at the Group of Eight summit next week.

Organizer Bob Geldof promised to deliver "the greatest concert ever."

Paul McCartney and U2 opened the flagship show of the free 10-concert festival in London's Hyde Park with a rousing performance of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." A thunderous roar erupted from the crowd of about 150,000 as the two iconic rock stars belted out the first line: "It was 20 years ago today..." a nod to the mammoth Live Aid concerts that raised millions for African famine relief in 1985.

Bono, dressed in black and wearing his trademark wraparound shades, wrapped the crowd around his finger, enticing tens of thousands to sing along to the anthemic "One" and "Beautiful Day." The crowd cheered when a flock of white doves was released overhead.

"So this is our moment. This is our time. This is our chance to stand up for what's right," Bono said.

"We're not looking for charity, we're looking for justice. We cannot fix every problem, but the ones we can, we must."

After a brief delay testament to the complexities of the eight-hour London extravaganza Coldplay soothed the crowd with their hit "In My Place."

Geldof appeared onstage to introduce Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Gates, whom the crowd greeted with a rock star's roar.

"We can do this, and when we do it will be the best thing that humanity has ever done," Gates said.

Later in the day, the London crowd was promised Madonna, The Who and the reunited Pink Floyd, giving their first public performance since 1981.

Geldof, who announced the Live 8 gigs just over a month ago, said "thousands of millions" of people were watching on television and the Internet around the world.

"There's nothing more to do now," he said backstage. "It's either crap or it's great. And so far it's great."

The day's first concert kicked off in Japan, where Bjork and Good Charlotte joined local bands for a show that failed to generate much interest in Asia's only G-8 nation. Iceland's Bjork made her first live performance in two years. But the crowd of 10,000 people was only half of what the hall in the Tokyo suburb of Makuhari was capable of holding.

"People are willing to go out of their way, because we believe passionately in what this is about," said Bjork. "Just the acknowledgment of the problem is an important step."

Live 8 then rolled on to Johannesburg, South Africa, where 24-year-old Zambian singer Lindiwe opened before a crowd of about 500 people that was expected to swell to 40,000. Former President Nelson Mandela was expected to address the crowd.

Johannesburg and a concert featuring African artists in southwestern England were organized following criticism that African artists had been left out of the Live 8 concerts, despite the event's aim to raise awareness of the continent's plight.

"Africans are involved in helping Africa, which doesn't happen too often," Cameroonian singer Coco Mbassi said before the England concert. "We're presenting a different image of Africa showing that Africa has good things to give."

German crowd-pleasers Die Toten Hosen kicked off Berlin's show with a string of power anthems while reminding revelers that helping Africa stood above the music.

"This is no rock concert, it's a reminder about next Wednesday," singer Campino told the crowds, referring to next week's G-8 meeting in Scotland.

In an open letter to the G-8 leaders, which appeared in several British newspapers Saturday, Geldof said the summit will disappoint the world if it fails to deliver an extra $25 billion in aid to Africa.

"We will not applaud half-measures, or politics as usual. This must be a historic breakthrough," the letter said. "Today there will be noise and music and joy, the joy of exuberant possibility. On Friday (the end of the summit) there will be great silence as the world awaits your verdict. Do not disappoint us. Do not create a generation of cynics."

London concertgoer Tula Contostavlos, 19, said she was there to see Mariah Carey and to send a political message.

"Obviously some people are here for just music," she said, "but they're forgetting what's important and what they're here for."

On the Net:

http://www.live8live.com

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

4 Comments

how about a set-list from live 8

How much money goes to Bob Geldof'pockets every Live aid concert?
Best
Cristina Cardani

Wow pete, thats an incredibly vain question. Bob Geldof has gotten over 80 million dollars to go to africa just from Live Aid

I asked for the set-list, not the $$ thing--I got no problem with that...

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on July 3, 2005 5:40 AM.

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