NEW YORK - A galaxy of pop stars, appearing in an atlas full of cities, performed at the environmentally friendly Live Earth concert Saturday - creating what might have been the longest, loudest, most-viewed concert in history.
The epic day and night weren’t only about playing. They were also about pleading.
A steady interruption of public service ads broke up the music to nudge viewers to be less piggy about their use of the world’s energy. At the same time, the sheer scale of the event meant Live Earth had to be pretty hog-like itself.
Regardless, the music - as well as the finger-wagging lessons - soldiered on, kicking off in Sydney, Australia, then skipping across the continents over the next 24 - or was that 1,000? - hours. More than 150 stars, from Madonna to Kanye West to a reunited Police, took part in this nine-city, conservation be-in. Green poster boy Al Gore planned to appear at the local New Jersey/New York show at Giants’ Stadium, as well as on the Mall in Washington D.C.
Fans tuning in at home enjoyed far better access than anyone attending a single event in person. MSN covered the globe of shows on the Internet, as did both satellite radio stations, bringing subscribers a lazy Susan of cities at the turn of a dial. TV stations, from Bravo to the Sundance Channel, provided generous access too.
London and New York boasted the starriest lineups. At England’s Wembley Arena, things got going with the reunited Genesis, which pumped out their peppy prog-pop `80s hits like “Turn It On Again.”
In Japan, Rihanna performed Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?” while Sarah Brightman performed her brand of pop-opera in Shanghai. Germany saw Shakira shake her bilingual booty and proved her “Hips Don’t Lie” to be a power source of its own.
In Australia, Wolfmother soared with their neo-70s metal, leading into another reunion - of the great power pop band Crowded House. During their spirited take on “Something So Strong” the lights went out. “Guess they’re saving power,” singer Neil Finn quipped.
Not that everyone did. To cover the event, I had a TV, computer and satellite radio all blowing energy at once. Of course, this event means to encourage saving in the future. Perhaps people will. But even if they don’t, at least they got an often-entertaining show that made inventive use of modern technology and power in an ironic effort to moderate both.