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Live Earth 2007 Reviews by Paul Rance
booksmusicfilmstv.com Live Earth Reviews
Wembley, London, UK
The sharp-suited Beastie Boys put in an energetic set, including 'Sure Shot' and 'Intergalactic'. Weird to think they're middle aged now, but good that they're still at the forefront re good causes.
Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas were a bundle of energy, beginning with 'Pump It', with its exotic musical mix, then 'Let's Get It Started', which was, if anything, more energised. The lovely Fergie then sung her new solo song 'Big Girls Don't Cry' beautifully, and will.i.am delivered a little Earth rap (a brand new Black Eyed Peas number) called 'Help Us Out', before the sweet and uplifting 'Where Is The Love?' closed their set.
Charismatic frontman Kele Okereke wore a 'Save The World' T-shirt, as Bloc Party played 'Banquet' and 'So Here We Are', before the BBC rudely pulled away after the latter number.
Popular (and now bearded) young minstrel James Blunt got the crowd singing along to 'Wise Men', the Cat Stevens classic 'Wild World', and the very powerful 'Same Mistake'. Looking at the faces of the young women in ecstasy, it made pop stardom seems very inviting!
A few sound problems for Duran Duran, but they still really rocked. They performed 'Planet Earth', 'Ordinary World', 'Notorious', and 'Girls On Film', and were one of the best performers on the day.
Even though I was a bit dismissive of their boy band capers many years ago, musically, I have to say, they've always been good. Simon Le Bon still looks great, too (jealous hiss).
The Foo Fighters were the penultimate act at Wembley, and they were dynamic from the start, with Dave Grohl prowling the stage, smiling and masticating, as the thunderous, opening chords of 'All My Life' were the prelude to an aural explosion! Their second song, 'My Hero', got the crowd singing along, with Grohl cockily walking down the neck of the stage eyeing the crowd, and slowing things down with his guitar, before a big finish, which included Grohl going for a little run. He then dedicated the third song of the Foo Fighters set to Al Gore, 'Times Like These'. A more poppy song than the previous two, which at the end Grohl says: "What do you think?! Shall we just play all night?!"
Before 'Best Of You', the cameras show a touching shot of Dave Grohl's wife Jordyn Blum holding their baby Violet Maye, with her headphones on. Grohl dedicates this song to "you know who", which the crowd really get into. Dave goes for a stroll on the neck of the stage, swigging from a plastic bottle before delightfully spitting some of the contents out, and going gently into the final song, 'Everlong', before its dramatic ending. Grohl then screams: "Remember why we're here!" The quartet of Grohl, drummer Taylor Hawkins, bassist Nate Mendel, and lead guitarist Chris Shiflett then depart after a powerful set.
You don't really expect Genesis to be controversial, but Phil Collins was the first performer to use the f-word at the Wembley event. The old boys delivered a lively set, with 'Turn It On Again', 'Land Of Confusion', and 'Invisible Touch (with Phil pogoing and swearing during the latter!)'.
David Gray/Damien Rice
The two folk poppers David Gray and Damien Rice got slagged off by some for taking on 'Que Sera Sera', but a good singalong at Wembley was in keeping with the event. Individually, Gray sang 'Babylon' and Rice sang 'Blower's Daughter' - both accompanying each other, and both being emotive performances.
Kasabian are the best young live British band along with Snow Patrol, and they delivered a rousing set, despite dodgy acoustics. Lead singer Tom Meighan was clad in a Union Jack shirt and blue jeans.
'Empire' is first up, displaying Kasabian's swirling rock meets dance with Eastern nuances. Tom is into the spirit of the event, saying: "Save your energy!...I try." and "Let's try and save the polar bears. Let's save our children's children, at least have a go."
Appropriately, doting dad Liam Gallagher was in attendance to watch Meighan waiting to take over his 'King Of Swagger' crown, as the young pretender worked the crowd, especially on Kasabian's last song, 'LSF'. Kasabian's best song 'Club Foot' completed an impressive trio of songs which are well on the way to becoming classics.
Keane performed three of their catchy, singalong songs - 'Somewhere Only We Know', 'Is It Any Wonder', and the magical 'Bedshaped' - all in a VERY energetic way.
John Legend appeared twice. He performed 'Ordinary People', and then came back to sing 'Mercy Mercy Me' with Corinne Bailey Rae. Legend certainly has a distinctive voice.
A YouTube phenomenon, songstress Terra Naomi gave a moving rendition of 'Say It's Possible', accompanied by just her acoustic guitar.
Cheerful Paolo Nutini seemed to go down very well with the young women at Wembley, as he sang 'Alloway Grove', 'Last Request', and a rocking 'Jenny Don't Be Hasty'. Nutini's penultimate song, 'What A Wonderful World', was an inspired choice, with a nice and appropriate video backdrop, and Geri Halliwell and baby seemed to enjoy.
