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Live 8 Concert – who really benefits?

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The Live 8 Concert came and went with the usual fanfare.

Googling the news pulled up items like: “Best Concert Ever,” or “20,000 Visit Moscow Red Square.”

That’s all very well and nice, but should not the headlines be reading – in the grand scheme of things will the concert really make any difference in stamping out poverty? Instead of headlines like, “Bono fired up a huge London crowd yesterday, singing Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Or, “Bob Geldof and Paul McCartney… wave to the crowds at the finale of the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park.”

It’s too bad the Pope doesn’t offer sainthoods for entertainers. But then again they did make Paul a “Sir” didn’t they, so you never know. Must have had something to do with improving Britannia’s GDP and all that. Maybe money can’t buy you love Paul, but…

Past Live Aids have raised money and political awareness for poverty in Africa. But this time around with all those aging rock and rollers hobbling on stage all that they are really raising is the dead.

Unfortunately that is the real legacy of this concert. A last hurrah for senior citizen rockers trying to prove they can still shake their booty with the youngsters. Or to provide exposure for the up-and-commer/wannabes trying to out-do their mentors.

Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the music as much as anybody. It was great to see Roger Waters “tear down the wall” and reunite with Pink Floyd. Roger Daltrey and the Who proved that old farts who wanted to “die before they get old” have still got what it takes. Lucky for them not all wishes come true so they could spend all that money in their golden years of retirement. Unfortunately for the rest of us who purchased their music we will actually have to work until we are old (or die).

But I digress. I really do hope that some good will come out of the concert. But I’m not that naive, and I’ve lived long enough to know there’s more than meets the ear… er, I mean the eye.

So who are the real winners with these concerts? Could it be the entertainers who give their “free” time to resurrect or promote careers at the biggest venue of all time, but rarely reach into their own pockets where it really hurts?

Too bad for Michael J that he was busy getting off child molestation charges (hee hee hee). I mean really, Geldof’s claim to fame was reminding me that “I don’t like Mondays“. If it weren’t for live-aid we would all be singing “what about Bob“. For crying out loud even George Michael pranced on stage harmonizing with McCartney to the tune of that ancient Beatles’ ditty “Drive my Car.”

Bottom line is, in the long term will it really make any difference or is it just shameless self-serving promotion? Beep, beep’m, beep, beep yeah!” Need I say anymore?

UPDATE: Sir Paul McCartney landed the headline spot at Live 8 after threatening not to perform at all. But the music was really great wasn’t it? Shiznit.

This article also appeared at the daily FISK.

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About BB

  • Fei

    I hope it benefits the people the concert is intended for, but I am naive.

  • Starving For Answers

    Have you heard? The revolution to end poverty began Saturday – right on your TV set of all places. According to some delusional artists and media types, nine pop music concerts have empowered millions of people to begin an end to poverty in Africa.

    Gotta love that adjective “empowered”, which literally means “invested with legal power or official authority.” So if we are to believe the hype, a bunch of middle to lower class scrubs have been provided with the legal power and/or official authority to make poverty history.

    Question: If you don’t have a shitload of wealth and blue blood, how are you supposed to have power??? And don’t give me this power in large numbers bullshit, since the world economic decision making is done by a select few.

    I know this feel good empowerment bullshit works wonders for shallow talk show hosts like Oprah, but when it comes to serious issues like world poverty, it is nothing more than a public relations stunt. Yeah, make people feel like they have a voice, when the truth of the matter is they have no say in anything at all, their own lives included.

    Here is an example of the powerless people: It is safe to say that most people were against the invasion of Iraq. Were they able to stop the war?

    Sorry for being cynical, however, I fail to see how nine mediocre concerts (presented rather poorly and with numerous commericals) can change the world. Imagine, like John Lennon used to sing, for every horrible problem on this earth, we can have a concert to kickstart the solution. Ah, if it was all so easy.

    Does the average world citizen really know why people are dying in large numbers in Africa? Is it just the luck of the draw, as some would have you believe? Or is it because plundering the rich resources of Africa is a much simpler task when there are fewer people inhabiting the land?

    You wanna talk foreign aid? No problem. Aid money is shoved down the throats of these African nations with the condition they hire Western contractors to improve their infrastructures. Of course, this is assuming the aid money is not first grabbed by some dictator who specializes in genocide.

    Funny how the activist artists tip toe or outright avoid these vital issues when talking about Africa.

