Celebrity Charity: How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

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Celebrity Charity: How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

Celebrity Charity:

The other day, wanting one thing to ruin up the rotation of my T-shirt cloth wardrobe, I reached for a memento I hadn’t feeble in years.

It’s a tie-die shirt commemorating the Are residing eight concert occasions, a series of performances by pop stars huge and puny across the globe, aiming to strain governments and multinational companies to attain debt relief for struggling African nations upfront of the upcoming Community of eight (G8) conference. It turned into as soon as quite an enormous endeavor, spearheaded by rocker-grew to alter into-activist
Bob Geldof, who’d taken on the utilization of rock celeb to shine a gradual-weight on world issues as his calling. It fell almost Twenty years to the day after Geldof staged Are residing Abet, a day of concert occasions in Philadelphia and London to support alleviate famine in Ethiopia. This turned into as soon as a residing off Geldof first engaged by producing the charity single “Attain They Know It’s Christmas?” the outdated 365 days.

My T-shirt lists the acts performing at Philadelphia on the entrance; and the acts performing at Paris; London; Berlin; Rome; Edinburgh, Scotland (the website of the G8 conference); and Barrie, Canada (north of Toronto) on the support. Concerts had been added in Japan, Moscow, and Johannesburg; either this took operate after the shirts had been printed or organizers didn’t try to encompass all these other lineups on one support.

Album image from Pexels (modified) Pixabay License

Total, the lineups had been heavy on world rock superstars enjoy Paul McCartney and U2, with standard nationwide favorites filling out the slates. That turned into as soon as the simpler — or so it turned into as soon as thought — to scheme world consideration to a accomplishing easiest world economic policy wonks, and Africans thought powerful about. Among these performing at some level of the field that day had been:

  • Red Floyd (in a one-time-easiest reunion of the everyday quartet lineup) and Elton John in London;
  • Andrea Bocelli and the Treatment in Paris (my shirt lists Jamiroquai because the headliner there, however they canceled, claiming they’d no belief they’d been booked for the performance);
  • Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, and DMC (with out Hurry, however with the much less-favorite half of of Aerosmith for “Stroll This Method”) in Canada (Tegan and Sara canceled on account of illness; Neil Younger closed the heed with “O Canada”);
  • Brian Wilson, Roxy Track, and Inexperienced Day in Berlin (Crosby, Stills & Nash and no longer-yet-Ms. Lauryn Hill are listed on my shirt, however both acts canceled);
  • Annie Lennox, Travis and James Brown (!) in Edinburgh;
  • Bjork and Merely Charlotte in Japan;
  • The Pet Shop Boys in Moscow; and
  • Duran Duran and Faith Hill & Tim McGraw in, of all areas, Rome (Hill and McGraw had been listed on the shirt as headliners however performed in direction of the heart of the heed; Duran Duran didn’t make it to the shirt).

At the backside of the shirt is the concert date: July 2, 2005. How convenient of me to excavate it merely because the tournament is coming near its fifteenth anniversary.

I offered the shirt on the Philadelphia heed, where I turned into as soon as residing on the time. I wrote about the heed, and the soft native urge-up, for this very magazine (“After I Mutter ‘Debt’ You Mutter ‘Assist‘: Are residing eight in Philadelphia”, 6 July 2005); if I remembered extra about that day I would add it right here, however I create no longer. It’s good to try the Wikipedia page for a same old history of the realm tournament; there are moreover quite loads of videos of performances from the concert occasions on YouTube.

Destiny’s Runt one at Are residing eight Philadelphia in 2005. (CC BY-SA 2.Zero / Wikimedia Commons)

Now 15 years on, Are residing eight is quite powerful a memory that lives on, probably, within the backside of T-shirt drawers internationally. Hundreds of the performers that day are unruffled doing their issues (Keith City, Madonna, Coldplay), others are caught for your ’00s time pill (Dido, Robbie Williams, the Kaiser Chiefs). Destiny’s Runt one isn’t any longer a on a atypical foundation working community, however its lead singer has done okay for herself within the years since. South Africa’s Fortunate Dube, Canada’s Gordon Downie, and France’s Johnny Hallyday are amongst folks who occupy handed. It’s good to very well be in an reveal to title Willow Smith’s final anecdote extra mercurial than her dad’s.

Basically the most evident factor about the lineups is that easiest one Africa-based entirely mostly act, Senegal myth Youssou N’Dour, turned into as soon as scheduled on the time of that T-shirt’s printing to build at any of the presentations. (The shirt said he’d be in Edinburgh, however he ended up closing out the Paris heed alongside with his worldwide hit “7 Seconds”.)

Otherwise, the African presence on Are residing eight phases that day turned into as soon as scant. Among the meager number had been South Africa’s Mahotella Queens in Edinburgh; the African Guitar Summit, a community of 9 African expats residing in Canada; Cote D’Ivoire’s Alpha Blondy in Paris; and the African Kid’s Choir, who backed up Mariah Carey on one song in London.


Pondering the concert turned into as soon as supposed to focal level on making existence better in Africa, Geldof and other organizers had been rightly called out for the absence of performers from the continent, or anyplace else within the African diaspora for that subject (outdoors of the Philly heed, your complete headliners on the preliminary payments had been white). That is how Snoop Dogg and British rapper Ms. Dynamite got tacked onto the London heed, and why they added the Johannesburg concert. It’s moreover why Peter Gabriel, a champion of African issues and musicians for longer than Geldof had been and with far extra road cred, organized a counter-concert in England with an all-African lineup (hosted, it appears to be like, by Gabriel and Angelina Jolie), Africa Calling.