Think 6 Shakiras...The Pussycat Dolls were gyrating, thrusting, heavy breathing, and full of fun. The exotic sound, and tribal rhythms of 'Buttons', the ballad 'Stickwitu', and the raunchy version of 'Don't Cha' made for eye popping and ear popping entertainment.
Corinne Bailey Rae
Likeable Corinne Bailey Rae's soothing soul was an example of the diverse mix on dispaly at Wembley, and Corinne performed 'I'd Like To', a very vibrant 'Put Your Records On', and Marvin Gaye's 'Mercy Mercy Me' with John Legend.
A bit of sunshine rock from Razorlight, plus swearing and some technical probs, but the latter didn't seem noticeable on their three songs - 'In The Morning', 'America', and 'Los Angeles Waltz'.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers began their set with a lengthy jam, before Anthony Kiedis made his appearance, bouncing on stage like a boxer in the ring, with a multi-coloured hoodie on, before the Peppers showed how accomplished they were with 'Can't Stop', 'Dani California', 'So Much I', and 'By The Way'.
Kiedis was down to to a black armless T-shirt for 'So Much I', and there was a funny moment when eccentric bassist Flea said he had something important to say, but had forgotten it. Kiedis replied with: "What are you going on about, Flea?" And there was a dramatic pause as Kiedis, Flea, and lead guitarist John Frusciante had a discussion! Then came 'By The Way'.
It's probably taken for granted now that Kiedis, Frusciante, Flea, and drummer Chad Smith will put on a good show, and this was another good one.
Snow Patrol rank alongside Kasabian as the brightest of young British groups, when it comes to playing live. Only time for three Snow Patrol anthems here, though - 'Open Your Eyes', 'Shut Your Eyes', and 'Chasing Cars'. The latter is certainly one of the most moving songs of the 21st Century so far.
Gary Lightbody displayed a nice sense of humour, as the Snow Patrol frontman said: "Everyone looking forward to see Spinal Tap?"
Manager Marty DiBergi introduced the most eagerly anticipated band reunion, possibly ever, describing Spinal Tap as having two great qualities: "One, volume, and two, punctuality".
Tap guitar hero Nigel Tufnel welcomes the crowd with "Hello Wimbledon", and then we're straight into the wailing voices of 'Stonehenge', with Nigel giving a history lesson as Spinal Tap's greatest number is played before a spellbound audience, though the song is unfortunately marred by the Stonehenge replica being smaller than expected, but the dwarves danced well around the monument. The monument problem needs to be sorted out guys - again!
Bassist Derek Smalls introduces 'Warmer Than Hell' holding up a vegetable, a marrow I think, and says: "This is what the Earth can do!" David St. Hubbins gives a very earnest vocal performance, and the lyrics are thought-provoking with a good chorus, and Nigel puts in a nice guitar solo. Then the BBC cut away from the legends, before we just see a finale of 'Big Bottom', with loads of bass players and members of lesser bands who had performed earlier joining 'em. Spinal Tap's backing singers were fit.
In the post-gig interview, the band don't seem to hear so good these days, but their egos are still intact, as they were convinced Wembley Stadium had been rebuilt just for their reunion.
Reviews and comments of the event from BBC viewer Paul Rance
Al Gore (at the end of Live Earth): "Put all this energy in your heart, and help us solve the climate crisis."
booksmusicfilmstv.com Live Earth Reviews
Giants Stadium, New Jersey, USA
A hyper performance from Akon, who perfomed 'Smack That' in a T-shirt, but was later topless, and by 'Mama Africa' the crowd were well into it - and Akon was well into the crowd, being carried through them! Melodic hip hop.
Al Gore and a very exuberant Cameron Diaz introduced the ever youthful Jon Bon Jovi, and Bon Jovi began their set with the wonderfully uplifting 'It's My Life'. Bon Jovi's other songs 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' and 'Livin' On A Prayer' proved that Jon Bon Jovi is still a fine rock performer, and with a voice often underrated.
The usual high energy performance by Kelly Clarkson, with good, powerful, catchy songs 'Walk Away', 'How I Feel', and 'Since You've Been Gone'. Though the stadium venue seemed to restrict her interaction with the crowd.
Melissa Etheridge was the star of the whole event in my opinion, with a performance of power, compassion, emotion, and humour.
Some people grasp what these events are all about, while others just treat an event like this as just another gig. Melissa and her fantastic backing band performed three moving songs which nearly merged into one whole - 'Imagine That', 'What Happens Tomorrow', and one she had to play, of course, 'I Need To Wake Up'.
My cat Apricot really got into Melissa Etheridge's performance, so is obviously a good judge of music!
