Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live 8 is Enough

AOL is offering a lot of footage from the recent crop of Live 8 concerts for free on their website. I checked out a few, including some songs from the Pink Floyd reunion set. It's amazingly cool to see Waters and Gilmour on stage together (after nearly 25 years!), but I have to say that Waters' voice isn't what it used to be. They still sound great, and if there's a Floyd reunited US tour, I'd certainly try to go, but it's obvious the guy can't lay down the songs like he once did. Still, the version of "Wish You Were Here" from the London show sounds pretty great, and his dedication to Syd Barrett at the beginning is kind of touching.

Which reminds me, the London show was way better than any of the others. I mean, granted, I can't vouch for the quality of a lot of the bands that played Berlin or Rome...Acts like Chris De Burgh, Nek and the "is it offensive or isn't it" Negrita.

But I do know that acts which would be solid mid-day highlights, like Duran Duran, Audioslave or A-Ha were headliners in Berlin and Rome.

Why be that way, Bob Geldof? Why schedule all the most notable acts for the same show, the show you happen to be attending and at which you will perform. And please don't say it was a travel issue, because Rome, Paris and Berlin are all quite reasonable destinations for popular international arena rock acts, and Toronto or Philadelphia ain't much farther.

Think I'm lying? Here are some of the featured London acts:

Elton John
Mariah Carey
Paul McCartney
Pink Floyd (!)
Snoop Dogg

Are you kidding? UB40? Hells yeah!

But you see what I mean...They aren't all neccessarily my cup of tea, but that's a massive concert full of international superstars.

Now, here's the list for Toronto:

Barenaked Ladies
Bruce Cockburn (uh-huh....huh-huh-huh...uh...)
Bryan Adams (noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!)
Bachman Cummings Band

At this point, I'd like to pause and note that I'm not making this up. Three acts with awkward sexual innuendos in their names, and Bryan Adams. What a line-up. Madonna Who?

But there's more...

Deep Purple
Gordon Lightfoot
Motley Crue
Simple Plan
Tragically Hip

Are you starting to notice some disparity here? Yes, yes, I know, Tragically Hip were, like, totally way bigger in Canada than here, and a lot of you drunken nostalgic weirdos still for some reason cling to the notion that Motley Crue was any good...But it ain't to U2 and Paul McCartney reuniting to play Sgt. Pepper and announce the reformation of Pink Floyd.

Just seems kind of janky to do a worldwide charity event and then schedule almost all the really great acts for one city. Oh well...

Some of the footage is pretty cool. For one, you get to see all the weird Live 8 slogans littering the stages. One particularly strange one above U2 reads "We Don't Want Your Money."

That's nice. Much better than the traditional banner under which U2 plays - "Fuck You, Pay Me."

There is other surreality in store. Paul McCartney oddly invites George Michael to join him on stage for The Beatles' classic "Drive My Car." I had thought Michael retired from show business (officially, not just in everyone's mind). Yet here he is, singing along with Sir Paul and looking like he just stepped off the "Faith" album cover. Most peculiar.

Also, you get to see Stevie Wonder's bizarre facial hair from the Philadelphia show. Now, I know Stevie can't see, and so he can't really style his facial hair in any specific way, but he has managed to shave all the hair off his face that doesn't physically border his mouth. So there's like a fuzzy moat surrounding his food hole. It's slightly disturbing. Someone get that man a fully-sighted barber immediately. Stevie has some weasely white douchebag I couldn't identify join him for "Higher Ground" for no reason, ruining what would otherwise been a fully serviceable version of the song. Boo.

Finally, Chris Martin from Coldplay introduces a cover of "Bittersweet Symphony" with the line: "This is probably the greatest song of all time." I mean, it's a pretty good song, but that's like saying "Apple is probably the greatest baby name of all time." Clearly an exaggeration.


Steve said...

1. It was in Barrie, not Toronto. The best way to remember the difference between the two is that "Barrie" rhymes with "Mary", while "Toronto" starts with a T, which is also the first letter of "Totally fucking awful city", which Toronto is. Please do not judge Canada on that basis. A lot of us like to think that Toronto isn't actually part of Canada, actually, a fact that is attributable to a lot of Torontonians considering "Toronto" and "Canada" to be synonymous.