    The solutions to the African poverty and AIDS problem proposed by these Live 8 do-gooders are naive and ignorant. And we have yet to discuss the issue of over population on this planet.

    So there you go! All you need is some well heeled finger snapping and back slapping to get the ball rolling for Africa. And don’t forget those life saving text messages while you’re at it.

    So you say you want a revolution Madonna? The fact of the matter is we don’t all want to change the world. Especially those of us who are truly empowered.


    PS: Where was U2 during the closing ceremonies at Live 8? Had to run off and play a concert for a few million bucks?

    If this issue is oh so important to Mr. Bono, why couldn’t he cancel his concert and show support by being on that stage with the rest of the performers? There are people dying here dude, where are your prioritie$?

  • Who will benefit?

    The dictators and kleptocrats of Africa, who would you expect to benefit?

    Does anyone really believe Snoop dog gives one wit about poverty in Africa?
    Or Madonna for that matter, she’s more interested in selling the “red strings” of that cult she became a member of.

    As soon as Bono and Geldof lay out their plan to force reform in the mostly despotic governments of Africa as a prerequisite for aid I might give a shit. Til then, sorry, you and your over the hill and wanna be “artists” can stuff it!

    QUESTION: The corporations that sponsored this event gave each and every “artist” that performed a “gift bag” worth $12,000 dollars.

    Am I to take there message seriously after that waste of good “aid money” that could have fed a poor starving African child?

    I think not.

  • I would love to see the final figures for the actual money that arrives in the hands of the people.

    These sort of concerts have become victims of the world’s latest (sorry, Tom Cruise) psychological syndrome: specifically, “Short Attention Disorder” or SAD.

    While not described in the DSM (in fact, I have trademarked it), SAD is characterized by:

    1. A flash-in-the-pan, always politically-correct gnashing of teeth over some worthy causes in the world.
    2. The drums beat for a few days before and fewer days after and then everyone goes back to their life and Starbucks.
    3. Some months later, they will ask an acquaintance, “Hey, remember the Blah-Blah concert we went to? Whatever became of that?” There is no answer forthcoming and all are too busy to actually check it out on the internet. I call this the “Impotent Recall Phase” or, simply, IRP (pronounced “urp” as in Sheriff Wyatt _____).
    4. Diagnostic of the condition is that the noble cause for which the even took place must, by the definition of this disorder, remain completely unchanged by events before and after the event.
    5. Further, it cannot be addressed by any other concert event for a minimum of one year afterwards.

    Note: A minor diagnostic criteria is that there should be a available, at an outrageous fee, a rubber, colored wrist bracelet commemorating the event. This allows supporters to show others how “aware” and socially caring they are.

    When you have enjoyed the years that I have been priveldeged to enjoy, you will also have an experience with SAD. And, unfortunately, the cynicism that comes with it.



  • Did the promoters even promise any money to Africa this time around? From what I’ve heard, the point of this big event was to persuade the G8 industrialized nations to forgive the debts of the poorest African countries.

    In fact I’m sure a good case can be made for doing exactly that, but nothing I’ve seen in the hype for the concerts had anything to do with debt relief. All of it was about which musicians were playing and which ones weren’t, or where there would be free concerts and where there would not.

    All very fascinating stuff for celebrity watchers and music fans, but how any of that might cause the end of poverty has not been made clear.

  • td

    I don’t know what al the complaining is about.

    Live 8 raised millions of dollars for the starving VJ’s in MTV Land and the poverty stricken artists who are forced to live off only millions.

    I think the event was a major success. Now if only we can do something to help Africa.

    The difference between now and Live Aid in the 80’s is that people are no longer naive about the african situation. Even if the countries that aren’t run by dictators get the money, it’s still not enough for them to develope a self-sustaining economy.

    The world economy only grows so fast, and with the pace Asia is growing, nobody wants to give up any more economic wealth so that Africa can develope on it’s own. So we protect our farming industries, our drugs, etc, and we swinddle them out of their natural resources, and we might give them $5 in charity, but no way are they taking my job because I still have 4 payments left on my combination Pasta Maker/Juicer appliance.

  • Deborah Nurcombe

    Why the hell were ‘stars’ given goody bags worth £7000?

    African children could have been given this money surely!?! From a very angry and bemused lady from Chelmsford, Essex. What’s the point?

