Live to Tape 8
All right, I'm already on the record with my questions about the effectiveness of Live 8, but that doesn't mean I didn't watch parts of it. Bit, oooh, did the coverage suck, or what? The first Live Aid coverage was pretty bad, with attention given to the Philadelphia concert rather than London just because it was in the good ol' USA. If I recall, the coverage cut away from George Michael joining Elton John to sing Michael's favorite EJ song, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (which later went on to become a hit on its own) to show the Hooters (yes, before it was a restaurant, it was a really lame band).
I didn't watch the day-long coverage this time, but I did see the ABC special. It started, of course, with Sir Paul and U2 doing "Sgt. Pepper's." Somehow, the false notion has gotten around that this is the first time McCartney ever played the song live. One press release suggests the claim comes from Paul himself, apparently suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's. It's also in a press release on U2's Website. Even Jim DeRogatis, who should know better, bought into the lie. I don't know the first time he played it live, but it was definitely in the set during his 1989 U.S. tour. The song also appears on the Back in the U.S. CD from his 2002 tour. Maybe they just meant it was the first time he played it with U2. (and speaking of "Sgt. Pepper's," why do they insist that the first line is a reference to Live Aid. Sure, the first concert did happen twenty years ago, but is that the only reason they opened with "Sgt. Pepper's"? If Live 8 had happened last year or next year, would they have scrapped the idea entirely?)
I'll just mention a couple of things that annoyed me in the ABC special. The Who played "Who Are You," but the coverage opened in the middle of the song. Maybe nowadays we know it more as the CSI theme song and people have forgotten that Roger Daltrey actually gets to sing some lyrics in the beginning. And we got the historic reteaming of Roger Waters with the rest of Pink Floyd (which we all know is not the original line up, of course). I wondered whether ABC would bleep or just drop out the mention of "bullshit" in "Money," but when David Gilmour got to the line, they masked it with what sounded like some odd sort of crosstalk. Had I not been paying attention, I'm not sure I would've noticed that they'd meddled with the tape at all.
Not to be too cynical about the whole enterprise, but I guess we now get to relax for another twenty years until we again notice that Africa remains in utter poverty and we all get together to do it again.