Live 8 launch
RACHEL BULLER He said it would never be repeated, but yesterday, some 20 years after the first remarkable Live Aid concert, Sir Bob Geldof was back in front of the cameras unveiling plans for his next instalment.
He said it would never be repeated, but yesterday, some 20 years after the first remarkable Live Aid concert, Sir Bob Geldof was back in front of the cameras unveiling plans for his next instalment.
And by all accounts, his hopes for this year's concert are no less ambitious than they were on that momentous day two decades ago.
Back then, Sir Bob's angry demands that people hand over their money were beamed into living rooms the length and breadth of the country.
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This time round, his demands are easy – he simply wants us to change the world.
Speaking yesterday, he said Live 8 was a concert that was “not for charity but for political justice.”
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Sir Bob said Britain was presented with a unique opportunity “to do something unparalleled in the world, and especially at the beginning of the 21st century, and that is to tilt the world a little bit on its axis in favour of the poor, and that's not a difficult thing to do.”
Organisers hope that music will once again act as a catalyst to increase awareness about Third World poverty across a wider audience.
And, as it is timed to coincide with the G8 summit in Scotland, when leaders of the world's eight richest countries will meet and discuss the future of African countries, the political impact could not be better.
The Live 8 concert will take place in London's Hyde Park on July 2 and will feature some of the world's biggest stars from U2, Coldplay and REM to Robbie Williams and Madonna.
Young pretenders such as the Scissor Sisters, the Killers, Joss Stone and Keane are also on the bill, along with original Live Aid performers such as Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John.
As well as the concert in London, there will also be Live 8 shows held in Philadelphia, Paris, Rome and Berlin which will see performances by Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Duran Duran and Jamiroquai.
The whole event will be televised and shown on big screens in cities across the UK – with a worldwide audience expected to number billions.
Sir Bob told yesterday's assembled media: “We arrived here today because I was very reluctant to do this again, I couldn't see how anything could possibly be better than that glorious day 20 years ago, almost perfect in what it achieved and the day itself.
“What could we do that was in any way different? It couldn't be about charity any more. We knew too much. The continent in those 20 years ... has gone into economic decline by a factor of 25pc. The result of that is we see people dying on TV screens every night. This is finally, as much as we can, to put a stop to that.”
He said he could not think of a bigger political problem in the 21st century, or one with greater consequences.
Other stars will be announced over the coming weeks – with the Spice Girls still rumoured to be staging a reunion, a rumour Sir Bob did nothing to quell yesterday.
“I spoke to them this morning and it's looking very good. There's a lot of stuff they have got to sort through. They are trying to resolve differences of many years.”
Entry to the UK concert will be free and a text message lottery will determine who will be able to get their hands on the 150,000 priceless tickets.
At 8am on Monday June 6 a multiple-choice question will be broadcast on TV and radio, and will also be printed in newspapers. Then members of the public will text in the answer and after seven days a computer will randomly choose the lucky winners, who will each receive a pair of tickets.
Line-up for the London concert:
t Mariah Carey
t Sir Elton John
t Annie Lennox
t Sir Paul McCartney
t Scissor Sisters
t Snow Patrol
t Joss Stone
t Robbie Williams
t Velvet Revolver
t Bob Geldof
t The Killers
t The Cure