  • jane

    Most of the third world debt is the result of illegal world bank loans anyway. The World Bank was quite aware of the fact that most of the unservicable loans they granted to Third World countries were (a) to bolster US ‘falvour of the month’ dictators, who used the money to bolster swiss bank accounts and build palaces and by arms (b)unserviceable in terms of the GNP of the countries involved (there was no way they could be paid back) and (c) a means of keeping the countries affected under World Bank control. Wiping out current debts will not solve the problems suffered internally by these countries.The brutal brutal truth is that many people affected by world poverty are the victims of their own countrymen and women ie brutal dictatorships, internecine warfare and genocide, corruption etc etc. Unless these issues are addressed 10,000 children a day will keep dying every three seconds. The role of the various Churches in third world countries should also be put under the spotlight ie discouraging birth control and education about AIDS etc. After living and undertaking research in Zimbabwe in a remote rural community, I witnessed all of the above and saw people suffer enormously because of them.

    As for the G8 concert, where has Geldorf and Bono been the last 20 years when the World Bank’s role in world debt has been known. Perhaps it is just one big ruse to asuage their own guilt about having personal fortunes in excess of $400 million EACH. Hey Bono and Bob! Give up the mansions, personal investment portfolios, private jets, and personal fortunes, pay yourselves a basic wage and give the rest to Third World countries, where $250 paid for a great pair of leather pants or $1000 for a pair of blue sunglasses could feed and educate 100 kids for a year…..

  • Chris perez

    “Bottom line is, in the long term will it really make any difference or is it just shameless self-serving promotion? Beep, beep’m, beep, beep yeah!” Need I say anymore?”

    Are you kidding me? Do you really think that Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, the Who, or even any of the terrible performers that were there, needed any more promotion? You can’t be serious with that statement.

    It was also quite dirty to take the lyrics of a (obviously) pop song written by Paul and type the lyrics as if, “Oh, well this catchy tune was only written to advertise!” You make me sick.

    That was just me on music terms of this post. If you think that Live 8 ever helps poverty or anything, you have to be an idiot. These concerts can’t possibly help. They’re free. Okay, so the world leaders will agree on building up Africa, then what? Nothing. No country is going to spend countless dollars on a country that could possibly one day become a competetitor.

    To end this, I have to say, it was great to see Roger Waters reunite with Pink Floyd.

  • BB

    Um… I merely posed the question. Sorry if it seems that I disparaged one of your fab four but since you’ve brought it up, if they don’t need any promotion (McCartney is currently advertising his next tour) then why did sir Paul insist on the top headline spot?

    Egomaniacs can never get enough of the limelight. And how dare you call them “terrible performers“. Surely “you can’t be serious with that statement”? Shiznit.

  • Nancy

    I’ve noticed with prior LiveAid concerts as well as other ‘benefit’ concerts by Big Names that the final audited figures for gross receipts, costs, and net receipts are NEVER forthcoming, nor are there any records as to who got the net proceeds or where it went. I suspect it ended up in the promoters’ bank accounts, yes?

  • jojo

    Which brings up another point. When we were younger (or at least some of us) we were sold the notion that “all you need is love”.

    But as we get older and worry about our pension plans and how we are going to possibly retire we watch our heros on stage get wealthier (last I heard McCartney is practically a billionaire).

    Every so often (or not) they perform a so-called benefit concert for “free” but we never hear about them actually giving out of their own pockets.

    Makes you think don’t it?

  • With regards to Comment #9

    Yes, all those artists who were there need more promotion to expose their music to a new generation of fans. Why do you think record sales for these performers are way up?

    Bob Geldof’s FuckFest is just one big cash grab for all of these do-gooders. And since most fans are morons who jump on any bandwagon, it should be a snap.

  • Nancy

    Does any particular country have jurisdiction over these things, or are they deliberately set up all over the world so that revenues are virtually untraceable? Someone’s getting very, very rich, and I strongly suspect it ain’t the starving people of Africa or whereever.

  • Nancy, since the concerts were free to the audiences, the main people possibly suffering any financial fraud here are the big corporate sponsors.

    The poor may not be any better off than before, but at least their situation isn’t any worse.

  • Nancy

    I’m sure the corporate sponsors paid thru their corporate noses; but since the revenues of these concerts were pledged to people needing it so desperately, isn’t it a fraud as well as theft that there’s no way to know where it goes, not to mention just plain dishonest? Just because ‘nobody is worse off’ doesn’t mean it’s not criminal.

