The Gig that was Too Big?

Like much of the world, I was glued to the Live 8 proceedings over the weekend, mostly the London concert. FWIW, I think the Murrayfield gig on Wednesday will probably be much better, partly because it’s in a stadium (sprawling park gigs never really sustain much of an atmosphere), and partly because the line-up looks a bit more to my taste– there are certainly a lot fewer people on the bill that I’d just like to slap.

Politics really isn’t my thing, so I’ll stick to my impressions of the music that was on offer at Hyde Park.

Acts who were better than I expected: Stereophonics (surprisingly good vocals), Madonna (nice choir– shame about the face), Mariah Carey (actually sounded like she could sing, even if she’s as mad as a box of frogs), Keane (generally a pale imitation of Travis, but performed better than Fran and Co on the day), and The Who (could all still have been 21 if you’d shut your eyes).

Acts who disappointed: Paul McCartney & U2 (for the opening song– Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Dirge hardly got the crowd going รก la Rocking All Over the World), Elton John (didn’t play any of his good ones from his pre-American-accent days), and Pink Floyd (more of a kiss-and-make-up stunt than the anticipated psych rock treat).

Acts who were even worse than I feared: R.E.M. (plumbed yet more depths of stripey blue pretentiousness), UB40 (the reggae equivalent of the Black and White Minstrel Show), Snoop Dogg (reading out some sweary words to a backing track still ain’t music, whatever anyone says) and U2 again (as skin-crawlingly self-important as ever, sound about as authentically northside Dublin as I do, and even David Copperfield would have turned down that dove stunt for being too cheesy).

Everyone else performed much as expected, really. It certainly didn’t have the momentous feel of Live Aid about it (which I have to confess never really caught my attention as a 14-year old at the time anyway– I seem to be one of the few who can’t remember what he was doing that day, other than watching the last hour or two). But it goes without saying that I’d love it to have the desired effect.