Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
I was so excited about this event for three reasons: firstly because I’d been in Wembley Stadium for Live Aid, secondly to see The Who, and thirdly and most of all to see Pink Floyd again. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) all went, staying the weekend in London. I’d managed to get tickets for the Gold Circle which took us right down the front, next to the stage, so we had an excellent view of the entire day’s proceedings.
Bob Geldof opened the proceedings, followed by Paul McCartney with U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (It was 20 years ago today! Wonderful). Then U2 performed “Beautiful Day” (with a verse of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”), “Vertigo”, “One” (including a segment from “Unchained Melody”). Coldplay were next up and played “In My Place” with a section from “Rockin’ All Over the World” (cheeky; Quo should have been on stage performing this, but weren’t invited although they of course opened Live Aid), “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (joined by Richard Ashcroft), and “Fix You”. David Walliams and Matt Lucas then came on stage in the role of their Little Britain characters Lou and Andy and introduced Elton John who played “The Bitch Is Back”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, and “Children of the Revolution” (with guest Pete Doherty). Bill Gates was then next up on stage to introduce Dido who sang “White Flag” and “Thank You” and “7 Seconds”with Youssou N’Dour.
Stereophonics were followed by REM who were introduced by Ricky Gervais. R.E.M. performed “Imitation of Life”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”. Then Kofi Annan introduced Ms. Dynamite who was followed by Keane and Travis. Bob Geldof joined Travis to sing “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Brad Pitt was next on stage to introduce Annie Lennox, then came UB40, Snoop Dogg and Razorlight.
Bob Geldof then introduced 24-year-old Birhan Woldu, the starving Ethiopian child whose image was so powerful in the video shown at Live Aid. Madonna took to the stage, embraced Birhan and held hands with her as she sang “Like a Prayer”.
Madonna was followed by Snow Patrol, The Killers, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, and Velvet Revolver (good but a bit out of place at this event). Then Lenny Henry presented Sting who sang the same songs as he performed at Live Aid: “Message in a Bottle”, “Driven To Tears”, and “Every Breath You Take”. Next Dawn French introduced Mariah Carey who was amazing, and David Beckham presented “his friend” Robbie Williams who got the crowd really going with “We Will Rock You”, “Let Me Entertain You”, “Feel”, and “Angels”. Peter Kay sauntered onto the stage and couldn’t resist singing “Is This the Way to Amarillo”.
Now we were moving to the legends; the bands that I had really come to see. The Who played “Who Are You”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. They were followed by an event which I never thought I would see, the reunion of Pink Floyd and a breath-taking performance of “Speak to Me”/”Breathe”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here” (real lump in the thrat moment and closed with “Comfortably Numb”. It was left to Paul McCartney to close the show with “Get Back”, “Drive My Car” (with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. He finished with “Hey Jude’ to which everyone sang along, and which seemed to go on for ever. We left Hyde Park as the crowd continued to sing “Na Na Na NaNa Na Na….”). The show was originally scheduled to close at 9.30pm, but seriously overran and went on until just after midnight.
The Floyd reunion was, of course, the real highlight for me. Gilmour announced the reunion less than a month before the gig, on 12 June 2005: “ Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world. It’s crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.” Waters said on stage: “It’s actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we’re doing this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.” The screens showed video from their past shows, and a film of the pig from the Animals flying over Battersea Power Station. This was simply mind-blowing stuff; for me it was a very emotional experience. I found Wish You Were Here particularly powerful; you felt they were singing the song for Syd; which of course they were. Syd sadly passed away the following year. With Wright’s subsequent passing in 2008, this was to be the final concert to feature all four playing together.
A great, momentous day.
Archive for the ‘Bob Geldof’ Category
Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
The Boomtown Rats Newcastle City Hall 1978 – 1982
Blogging every day is turning up a lot of memories for me. I didn’t realise how many times I’d seen the Boomtown Rats. I must have seen them on quite a number of occassions, as I found four tickets and programmes from Newcastle City Hall in my collection, covering the period 1978 to 1982. Actually, the first time I saw the band was before those City Hall gigs, in 1977, at Newcastle Mayfair. I remember that gig well. It was originally going to be at Middlesbrough Rock Garden and still appears as such in published Rats gig lists, however, it was moved to Newcastle at a couple of days notice, I have no idea why. It was a Friday night, which was normally a heavy rock night at the Mayfair and the ballroom was filled with a mixture of rock fans and punks. The Newcastle crowd gave the Rats a pretty hard time, with a constant stream of beer and spit being flung at them. The poor keyboard player, Johnnie Fingers, who was famed for wearing pyjamas on stage, was completely soaked right through. In the end Geldof called a halt to the show and the band left the stage without completing their set. Looking After No 1 had just been released at the time and the band were very much in the news and up and coming. They were the first new wave / punk band to appear on Top of the Pops. The next tour, around the time of Rat Trap brought them to the City Hall. A DVD exists of the Hammersmith show from that tour including live performances of the hit singles Looking After No.1, She’s So Modern, Like Clockwork and Rat Trap, along with other Rats favorites such as Joey’s On The Streets Again (very Springsteenish as I recall) and the audience participation number Do The Rat. They toured pretty constantly over the next few years, on the back of a string of single successes, reaching a peak with the great I Don’t Like Mondays in 1979. I loved that single, and recall being very excited about seeing them on tour at that time. They were great in concert, Geldof a ball of energy, and the band really tight. I also saw them at Knebworth on a show with Frank Zappa, The Tubes and Peter Gabriel, where they seemed out of place and performed early on the day, low down on the bill. My last Boomtown Rats experience was at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium, by which point Geldof had become involved in other things and the band was coming to an end. I’ve never been to see Bob Geldof in concert since, although I did see him at Live 8 in Hyde Park. I also went along to see him receive an honorary doctorate from Newcastle University as a ceremony at the Sage Gateshead, which was a different, and interesting experience. I found a setlist from 1979 on the setlist.com site, which reminded me of some of their old tracks
: Blind Date; (I Never Loved) Eva Braun; Neon Heart; Me and Howard Hughes; Don’t Believe What You Read; Like Clockwork; Rat Trap/Kicks/Joey’s On The Street Again; Living in an Island; (She’s Gonna) Do You In; She’s So Modern; Looking After Number 1; Mary of the 4th Form; Do the Rat. Encore: I Don’t Like Mondays. Looking back, they had some pretty great singles. I’d forgotten Like Clockwork, I can picture Geldof tick tocking the intro. Do The Rat always signalled some pretty manic dancing. To summarise my thoughts, the Boomtown Rats were a fun live band, high energy and much more pop than they were punk or new wave. Geldof was amazing on stage, a dynamic front man who truly engaged the audience. For some reason I’d almost forgotten them, or how good they were at the time. I still play stuff by contemporaries the Clash, Jam, Damned and the Pistols, but would never play a Boomtown Rats track. Perhaps that something I should remedy. The Boomtown Rats have reformed, without Geldof, in recent years, and have toured a couple of times. I wonder what they are like these days.