I had planned, really, to say nothing. To keep quiet. Simplistic answers to a complex problem offered by the rich and famous who could, I argue, use their own considerable personal wealth to change the plight of Africa, to say, I don't know, buy medical supplies and send it over on one of their private jets, is simply an alternative simplistic answer. Like the concert that doesn't address the capitalist concerns that I believe are at the heart of the problem. And like I said, I planned to ignore it. Keep myself entertained. Avoid it. Years later, when someone said to me, "Where were you during Live8?" I planned to say, "Sleeping? This is Australia, we didn't have any music. We just wrapped a bit of the Harbour Bridge up and no one paid any real attention."
But U2 released doves, and flickr and technorati are filled with words and images and I couldn't help myself. I began touring. I found the notes from various people at the gigs and so, here I am, writing this post (note: none of the images come from flickr. I'm snagged them from news sites). I'm going to drop little bits of the BBC blog comments through it, like so:
1952, Ian Youngs, BBC News at Hyde Park
To reinforce his message, Bob Geldof introduced a survivor of the 1984 Ethiopian famine. It was an emotional moment and proved to the crowd they could make a difference. But the embarrassed-looking young lady was then dragged around the stage by Madonna during her first song. The clash of serious message with frivolous pop suddenly became a little uncomfortable
Time to begin. Snapshots about Live8 from the web. How was it perceived?
At the BBC, David Stubbs writes, "Geldof has been a spectacularly tireless fund raiser. But inevitably, given his profession, he is addicted to the spotlight and despite his reputation as a plain and profane speaker, rather too chummy towards the powerful over the years - be it Prince Charles, the Pope, Mother Teresa, Tony Blair or George Bush. But these people front the very institutions - church, empire, Western states - that can be argued have done little to alleviate African misery. They should be interrogated, not cosied up to. Geldof's un-punkishly conciliatory stance to these people creates the illusion that, as with the tsunami, "no one is to blame"."
1723, Bob Geldof, Hyde Park
Walking onto the stage to perform his hit I Don't Like Mondays with Travis, he said: "I just had to play on this stage."
Unsurprisingly, Stubbs' views are one of the few of public cynicism, and you can dismiss Stubbs eventually for his final comments that list Coldplay and Dido who, with their innocuous pop, are apparently part of the problem, rather than being representative of a world turning towards conservativism more and more. While I don't disagree with the sentiment, neither band nor singer have attempted to become political, such as U2 have, and thus make poor examples of 'the problem' as Stubbs sees it. After all, if you're looking for the band that is the benchmark for bland and innocuous pop, there's no one better than U2, but since their return to guitars and drums, the band has become somewhat bullet proof to this criticism.
1912, Madonna, on stage at Hyde Park
Are you ready to start a revolution? Are you ready to change history? I said, are you ready?
1920, Lucy, from East Sussex, at Hyde Park
I'm just here to watch the bands, really.
Of course, that doesn't for a moment, forgive anyone who finds something meaningful in Kanye West's lyrics.
Still, Live8 wasn't all about the music.
1650, Tristana Moore, BBC News, Berlin
There are thousands of people here and the sun has just come out in the last hour. The whole road behind the Brandenburg gate leading up to the Victory column is absolutely full of people. The police were expecting 100,000, but now they estimate that 150,000 to 200,000 people have turned up.
Journalist Sharon Cobb has a list of comments from the Famous People who took stage at Live8. Unsurprisingly, they don't have anything to say, except that they're pleased to be here and people are dying. One of the richest (if not the richest individual), Bill Gates, said, "The huge turnout for Live 8 here and around the world proves that thanks to the leadership from people like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown the world is beginning to demand more action on global health and poverty."
1600, Jamie, via text from Liverpool
I thought when Bill Gates introduced Dido, he was going to start singing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I was gutted when he didn't!
Returning to U2, lead singer Bono has been doing the rounds to promote the cause and the day. His comments, however, have been reported as being twisted to mean the very opposite of what he apparently believes. In other words, Bono still believes that the Bush Administration is filled with sleazy pricks who are going to weasel out of promises if they can find a way. And why not? It's hard to believe that the Bush Admin has become such a humanitarian group after refusing to become part of the Kyoto Agreement and cutting aid to organisations that offer abortions.
On the net, however, Live8 commentary has continued. It is, naturally, about the music.
At one stage through the event, the One Girl Revolution (who was blogging it) hoped that Robbie Williams would be ""too drunk to perform Angels. Fingers, toes and internal organs firmly crossed."
1831, Robbie Williams
I just got in off a plane from America yesterday and I'm a bit tired. I haven't done anything for two years, I haven't played a gig for two years.
Shortly after this, however, she revealed an unhealthy obsession with Coldplay's Chris Martin: "They kept showing his lips. Oh, gods, why? I have a hard time reining in my hormones as it is right now! It's all important stuff going on here.
1457, Chris Martin, speaking on BBC Two after performing
It felt like a long, long way to the actual crowd. Who were all those people up the front?
1400, Ian Youngs, BBC News, Hyde Park
The crowds are still flowing in and Hyde Park is filling up. But even the first punters in have found they cannot get within about 100 metres from the stage. They are behind the golden circle - for competition winners, corporate ticket holders and media. And it still has a lot of empty space. Those in the front rows proper look a little aggrieved.
Did you know people were selling their Live8 tickets online? Geldof had a rant against ebay for allowing it to happen, and so the scalpers had to find alternative outlets. Meanwhile, however, over at ebay, the debate about scalping continued. This is my favourite comment from someone called Easyfox.
MY WIFE & DAUGHTER SENT ABOUT 12 TEXT AND WERE LUCKY TO GET A PAIR OF
TICKETS EACH. THEN HAD TO PAY FOR THEM TO BE POSTED. NOW WE FIND OUT THAT 15000
'GOLDEN CIRCLE' TICKETS HAVE BEEN SOLD AT 400 QUID EACH TO CORPORATIONS. HAVING
NOW FOUND THEY HAVE NO CHANCE TO GET CLOSE TO THE STAGE THEY WISH TO SELL THE
TICKETS...NOT ONLY HAVE THEY PAID FOR THEM BUT THEY WERE NOT TOLD ABOUT THE
15000 PEOPLE STAKED OUT IN FRONT. ITS A BIT RICH BOBBY BOY MOANING ABOUT SELLING
TICKETS WHEN HE HAS! E-BAY HAS BOTTLED IT BIG TIME. THIS IS AN AUCTION SITE
SUPPLY AND DEMAND. IM JUST SOMEONE WHO HAS TICKETS WE MAY NOT USE. THEY MAY JUST
GO IN THE BIN AS I CANT CONTACT BUYERS
1612, Ziad, via text
Watching on TV from Kuwait. Coldplay and Richard Ashcroft brought tears to my eyes!
The net, however, reveals that Live8 was primarily about the gig coverage for people who wanted to watch the music. MTV, in a shocking turn of events, was useless (shocking, absolutely shocking) and so old rock fans had to download their Deep Purple sets. But there's nothing wrong with that, and I only point it out because there's a real absence of dialogue from anyone about what it is that Live8 will achieve, what the problems are for the poor nations, and how it impacts on them in their daily.
Live8 is just an entertainment.
2209, Ian Youngs, BBC News, Hyde Park
A message is being flashed up saying the show will finish after 2300 - more than hour and a half late. People are being urged to leave early.