Here are a few more responses to my questions about Live 8, the bulk of which were posted yesterday here:
Carl Wilson writes about music for the Globe and Mail, and blogs at Zoilus
Could the Live 8 organizers have tried harder to come up with a list of performers that makes you think less about poverty? The U.K. list in particular, with its three Sirs and their supporting retinues of gone-to-mush veterans (R.E.M., Sting, Madonna, etc.) and mush-from-the-get-go upstarts (Keane, Coldplay, Dido, Snow Patrol), calls to mind luxury seat covers and quality timepieces, not shantytown scrabble and global debt. In this context, on the U.S. list 50 Cent actually comes across as socially relevant, which takes some doing. At least in France, they offer Manu Chao and Youssou N'Dour, whose lives and work have some relationship to the issues at hand -- and in Berlin, the Live 8 show I'd most willingly attend, the list is so crazy (in several cases, literally) that it just might work -- but otherwise, the roster thuds with middlebrow taste.
If I got a veto, in the U.K. I think I would remove Joss Stone -- if you're not going to have any black performers, don't compound the insult by having a white performer whose shtick is to sound black. (Arguably this would eliminate all rock musicians, but you have to draw the line someplace.) In the U.S., I would can Dave Matthews, because I understand it to be a sacred duty to eliminate Dave Matthews' music wherever it rears its soulless, tousled head. Let Missy Elliott take his place, please. The G8 really needs to get its freak on.
In that spirit, in the U.K., I'd try to have a showcase of London "grime" acts -- led by Dizzee Rascal, surely, but with a whole community's worth of other MCs and producers such as Wiley, Kano, Lady Sov and others onstage to make the point that poverty and racial issues do begin at home. The Brits get so into looking sternly across the Atlantic at everyone else that they don't hear the rattling in their own engine. In the U.S., which has exactly the opposite problem, I would load up the bill with performers from abroad -- the likes of Caetano Veloso, Rachid Taha, Cheb Mami, Salif Keita and the entire cast of Buena Vista Social Club, if you could get them visas -- perhaps duetting with American stars, to get the crowd's attention. (I bet Big & Rich could get into a country-and-rai set.) In continental Europe, I'd break up the old crooners with a few fresher voices (maybe Keren Ann from France, Jens Lekman from Sweden -- and what, Björk wasn't even invited?) and send over whatever branch of OutKast was available, as well as the White Stripes with Loretta Lynn, as a challenge to the anti-American xenophobia that does its own bit to mess up international cooperation on the issues that matter.
Scott Lapatine blogs at Stereogum
I'd like to see all the original '85 performers reunite for Live 8. Isn't it supposed to bring attention to world poverty? Who better to speak for the poor and starving masses than Andrew Ridgeley? Also I would like to see Phil Collins travel to all five events, à la his '85 transatlantic triumph, but he's probably too old for that. Maybe Kaiser Chiefs would be up for it?
David Gutowski blogs at Largehearted Boy
1. Who would you have asked to be in the concerts?
Since the concerts are highlighting world poverty, I would have world music at every venue.
2. Who would you drop from the current lineup?
The geezers on the downhill slope of their careers. Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Bon Jovi, Crosby, Stills & Nash ... were Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow not available? And just because Bob Geldof put together the concerts doesn't mean he should get a performing slot.
3. If you could choose any one of these concerts to go to, which would it be?
The London show has more performers I wouldn't mind seeing (Scissor Sisters, Snow Patrol, Muse) than the others, but none enthrall me.