It is said that a great concert can change the face of the
world. While many bands entertain the idea of one day achieving
such a level of influence, few have seen this dream come true.
However, when the greatest musicians alive gather across every
continent behind the banner of a single unifying cause, then the
world truly can change.
The Live Aid (1985) and Live 8 (2005) concerts organized by
musical icons Bob Geldof and Bono became so phenomenally successful
that they have become almost synonymous with the causes they sought
to defend. The pioneer in the genre, Bob Geldof, never rested on
his laurels despite raising close to US$283.6 million for poverty
alleviation in developing countries by Live Aid.
However, while the format remains the same, the upcoming Live
Earth concerts to be held in seven locations worldwide will seek to
raise a similar level of attention for environmental concerns.
Former US Vice President Al Gore rose to become one of the
world's foremost eco-warriors in 2006, with his Oscar-winning
documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore's battle would
not stop there and on February 15, 2007, he announced the kickoff
of Live Earth, a series of concerts to be held across every
continent on July 7, 2007, featuring some of the world's most
accomplished singers and bands to raise both money and the profile
of the environmental causes he fights to defend.
In an exclusive interview with China.org.cn, Yusef K. Robb,
global spokesperson for Live Earth, revealed that the man
responsible for making Live Earth a reality was none other than
Kevin Wall, the former executive producer for Live 8.
"Kevin Wall was deeply moved after watching An Inconvenient
Truth and set out to put on Live Earth to raise popular
opinion and to take action against global warming. Live Earth will
see a series of concerts held for 24 hours over every continent
with over 100 headliners appearing. We estimate this will reach a
global audience of over 2 billion people watching live, on TV, on
the Internet and listening on the radio," Robb said.
Robb told China.org.cn that all proceeds from the shows would be
given exclusively to The Alliance for Climate Protection among a
number of international NGOs that will be tasked with furthering
the momentum garnered by Live Earth. Robb also pointed out that the
people inspired the project are more important than the funds alone
since they will be the ones to make the Alliance's desired changes
Final details on the exact nature of related audio and video
products are still being worked out, he added.
The series of concerts will kick off in Sydney and the call will
be taken up by events in London, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo,
Johannesburg and Shanghai before concluding in New Jersey. The
original plan for the US leg was to hold the concert in front of
the Capitol Building in Washington DC, seat of the legislative
branch of the US government. However, this was changed after
Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma blocked the plan,
calling global warming "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the
Live Earth is seeking to give Al Gore's message, the very one
contained in An Inconvenient Truth, a worldwide platform,
said Robb, adding that the interest and profits garnered that day
would only form the first step of a long process that will continue
"Live Earth will use music to bring people together, to reach
them emotionally. It will use all available methods to get across
the need for all of us to take action against global warming and
make clear the tools people can use to make a difference.
Altogether, this will mark the beginning of an international
foundation led by the Alliance for Climate Protection and its
chairman, Al Gore."
Robb also shed some more light on the line-ups the concerts
would be presenting. The US and the UK legs look to be the most
glamorous, with London welcoming such acts as the Black-Eyed Peas,
Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and New Jersey rocking out to
the tunes of Bon Jovi, the Police and Alicia Keys among many
The planning of the Shanghai stop is less advanced than its
Western equivalents with no fixed location having been set and only
one act, soprano Sarah Brightman, having so far been confirmed.
Although Robb remained tight-lipped about precise details about
the Shanghai concert, he promised that full information would be
released soon and sought to explain why Shanghai had the honor of
being chosen as a Live Earth concert host.
"Shanghai is not only a major Chinese city, it is also a world
capital," said Robb. "China is growing at a rapid pace with an
incredible number of new cars, factories and buildings expected in
the next few years. As such, we hope China will become a leader on
global warming and that Shanghai can be a guiding light in many
There is little doubt that the energy, will, devotion, and
passion behind Live Earth will call out to people as Live Aid did
before and great hope exists that an uprising of understanding and
determination will stem from this musical extravaganza. Climate
change is an issue that nobody can afford to ignore, that no one
can blithely brush aside, tasking later generations with bearing
As Robb concluded, Live Earth will spark the birth of a
long-term fight back to reclaim the damages already wreaked by
global warming. The events of July 7 will have a profound impact,
one that must be dwarfed by those in the weeks, months and years to
(Zhang Rui and Chris Dalby for China.org.cn, April 25, 2007)