2. I'm not sure whether or not you knew this, but the "Bachman Cummings Band" was composed primarily of Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, who also happened to be the primary members of the Guess Who (you know, of "American Woman" fame). I don't know why they didn't call themselves The Guess Who, actually - it would be like John Lennon and Paul McCartney playing together and calling themselves "The Lennon McCartney Band", only on a smaller scale.

3. The Barrie show was added after most of the London lineup was confirmed, so it's to be expected that London will have a better lineup. Plus, London's London and Barrie's in fucking Canada. It's a good country, but so's Laos, and I don't see Paul McCartney playing there.

4. You Americans are really missing something by not listening to The Hip.

5. You neglected to mention Neil Young, who is, in my opinion, more talented than the entire London lineup put together (I don't think many rock critics will agree with my assessment, but four out of five of them *can* be wrong).

6. Also, Tom Cochrane.

Apologies for the (bulleted) rant. I'm tired.

Lons said...

1. I knew the Barrie/Toronto thing because Barenaked Ladies goof about it in one of the clips I saw, but still...the line-up thing said Toronto, the official stuff all said Toronto, I said Toronto...It's like people in Anaheim getting upset when they're confused with LA. Deal.

2. Had no idea about Bachman/Cummings, although I'm not thinking that a terrific amount of people would even know the name "Guess Who." And "That Obscure Band That Sang That Song 'American Woman'" probably wouldn't fit on the posters.

3. Whatever.

4. I will find some Tragically Hip songs and report back as to their overall musical value. Stay tuned.

5. Didn't even know Neil was at the Toronto show. I love Neil. Why no clips on AOL of his set, I wonder?

6. Don't know who this is.

Cory said...

-I heard the Stones were playing Laos this year as an extention to their Dien Bien Phu memorial tour...

- The fact that Chris Martin called "Bittersweet Symphony" the best song ever just reinforces his general air of douchebaggery.

- Vader: "Bryan Adams? Noooooooooooooo!"

- Is that the same Bachman as in Bachman Turner Overdrive? Because that badn sucks. Guess Who has some cool songs.

- Is it me or does Geldof himself need some Live Aid? It looks like he hasn't sleeped since the concert in '85.

- Tom Cochrane...sounds familiar...didn't he have that lame "life is a highway, i want to ride it all-night-long" song? Noooooooooo!

Steve said...

The Guess Who also did "These Eyes", "Share the Land", "Undun", "Laughing", "No Time", "Clap for the Wolfman", "Hand Me Down World", "Gunds, Guns, Guns", "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature". . . at least *some* of those must get some play on American classic rock radio, no?

And yes, Randy Bachman was a primary member of BTO after he left the Guess Who to become a pioneer in corporate rock. His son, Tal, had a hit a few years ago with "She's So High Above Me", which was awful, and may have been confined to Canada.

"Life is a Highway" is Cochrane's. So are, among others, "Big League", "Boy Inside the Man", "Cowboys in Hong Kong", "I Wish You Well", "Lunatic Fringe", "Napolean Sheds His Skin", "No Regrets", "Ragged Ass Road", "Sinking Like a Sunset", "The Untouchable One", and "White Hot". He's also among the more sincere advocates for Africa to have played any of the cities.

As for Tragically Hip songs, I recommend "Courage", "What Kings", "New Orleans is Sinking", and "Little Bones".

Konrad said...

Talking bout Germany, Berlin

Brian Wilson
Chris de Burgh
Crosby Stills & Nash
Die Toten Hosen
Green Day
Herbert Groenemeyer
Joana Zimmer
Juan Diego Florez
Katherine Jenkins
Renee Olstead
Roxy Music
Soehne Mannheims
Wir Sind Helden

Okay besides some great German bands, which you probably wouldn't know. Some crappy or very out stuff like Chris de Burgh (give me a break), Faithless (do they still exist?). But hey:
Brian Wilson (Beach Boys!!), Crosby Stills & Nash, Roxy Music.
They were not as big as Pink Floyd but avantgarde as well. And Audioslave, okay a so called Superband. And last not least Green Day, Grammy winner as best rock band and hot stuff (American Idiot). I think the line-up was okay, but unfortunately the concert was too far away from Nuremberg.

Cory said...

Roxy Music? Was Eno there?

See, why can't MTV show that? hate you mtv. hate you.