Monday, July 04, 2005

Wot, no Nik Kershaw, Howard Jones or Thompson Twins?

Says the Telegraph:

Good job, Bob

If it had been left up to aid activists and preening rock stars, Live8 would have been a nightmare of Bush- and Pope-bashing. You would hardly have been able to hear the bands for the roar of righteous indignation. But that is not the way Live8 turned out - thanks to Bob Geldof.

The music industry's anti-American bores did not hijack Saturday's extraordinary concert in Hyde Park, for the simple reason that the organiser did not allow them to do so. His instruction was simple: music, not ranting. And an instruction from Mr Geldof is not lightly disobeyed.

The former Boomtown Rat is one of those outspoken people who are so utterly fearless in their choice of target that they end up achieving more than the most skilled diplomat. On this occasion, he told the complacent middle classes all over the world to think about African poverty, and a line-up of rock stars to shut up about George W Bush.

As a result, he achieved a near-miracle: an event that awakened our consciences without getting up our noses.

And the concert was pretty good, too

Especially the geriatrics. The Who and the reunited Floyd were great, and full marks to McCartney for blasting out the most abrasive song in his canon, Helter Skelter.

The music was way better than in the original Live Aid, which is remembered for Freddie Mercury and U2, but was mostly a succession of rotten and long-forgotten 80s acts who’d poured all their creative energy into growing ever more improbable mullets.

In fact, Mariah Carey and her backing group “the African schools’ choir” (bit vague that – which country are they from? Oh you know, Africa) aside, there was very little to cringe or sneer at during Live8, apart from a clip of American rapper Kayne West in Philadelphia berating the G8 “politicians who drive home in their Bentleys every night and watch thousands of Africans die” (and what car do you drive I wonder, Mr West? Nothing. OK, so my chauffeur drives a limo with a pool, three bars and a tennis court).

Of course some of the stars were there for ego and unit-shifting purposes (though Carey was the only one in Hyde Park to commit the mortal charity concert sin of plugging her new single instead of belting out a greatest hit). And of course few if any of them would be prepared to admit that solving Africa’s problems is rather more complex than telling Mr Bush and Mr Blair to jolly well do something cos can’t you see that people are dying here, man?

But complexity shouldn’t be an excuse for blanket cynicism, hopelessness or a lack of compassion. Geldof has achieved his aim of getting Africa on the agenda for middle England (and hopefully middle America and middle everywhere else).

Nothing wrong with that. The middle is the key to almost everything.


martpol said...

Grrrrr. Stag do antics (in Edinburgh, funnily enough) meant that I missed Floyd. Was Roger Waters able to utter anything more than a low, hoarse whisper?

Brit said...

Waters did all the talking in slightly plummy and perfectly clear Received Pronunciation.

Open opening his mouth again to sing his bit of Comfortably Numb, he immediately reverted to sounding like an aged Bob Dylan with a blocked nose and a very sore throat.