At the Copa: the Live Earth concert
at Rio’s Copacabana Beach is on!
Tomorrow’s the big day for Live Earth (07/07/07), the series of “concerts for a climate in crisis,” which will take place in eight cities and on all seven continents across the globe. While there have been a few hiccups — Rio nearly dropped due to an injunction regarding security concerns, Johannesburg struggled with ticket sales, and Istanbul was canceled — the concert series pulled together over 150 artists, including The Police, Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Wolfmother, Madonna, Snoop Dog, Kanye West, and Spinal Tap.
The focus, of course, will be on the environment. As Live Aid and Live 8 did in the past, Live Earth seeks to raise awareness, this time about the issue of global warming. To that end, Live Earth has engaged in a media blitz. If you don’t live near New York, London, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, or Hamburg, you’ll be able to see and hear the performances online and via radio and television. The interactive Live Earth website invites users to rate their own environmental impact and encourages us all to pledge personal action in order to reduce that impact.
However, the Live Earth concerts don’t come up smelling like roses for everyone. Live Aid and Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof told a Dutch newspaper in May that he believed Live Earth lacked clear goals, stating, “I would only organize [this event] if I could go on stage and announce concrete environmental measures from the American presidential candidates, Congress or major corporations.” The Who’s Roger Daltry was even more direct, telling Bizarre, “The last thing the planet needs is a rock concert,” adding, “We have problems with global warming, but the questions and the answers are so huge I don’t know what a rock concert’s ever going to do to help.” As you can guess, The Who will not appear on any Live Earth stage, nor will Muse, whose frontman Matt Bellamy hinted at hypocrisy, saying “Private jets for climate change, not sure about it, that seems to be a bit on edge really – thatâ€™s an issue really so we need to think about it.”
Live Earth promoters are more optimistic: Kevin Wall, a founder of Live Earth and former producer of Live 8, is looking to change attitudes about global warming. “This concert is not the solution,” says Wall. “This concert is providing, hopefully, that global tipping point to start to get us into empowering people, get them into the tent.” Wall’s partner and VP-turned-Oscar winner Al Gore believes that Live Earth “is going to be the greenest event of its kind, ever,” adding for good measure, “The carbon offsets and the innovative practices that are being used to make this a green event… will set the standard for years to come.” John Rego, the event’s environmental adviser, agrees: “We want to set a new global standard for dealing with waste and recycling.”
According to The Mirror, Al Gore even went so far as to get in touch with Razorlight‘s Johnny Borrell to encourage the band to lighten the massive footprint they’ll leave after their Live Earth performance at Wembley, when they hit the road with their own police escort and a private jet. “The Razorlight singer is really passionate about the environment and assured Al that he will off-set all his carbon emissions by planting loads of trees,” a source tells the paper.
In the AP article “Just How Green Is Live Earth?” Wall says his hope is that the positive impact of the Live Earth concerts will spark “a global movement to solve the climate crisis” that will outweigh any extra burden they place on the environment. And hopefully, they will change the face of concerts to come.
By the way, don’t forget to turn off your monitors when you’re finished!