Fall Out Boy
The acclaimed American band Fall Out Boy delivered a lively four song set - 'Sugar We're Goin' Down', 'Thnks Fr Th Mmrs (what's all with these text orientated titles nowadays?!)', 'Dance Dance', and 'This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race'.
Alicia Keys came on resplendent in pink, and she gave a vibrant performance of Stevie Wonder's 'Living For The City', Marvin Gaye's 'Mercy Mercy Me', and 'If I Ain't Got You'. But her Live Earth highlight was when she gave a thrilling, dynamic performance, alongside Keith Urban, of 'Gimme Shelter'.
Sweet blues from John Mayer on his battered Strat, with the song 'Belief', and he came back to join The Police and Kanye West for the 'Message In A Bottle' finale.
The Police closed the New York leg of Live Earth to close the whole event.
Beginning with 'Roxanne', things looked ominous as Sting looked disapprovingly at his bass at the start, but it went well. 'Roxanne' has always been a cleverly constructed amalgam of styles, and the strength of Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers was, and is, their musical flexibility and inventiveness.
'Roxanne' was followed by 'Can't Stand Losing You' and crowd participation time. Then John Mayer and Kanye West joined The Police for the 'Message In A Bottle' finale, and an energy-filled ending it was. The five bowed at the end, before Sting introduced Al Gore, with: "A man not afraid of the truth, even if it's inconvenient."
One of the last acts at the US leg of Live Earth, The Smashing Pumpkins gave the show a bit of an edge, as they gave a raucous version of 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings'.
Chirpy KT Tunstall looked fetching in white 'Save The Future' T-shirt, black shorts, and gold tights, singing three of her most famous songs - 'Black Horse & The Cherry Tree', 'Other Side Of The World', and 'Suddenly I See (with KT on electric guitar)'. All effervescent stuff.
Joined by Alicia Keys, Keith Urban and his band performed a rip-roaring cover of the Stones classic 'Gimme Shelter'. One of the highlights of the whole show.
Toni Collette & the Finish
Toni Collette & The Finish came up with a distinctive and appropriate song for this event - albeit a cover of an old T-Rex song - 'Children Of The Revolution', with Toni finishing with a bit of drumming.
The lights went out on Crowded House, but they gamely soldiered on in playing 'Weather With You', as they closed the Sydney show - with seemingly all the earlier performers on stage at the end!
Jack Johnson's 'Good People' has some perceptive lyrics, well in keeping with Live Earth. It's also a bit of a feel good tune.
Jack co-founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that supports environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaii.
Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale did a pretty good impression of Robert Plant on the song 'Woman', with a film of a curvaceous hula hoop shaking woman on the big screen.
Johannesburg, South Africa
The BBC didn't show much of Joss Stone, but the young British singer gave her usual mature performance on the one song of her's we did see - 'Girl They Won't Believe It'.
One of the great party bands, UB40 delivered 'Food For Thought', 'One In Ten (not really a party song!)', a haunting version of 'Kingston Town', and 'Red Red Wine', and a good time was had by all.
Makuhari Messe, Japan
Linkin Park's 'What I've Done' was certainly one of the highlights of all the concerts. An inspiring piece of music, which the Japanese crowd were well into.
The beautiful Rihanna performed 'SOS' and the confusing 'Umbrella', with its awful chorus, but the rest of the song is as stunning as the girl herself.
Enrique Iglesias worked the crowd well, doing a Pied Piper impersonation during the catchy 'Escape', which my cat Apricot stretched out to. Enrique also took photos of himself with fans mobile phones during 'Bailamos'. The guy likes to fool around, but he's a great entertainer.
Everyone seems to call Katie Melua "lovely", so why I should I be any different? She sang the song with that most unusual of titles, namely 'Nine Million Bicycles', at the Hamburg event.
The rubber-hipped (and that's an understatement) Shakira performed 'Hips Don't Lie'. Sweet and sexy, and thankfully no Boybounce accompanying her.
Husky Macy Gray and her gifted band and gifted backing singers all had messages of conscience on their clothes, with Macy singing 'I Try', 'Everybody', 'Treat Me Like Your Money', 'Sexual Revolution', and John Lennon's classic anti-war anthem 'Give Peace A Chance'. Macy wore a white dress with "Darfur Red Alert" on the front, and the CND logo on her behind.
Dressed all in white, blonde bombshell Xuxa kicked off the Rio event, with 'Tesouro Sem Fim', and a wonderful parade of colourful animals (not real ones), which captivated the children. Xuxa's 'Ilarie (Medley Mix)' sounded like something out of Eurovision.
Sarah Brightman defied the Shanghai rain, and looked lovely in a white dress, to sing 'Nessun Dorma', beautifully, of course, Sarah was the only artist from Shanghai the BBC really featured, which seemed a bit poor.
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