  • Where is the pledge of revenues from these concerts to anything?

    One could be forgiven for assuming that to be the case, as it often has been with big event concerts in the past. But if anybody has pledged any revenues from Live 8 to any charitable purpose, it hasn’t been expressed in any of the publicity or hype I’ve seen about it. This time it’s all about raising awareness.

  • Nancy

    In all the hype I’ve read & heard on public media – including interviews w/Geldorf – it was explicitly stated that the concerts were in support of awareness, etc. etc. garble, garble, but it was also very strongly implied that the proceeds would be going to various world charitable organizations to actually support their work. Otherwise, what was all this but (as pointed out by almost all the other contributors to this thread) a big PR scam? ‘Raise awareness’? What the hell does THAT mean? The ones who seem to be unaware are the performers living in those $400 million dollar mansions. This whole thing seems to me to be an exercise in cynical exploitation, and we all lap it up. It was pointed out that the Japanese have no tradition of charity concerts, and most of those concertgoers at that concert could have given a hoot. I wonder if same was true elsewhere?

  • What proceeds are expected from free concerts?

    All of the Live 8’s promotional material I’ve been able to find prominently states stuff like “we want your voice, not your money.”

    In other words, the goal is, apparently, to pressure governments to do things only governments can do (like debt relief), and not to raise more charity dollars.

  • jojo

    I notice on CNN that Gandhi Geldof showed up at the G8 Summit with a bunch of “losers” glad-handing and hobnobbing with the big-wigs.

    He can’t even buy a decent suit. Looked like he had slept in it since the last live aid.

    Obviously he has benefited because as the writer said if it weren’t for live-aid we would all be singing “what about Bob“.

  • Apart from the other egregious crap on air, one of the MTV VJs clasps a black teen to her in the Philly concert and makes an impassioned statement on the need to support Africs – can one get any more inane?

    Methinks this was a poorly thought out, poorly executed parody of true charity. Also, as I posted on Al’s thread,

    Woolworths music boss Jim Batchelor said: ‘Our stores have been inundated with customers wanting CDs of the Live8 artists and we are busy re-ordering back catalogue titles.’

    HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo added: ‘It’s likely this impact will become more pronounced through the week, as more fans respond to the combined efforts of the weekend’s televised event, the G8 summit and all the ensuing publicity.’

    According to HMV, sales of Pink Floyd’s ‘best of’ album Echoes went up by 1,343 per cent. Sales of albums by the Who rose by 863 per cent, Annie Lennox by 500 per cent, Dido by 412 per cent, Razorlight by 335 per cent and Robbie Williams by 320 per cent.

  • Nancy

    LiveAid is nothing more than a live scam by a bunch of self-serving, famous creeps. I can only hope the additional money they make off this sends them to hell faster than they’d otherwise go.

  • Dr. Tristan, M.D.

    jojo’s comment made me really chuckle as that was what I thought this week when I saw St Bono appear outside Court in Ireland to try and prosecute his former stylist who supposedly had some of his “iconistic” clothing she supposedly should not have taken from him~~~

    He was getting out of his shiny new limosine in the most wrumples and wrinkled suit I’d seen in quite awhile…

    This must be some kind of “uniform” these days for old fading musicians posing as humanitarians to keep their names up in the limelight, eh….

  • BB

    Heh, this stuff is great.

    Can I borrow it for my next post?

  • BB

    If the so-called ‘stars’ would open up their huge bank accounts and transfer the bulk of their lavish estates (paid for by us fans) into Africa, then I would be impressed.

  • BB

    Looking at all of the comments, if one conclusion can be made it would be that most of us ‘fans’ have become cynical with our do-gooder heros and their hollow words who live lavish lifestyles and financially benefit from so-called “benefit concerts”.

  • jane

    Perhaps Bono and Geldorf would like to explain why they are don’t question the current President of Ethiopia when he’s the man who overthrew Haillie Sallassie and installed a brutal oppressive regime, most of whose power comes from foreign aid? The simplification of the whole issue is astounding and the fact that people fall for this rubbish is depressing.Unless the very real problems of internecine conflict, corruption, racial oppression by people of THEIR OWN POPULATIONS are tackled, wiping out third world debt will change nothing.

    Oh, and was I the only onw who found Geldorf’s parading of the “saved” Ethiopian woman paternalistic, racist and disturbing? ie. “if it wasn’t for us great white people you’d be dead/have no future”.PLEEZE.