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 ‘UB40’ Category
Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
UB40 live 1980 to 1982
UB40 emerged out of the renewed interest in reggae during the punk and new wave movement of the late 70s and early 80s. UB40 were formed by Robin Campbell, his younger brother Ali, Earl Falconer, Brian Travers, James Brown, and Norman Hassan, who were all friends in Birmingham. They recruited Michael Virtue and Astro and aligned themselves to left-wing political ideals, naming themselves after an unemployment benefit form. I first saw them live during the summer of 1980 around the time of their debut single “King / Food For Thought” which reached the UK Top 5. I saw UB40 twice in the same week at Sunderland Mayfair on 23rd July 1980, and then supporting the Police at Milton Keynes Bowl on 26th July 1980.
UB40’s music was very different to anything else at the time. Political lyrics, sung over reggae rhythms with some lengthy instrumental passages, with horn solos and some rap and scat singing. Visually they were also very different, with so many musicians on stage. I remember going to the Sunderland gig having only heard “Food for Thought” and being pleasantly surprised by their performance.
UB40’s first album “Signing Off” was released in September 1980. The album cover shows a yellow British UB40 unemployment benefit card from which the band took their name, stamped with the words SIGNING OFF, signally that the band were leaving the world of unemployment and had arrived on the music scene. “Signing Off” went to No. 2 in the UK and stayed on the album chart for 72 weeks. I saw UB40 twice more, at Newcastle City Hall on 9th June 1981 & 19th January 1982. Both of these were great, fun gigs.
UB40 setlist from 1980: Tyler; My Way of Thinking; Burden of Shame; Strange Fruit; Adella; One In Ten; I Think It’s Going to Rain Today; Summertime; King; 25%.
Encore: Food For Thought; Little by Little
“Ivory Madonna dying in the dust, Waiting for the manna coming from the west.
Barren is her bosom, empty as her eyes, Death a certain harvest scattered from the skies.” (Food for Thought, UB40, 1980)
The Police Milton Keynes Bowl 26th July 1980
Rockatta De Bowl
Support Acts: UB40; Squeeze; Tom Robinson’s Sector 27; Skafish
DJs: John Peel (who else) and Jerry Floyd
Not one of the best one day festival events that I’ve attended, but by no means the worst. It’s a long drive from the North East to Milton Keynes, and it seemed an even long drive back after standing all day getting soaked….
I went with a car load of mates; we had all recently discovered the Police and were quite big fans at the time, having seen them several times in Newcastle. This was the first big concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl, and it was organised by the same people that ran the Reading Festival. The Bowl is, as the name suggests, a natural round amphitheatre; “the site was a former clay-pit…filled in and raised to form an amphitheatre using sub-soil excavated by the many new developments in the area and it has a maximum capacity of 65,000. The arena is open-air grassland, without seats.” (Wikipedia). It was by no means full for the Police concert; reports suggest that around 25,000 people attended. There had been a lot of rain in the days leading up to the event and as a result, the bowl was a bit of a quagmire…. The line-up was interesting. I don’t recall whether or not we arrived in time to catch Tom Robinson and his new band Sector 27. I do remember SkaFace who were greeted by a hail of cans, and retreated after a few songs, the singer’s face was quite badly cut. Squeeze were good, as always; they can’t be anything other than good with those catchy pop songs like “Up The Junction”, and great hooks. UB40 were a big hit, with their reggae rhythms drifting around the bowl. There was then a long wait before The Police hit the stage, during which it poured down. The weather and the wait put a damper on things, and I remember that the Police were good, but I couldn’t really get into it for two reasons; first I was soaked (no tents or anywhere else to hide from the rain) and secondly I knew that I had a long four hour drive home. Sting had a pretty classy looking new upright bass (was it hanging from the roof on a wire? Or did I just imagine that?) and he led us all through lots of Yo Yo Yo..ing which started to annoy me after too long….
Some reviews from the time:
“The show by The Police in the hitherto rock and roll backwater of Milton Keynes, proved that there are still few greater thrills available anywhere than to witness a group playing at the absolute peak of its prowess and confidence… One is always astonished at any show The Police perform, by the remarkable power they manage to create with the basic line-up of bass, guitar and drums…” (Evening Standard)
“…they showed a move towards a more varied and mainstream approach, while retaining more than a hint of the white reggae style.” (The Guardian)
“They achieved a better overall sound with three musicians than anyone else did with eight… The white reggae beat was certainly conducive to the festival atmosphere, and the tribal chants brought out the football supporter in all of us.” (Sounds)
Police setlist: Voices Inside My Head; Don’t Stand So Close to Me; Walking on the Moon; Deathwish; Fall Out; Bring on the Night; De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da; Truth Hits Everybody; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Driven to Tears; When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around; Message in a Bottle; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Reggatta de Blanc; Next to You; So Lonely