Live Earth Rocked!
Minimum Gauge had a little multi-media party last Saturday to experience the global Live Earth concerts without actually having to leave the house. We know we should have turned off the AC, but, well, let's just say even Al Gore would have his house at arctic temps if he had to live with Cincinnati humidity. Our set-up: Sirius satellite radio (they carried audio from all events live), NBC on the TV (though their coverage on Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, etc was spotty) and msn.com on the computer so we could see all of the concerts live (and a little grainy). We figured out that, with all of the energy expended at MG headquarters alone, we expanded the hole in the ozone layer a good 6 or 7 feet. Highlights included The Police's closing set (move over Eric Clapton, Andy Summers is now officially God) and the last-minute stage added in Washington, D.C., dedicated to Native American music (our little way of saying, "Sorry, we took your land and are now destroying it ... wanna play a concert?").
Live Earth Was OK!
Live Earth was reportedly seen by over 2 billion viewers worldwide and, while attendance was lower than expected in some areas (including the New Jersey show), millions saw the concerts live.
Perhaps something more in the mode of Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo would have generated more in-person participation -- how many people want to drive hundreds of miles to see their favorite band only play four songs? Full sets next time you try to save the earth, Al. The organizers did a little spin control the day of the event, as many wondered if the pay-off (people being more aware of everyday wastes of energy) was worth the energy expended to conduct the concert itself. At Live Earth's Web site (liveearth.org), their "Green Event" guidelines explain how steps were taken to make sure Live Earth was as green as possible -- using renewable sources for electricity, biodegradable plastics, etc. But what about the thousands and thousands of cars being used to get people to the event? Organizers suggested ... carpooling. That got us thinking: Is going to a Live Earth concert in a S.U.V. like going to a National Organization for Women rally wearing a Female Body Inspector (F.B.I.) T-shirt?
Live Earth Sucked!
The lowlights? Wow. Too much to report, but here's a few: Madonna's song written just for the event (and played throughout, ceaselessly), "Hey You," should have just been named "Charity Song," because it was so generic. As mentioned above, The Police were great. But please keep Kanye off the stage! He absolutely ruined an otherwise solid "Message in a Bottle." A thoroughly bored-looking Billy Corgan took the opportunity to plug The Smashing Pumpkins' new album like a rapper on an awards show -- always classy to appear at a charity concert and then play a new song no one wants to hear and let everyone know the exact date they can buy your record. And Antarctica was indeed in the house (to complete the "7 concerts, 7 continents, 7/7/07 symmetry), but where was the broadcast of Nunatak, an Indie band composed entirely of scientists working at a research station in Rothera who were Live Earth: Antarctica's sole performers? It had to be better than the Black Eyed Peas. Search npr.org for a great interview with hilarious Nunatak member Tristan Thorne, as well as sound samples of the band (who are actually quite good!). As with most "benefit concerts" which raise awareness, not money, we're unsure how "successful" Live Earth was (we should know in about 100 years -- if our faces melt off when we walk outside, then Al Gore didn't try hard enough). But one thing's for sure -- the manufacturers of those eco-friendly fluorescent light bulbs are about to be rich! Buy stock now.