Early on a Saturday morning is one of my favourite times in New York. There’s a certain calm about the city. A serene side to NY. If New York ever really slept,then this would be the time when the city is just waking up. But it doesn’t ever last long…especially today.
It’s 7-7-07, otherwise known as the day of Live Earth and MTV News is all over it. We couldn’t miss a music event of this scale — especially with its equally important message. Former Vice President Al Gore — the man that used to be “the next President of the United States” — wants to save the environment and combat global warming. But, to do this- he needs you! So, Al Gore decided the best way to save the planet from demise, combat climate change and curb global warming was to throw one mother of a party. 24 hours of music, across 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica), and 150 of the biggest artists from around the world all gathered to raise awareness and help fight climate change- well that was the PR line anyway. And from the very beginning, Al Gore had his doubters. From high profile do-gooders (Sir Bob Geldof, who dismissed the event as nothing more than just an “enormous pop concert”) to artists and critics alike – not everyone was convinced at the effectivness of Al Gore’s plan.
All in all 7-7-07 went smoothly, without so much of a hiccup. Almost 50,000 people came to Giants stadium (reminded me of the stadiums back home in England) for the mammoth event (hopefully by public transport or car pool) and took part in some ritual called “tail-gating” (Can someone please explain to me what the hell tailgating is?). Slowly but surely they all got their beers (served in plastic cups!!!) and sat back to enjoy the show.
All the big guns turned up and put on one hell of a show.
The Smashing Pumpkins were almost as good as they used to be. They blended newer songs like “Tarantula” with the crowd favourite “Today” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.” John Mayer did his thing, as did Kelly Clarkson who had every girl (and some guys) in the crowd singing along to every word. Keith Urban brought out the divine Alicia Keys in a tight fitting pink dress for a version of “Gimme Shelter” proving that she is one of the best female singers in the game right now. Then as if my wish was granted, she returned, one costume change later for strands of “I Love New York” (a cover of the O Jays, I think), “For The Love of Money” and Marvin’s “Mercy Mercy Me.” She even debuted a new track called “That’s The Thing About Love” which went down well with the crowd. She wasn’t the only one who used the concert as an opportunity to debut new material. Kanye killed it with a stand-out performance- debuting new tracks ’Can’t Tell me Nothing’ and ’Stronger’ to raptous applause. And then at the end of the night, he took it home with a surprise appearance and freestyle alongside The Police and John Mayer for the big finale of “Message in a Bottle” (“Sending out an SOS” – tag line for Live Earth…very clever). And speaking of stand-out performances…The re-united Police closed out the evening with their first performance in NY in 21 years. They gave the crowd exactly what they wanted. From “Roxanne” to “Can’t Stand Losing You” — it was well worth the wait. But it was New Jersey’s sons Bon Jovi who got the biggest crowd reaction of the night as they played a monster set at their hometown stadium. Before the stunning Cameron Diaz and the portly Al Gore had even said the “B” in Bon- the crowd were at fever pitch. The noise was incredible. As if there was an earthquake, the stadium literally shook as the 50,000 strong crowd — including everyone from the security guards to the hot dog vendors- all sang (screamed) along at the top of their lungs, pumping their fists to their 5-track set that included “Dead or Alive,” “It’s My Life” and “Living on a Prayer.” 50,000 people can’t be wrong. Bon Jovi rock! (Did I just say that?). Not to mention, Dave Matthews Band, Scotland’s own KT Tunstall and Roger Waters and the song that is welcome at any open air concert, of course, “Another Brick in the Wall!”
So all in all, Project Live Earth appears to have been a massive success, right?
There were conspiracy theorists and critics working overtime — not just in the run up to the big event but on the actual day as well. For the first half of the concert a plane flew circles around the stadium for hours (until, I assume, they ran out of bio-diesel) with a selection of banners that read along the lines of “Don’t believe Al Gore.” And now, in the moments after Live Earth, people will be quick to judge the effectivness or even the point of Al Gore’s Live Earth movement. Some will say that Live Earth changed them forever and that they now live far more carbon-friendly and happier lives. And others will say that it was just another big concert with some good bands and plenty of beer.
Me. I got the message. I will do my part and be more carbon friendly. I’ll turn off lights, recycle where possible, plant a tree and drive a hybrid. A hybrid Hummer.