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 ‘Madonna’ Category
Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
Madonna Earls Court London 2001 and Manchester Arena 2004
I guess this should be classed as a guilty pleasure. I’ve seen Madonna twice in concert; in London at Earls Court for the Drowned World Tour in 2001 and at Manchester Arena on the Re-Invention Word Tour in 2004. I also saw her perform at Live 8 in Hyde Park in 2005. Going to see Madonna in concert is an experience in itself. There is an air of excitement and anticipation about her shows like no other; you just know that you are going to witness something different and special. Guilty pleasure or not, you have to hand it to her, this lady really does understand the art of performance, and her shows stand above those of other artists, in terms of their production values, concept and attention to detail.
The 2001 Drowned World Tour was the fifth concert tour by Madonna in support of her seventh and eight studio albums, Ray of Light and Music. The tour was her first outing for some time and featured a major production with many costumes changes, sets and dancers. The show was divided into five segments: Neo-Punk, Geisha-Anime, Country-Western Latin-Spanish, and Ghetto/Urban. The setlist consisted mainly of songs from Madonna’s most recent studio albums, with only a couple of old hits. Each segment had its own theme, stage set and costumes. This was some show. I went with Marie and we were seriously impressed. The tour was a major success and went on to become the highest-grossing concert tours of 2001. The tour eventually played to 730,000 people throughout North America and Europe. The show is available on home video (I still have a VHS copy somewhere 🙂 ).
Set list for 2001 tour: Drowned World/Substitute For Love; Impressive Instant; Candy Perfume Girl; Beautiful Stranger; Ray of Light; Paradise (Not for Me); Frozen; Nobody’s Perfect; Mer Girl/ Sky Fits Heaven; What It Feels Like for a Girl; I Deserve It; Don’t Tell Me; Human Nature; The Funny Song (Oh Dear Daddy); Secret; Gone; Don’t Cry for Me Argentina; Lo Que Siente La Mujer; La Isla Bonita; Holiday; Music
The next time that I saw Madonna was with David at Manchester Arena in 2004. The concert took place on August 15th 2001 which was one day before Madonna’s birthday, and some enterprising fans, from the Madonna “Tribe” and thus known as “Tribers”, decided that we should all sing “Happy Birthday’ to her. I found the full story on http://www.ultimatemadonna.com/:
“The plan to sing birthday wishes to Madonna as a celebration of her 46th birthday tomorrow began as an idea in one forum threads a few weeks ago. Since then Tribers have worked hard on a secret plan on how to get an arena of thousands to sing to Madonna on Sunday night. This logistical nightmare involved informing the management of MEN Arena as well as Caresse Henry [Madonna’s personal manager at the time] of the secret plan. Last night a letter was passed to the Musical Director and Stuart Price [Madonna’s musical director at the time] to involve them too. All expressed their interest and indicated that it was a great idea, but the planning and execution was left to the fans themselves. So Tribers got busy – banners spelling out Happy Birthday were made. Thousands of flyers were printed and handed out by Tribers on the door as people took to their seats and then once again in the sections. The flyers asked the audience to sing Happy Birthday 3 times in between ‘Papa don’t Preach’ and ‘Crazy for You’. Word soon spread and the stage was set. But would it work? Hell did it work! As Madonna started speaking Siedah Garrett interrupted and as one the crowd came together and sang Happy Birthday, the band and the dancers joined in, and the Queen of Pop was overtaken by emotion before thanking them and dedicating ‘Crazy for You’ to them.”
It was a great moment, and made the concert extra special for everyone there. This time Madonna performed several more of her hits which ,for me, gave this concert an edge over the 2001 show.
The central theme of the show was unity versus violence. It was divided into five acts with different themes: French Baroque-Marie Antoinette Revival, Military-Army, Circus-Cabaret, Acoustic and Scottish-Tribal segments. The show began with “The Beast Within”, a recitation from the Book of Revelation. Madonna appeared onstage on a rising platform, striking yoga poses and performing “Vogue”. The Re-Invention World Tour was the sixth concert tour by Madonna, promoting her ninth studio album American Life. Re-Invention was named as the highest grossing tour of 2004, earning $125 million from 56 shows and 900,000 total audience figures. The tour was recorded and a live album/DVD set was released in 2006.
Set list from 2004 tour: The Beast Within (Video Introduction); Vogue; Nobody Knows Me; Frozen; American Life; Express Yourself; Burning Up; Material Girl; Hollywood; Hanky Panky; Deeper and Deeper; Die Another Day; Lament; Bedtime Story; Nothing Fails; Don’t Tell Me; Like a Prayer; Mother and Father; Imagine; Into the Groove; Papa Don’t Preach; Crazy for You; Music; Holiday