Became Are residing eight a hit? Relies upon on whom you quiz. Geldof turned into as soon as elated with the G8’s pledge to develop support to Africa by $25 billion. Restful, there would no longer appear to had been any lasting effort from any Are residing eight-linked entity to make certain that that money took operate. But they did sell an poor lot of CDs, DVDs, and T-shirts; it be no longer straight definite to what reveal ends that money went, since no one powerful bothered to independently track that earnings. Ten years after the tournament, Forbes magazine concluded the effects had been decidedly mixed.

Its preferrred legacy could possibly very well be as a signature tournament within the prolonged history of tune celeb charity efforts. It comprises multitudes, beginning in earnest with The Dwell performance for Bangladesh, produced by George Harrison in 1971. There could be the story “check your egos on the door” recording session Quincy Jones convened to make ” We Are the World;” the Farm Abet concert occasions spearheaded by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Younger; high-profile occasions after the 11th of September attacks; a 2010 telethon after earthquakes ravaged Haiti; concert occasions after the 2015 Paris nightclub bombing; the One Like Manchester concert in 2017; and powerful extra than I’m able to mercurial checklist right here. It moreover comprises a broad number of charity albums, including the sequence of Red Hot albums produced within the strive in opposition to in opposition to AIDS.

“Are residing 8s” As of late

After all, we occupy viewed a brand fresh round of such efforts lately, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and protests in opposition to police brutality and racial inequality. They’ve ranged from the impressed to the tone-deaf (the aforementioned “Attain They Know It’s Christmas?” unruffled ranks high on that dishonor roll), as has powerful celeb activism in newest years, especially on social media. The ever demonstrate presence of celebrities weighing in on the issues with the day, to regardless of appropriate it accomplishes (or no longer), is a theme of Dave Chappelle’s most newest Netflix special, eight:forty six and turned into as soon as amplified by Allison Herman at The Ringer.

Hold all these high-profile occasions made a distinction? Doubtlessly for the simpler, if the money raised went properly to companies easiest disposed to employ it effectively. Hold they shifted the stage of consciousness about their causes? Yes, on the very least within the moment of the tournament, however what occurs after all individuals leaves is anyone’s bet. Attain they switch the needle in direction of lasting substitute, and if that is the case, how far? The cynic in me says “no longer powerful, if in any admire”, however I would no longer know the method one can quantify that. The easier quiz could possibly very well be: what extra or much less form are we in to commence with, if we desire a mega-well-known particular person to elaborate us Africa is struggling, or to wear a conceal within the midst of a virulent illness, or that Shadowy lives indubitably function subject?

Curiously, Geldof himself thinks the moment for such friendly-scale, dwell charity concert occasions has handed. “…That instrument of substitute isn’t any longer plausible. Rock and roll turned into as soon as the central spine of our tradition for 50 years. The gain has damaged down the field into individualism and that is easy for authoritarians to employ,” he lamented to the Each day Mail support in March 2020, merely before the pandemic took tackle in The United States.

Despite the indisputable fact that dwell concert occasions by worldwide stars could possibly no longer be essentially the most traditional system to generate mass enhance for a residing off (whenever such concert occasions could possibly conceivably happen as soon as more submit-pandemic), the apply of musicians raising their voices is never any longer ending anytime soon. Not too prolonged ago turned into as soon as “Shadowy Energy Are residing”, a web based succor concert this past weekend for organizations supporting the Motion for Shadowy Lives, that comprises progressive young Shadowy artists equivalent to Miguel, Blood Orange and Doja Cat. Once more, it would very well be price some extraordinary journalist’s time to apply the money from these original efforts to gauge their appropriate effectiveness, if the organizers themselves don’t present such disclosure.

As it took operate, Are residing eight — and the urgency of African debt relief — atypical from the American limelight as soon as Philly picked up the trash. Eight weeks later, it turned into as soon as superseded by a catastrophe far nearer to home: Hurricane Katrina, and the devastation it brought upon both Novel Orleans’ already-fragile infrastructure and its folks (and yes, that devastation lingers on, 15 years later). It’s good to very well be conscious there turned into as soon as a celeb concert then too. This one had the suited sense to feature proper Wide Straightforward performers singing about their fatherland. Restful, it be almost definitely easiest is named the predominant time Kanye West made up our minds he had one thing to recount.

But while the field of celeb charity concert occasions has modified markedly since July 2, 2005, one factor hasn’t modified: a Stevie Shock performance is unruffled a stunning, beatific tournament.

And with that, comfortable fifteenth anniversary, Are residing eight. Hold the wrestle. And thanks for the shirt.

* * *

Works Cited

Chapelle, Dave. eight:forty six. Promotional. YouTube. Accessed 29 June 2020.

D’Agostino, Ryan. We Are the World: Inner Pop Track’s Most Authorized All-Nighter”. Esquire. 24 June 2020.

Edmunds, Chantalle. “Bob Geldof claims Are residing Abet would no longer happen as soon as more on the original time for the rationale that web has made the field ‘too individualistic'”. Each day Mail. 10 March 2020.

Forrest, Adam. “Did Are residing eight Work? 10 Years On, The Debt Burden Returns”. Forbes. thirteen July 2015

Herman, Allison. “The Celebrities Are Not All Upright“. The Ringer. 23 June 2020.

Kantor, Jacqueline. “Gun Violence Is Devastating Novel Orleans. Wide Freedia Desires to Live It”. The Ringer. 25 June 2020.

Reynolds, Mark. “After I Mutter ‘Debt’ You Mutter ‘Assist‘: Are residing eight in Philadelphia”. PopMatters. 6 July 2005.

Spangler, Todd. “Beyoncé Visual Album ‘Shadowy Is King’ Coming to Disney Plus”. Differ. 28 June 2020.

West, Kanya. “Kanye West Hurricane Katrina”. YouTube. three March 2006.

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