Live 8 the concerts

This is Live 8, the greatest rock show in the history of the world. opening of Live 8, Hyde Park

Thanks for coming, it would have been crap if no one had showed up. Bob Geldof, Live 8, Hyde Park

Are you fucking ready London? Madonna, Live 8, Hyde Park

This is truly the United Nations, the whole world has come together in solidarity with the poor of the world. On behalf of the poor and the voiceless and the weak, I come to say thank you. Kofi Annan, Live 8, Hyde Park

I am pleased to be here today to support Africa Standing Tall Against Poverty. Nelson Mandela, Live 8, Johannesburg

Overcoming poverty is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice. Nelson Mandela, Live 8, Johannesburg

50,000 people are dying in Africa every day. If that was London or New York, we sure as hell would be doing something about it. Paul McCartney, Live 8, Hyde Park

Are you ready for a revolution? Are you ready to change history? Madonna, Live 8, Hyde Park

The series of Live 8 concerts kicked off in Tokyo, followed by Johannesburg.

London, Hyde Park started at 2pm, British Summer Time. Introduced as the world's biggest rock concert in history.

Paul McCartney kicked off Live 8 in London with 'It's been twenty years ago today' from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, backed by U2, before a crowd of 150,000, people were still arriving.

200,000 people in Hyde Park watching the greatest rock show on earth. The lucky recipients of a text lottery.

For many people it took them about 2 hours of patient waiting to get in as the concert was starting. For those who were first in, it was helter-skelter to get best position in front of the stage.

Hyde Park was the focus of a series of Live 8 concerts held around the world to raise awareness of the issue of extreme poverty, to apply pressure on the G8 who were meeting in a few days time.

When Paul McCartney and Bono and then U2 walked on the stage, the crowd went wild.

U2 following the opening backing Paul McCartney gave an excellent performance on their own. Part way through the U2 performance, Bono addressed the crowd on the number of people dying every day in Africa.

Every day 50,000 people are dying in Africa. Dying unnecessarily from preventable causes, from Aids, from malaria, from lack of clean drinking water.

Before Live 8, many people were critical, what can a few musicians do to save the world? Bono answered that criticism, as did Bob Geldof in an interview before the concert started, as did many of the acts.

Worldwide, an estimated 4 billion people, or was it 5 billion, or maybe more, got the message, people are dying, they don't have to die, and we expect the G8 to deliver.

And woe to the G8 leaders if they do not listen, fail to deliver.

U2, after their performance and a quick word back stage, were whisked away in a helicopter, as were many other acts, as like U2, they had performances elsewhere.

Helicopters? Aren't they fuel hungry. Yes they are, but I think for once, the ends justified the means.

In fact, so many people were flying in and out with helicopters, that Hyde Park had its own air traffic control.

Dido introduced her musician friend Youssou N'Dour from Senegal. Together they gave an excellent rendition of 'Seven seconds'. Both then left to perform at the Eden Project in Cornwall, then the Palais De Versailles, Paris.

REM gave an excellent rendition of 'Everybody hurts'.

An excellent rendition of 'Why does it always rain on me' by Travis to which the crowd went wild

Travis were followed by Bob Geldof who said he could not resist playing on this stage and gave an impromptu performance of the Boomtown Rats classic 'I don't like Mondays'. Again the crowd went wild.

An absolutely stunning performance by Madonna, showing she has lost none of her sparkle and still wears the crown of Queen of Pop. The crowd went wild for Madonna.

Coming back stage, Madonna could not remember a thing about her performance, she was high on adrenalin. She said this was the largest crowd she had ever appeared before. She had interrupted a recording session to be at Hyde Park.

Madonna was introduced by Bob Geldof and Birhan Woldu.

Birhan Woldu, was the little Ethiopian girl, who twenty years ago was a a little bundle of flesh and bones. The little girl who twenty years ago stirred the conscience of the world.

Madonna was not originally going to appear, but Geldof talked her around, and you don't say no to Bob.

Two classics from Sting, absolutely brilliant performance. Sting changed the words of 'Every breath you take', especially for the occasion.

Robbie Williams, was, well, Robbie Williams another excellent performance. The crowd were ecstatic.

The Who were brilliant, as were Pink Floyd.

Paul McCartney opened Live 8, and he was the final act, with a series of classic Beatles numbers, ending with 'The Long and Winding Road,' an appropriate number symbolising the Long March to Justice which will end with a million people on the streets of Edinburgh for the G8 Summit.

The grand finale was Paul McCartney leading an ensemble leading the crowd in 'Hey Jude'.

Live 8 was due to finish some time after 9pm. It finished as the clocks were striking midnight.

For those who stayed to the end, which was almost everyone, there was no hope of getting home by public transport, but who cared when you'd just been to the greatest rock concert on earth.

Ten hours of music, ten hours in which ..... people died. As Will Smith said in Philadelphia, one person every three seconds.

All over the country, big screens in town centres and parks.

Ten concerts in nine countries, spread across 19 hours.

Tens of thousands of people attended the Live 8 concert in Paris, 100,000 the concert in Berlin, tens of thousands at the concert in Rome, and over a million the concert in Philadelphia.

Officially Nelson Mandela has retired from public life, but he came out of his self-imposed retirement for the Johannesburg Live 8 concert: 'As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.'

Nelson Mandela was given a five minute standing ovation.

Whilst people were enjoying the Live 8 concerts, an estimated 225,000 people marched through Edinburgh in a Make Poverty History Rally. The biggest ever protest in Scotland.

There were those who said Live 8 was a distraction, that it removed the focus from the Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh.

The organisers of the Make Poverty History rally were expecting 100,000 people at best, they got quarter of a million, the largest protest ever seen in Scotland. They got publicity they could only dream of. The protests were featured on every news bulletin.

The BBC was clearly worried as in the name of 'impartiality', they censored the video clips that were shown in Hyde Park. Impartiality!? Is there a faction in favour of extreme poverty, 50,000 people a year dying? The BBC plans backfired, as once the artists realised what was going on, they personally put the message across.

After the Berlin Live 8 concert, coaches were lined up to take protesters to Edinburgh.

Will the G8 deliver? If they don't ......

We should not underestimate the hypocrisy of G8. The G8 are amongst the meanest countries in the world in giving aid. They gripe about African countries squandering the money they are given, but are only too happy to pour weapons into the region. G8 leaders raise the issue of corruption. It takes two to tango, not a single G8 country has ratified the international anti-corruption treaty.

Success to date:

But there is a long way to go. We have to remove unfair trade barriers, deliver aid with no strings attached, stop promoting a neo-liberal, privatisation, globalisation agenda, stop selling arms to poor countries and conflict areas.

We are watching.

But it ain't over yet.

To make sure your voice counts, please ensure you sign the Live 8 petition to the G8.

For more information on the issues and what you can do:

Action at G8:

Live 8:

Just in time for the Christmas market, a 4-DVD set of the Live 8 Concert was released.


Music ~ Bob Geldof ~ Live 8 ~ Live 8 - politics and background
(c) Keith Parkins 2005 -- December 2005 rev 1