The Age ran an interesting and quite critical piece on Live 8 yesterday.
One of its themes is a line that irritates me a little. The romanticisation of the idea of music ‘changing the world’. But the article does make the point that this time around, for all his scruffiness, Sir Bob is pretty much an establishment figure and that the concerts made only the most token efforts to involve those who were not mega-celebrities. This was a bit of a theme of commentary at the time (not many Africans on stage) and Bob was pretty vocally pissed off about the criticism.
Live 8 was also free for concert goes whereas tickets to the earlier concert raised money for aid. Now Geldof’s pitch was that this time it was different because this time policy and the pollies were targetted. Its fair enough and perhaps right that this be so. But I’m not sure that walking and chewing gum (targetting the pollies AND raising some cash oneself) mightn’t have been more rather than less than the sum of its parts. Surely people joining in to raise money and giving up something themselves adds engagement to the cause.
My impression – though there would have been people who have observed it a lot more closely than me – is that Live 8 came and went and is almost forgotten already in the many 24 hour news cycles that have followed it. It helped bring about a major policy change. I guess that’s the main thing because it should bring billions more dollars to Africa than Live Aid did. But somehow it’s made less of an impact on our consciousness than its forbear.
Even if I’m right in this criticism, I’m still a fan of Bob Geldof.
But I’d be interested in others’ thoughts.