Geldof vs. Gore

Charity concert impresario Bob Geldof has some harsh words for Al Gore's Live Earth concerts.

Published May 15, 2007 8:30PM (EDT)

If anybody is qualified to criticize the upcoming Live Earth concerts, it's Live Aid and Live 8 impresario Bob Geldof. And, in fact, Geldof has come out with some harsh words for Al Gore's star-studded global warming get-together.

Speaking to Dutch newspaper De Volkrant, the former Boomtown Rats singer recently accused Live Earth of being redundant. "I hope [the concerts are] a success," he said, "but why is [Gore] actually organizing them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody's known about that problem for years. We are all fucking conscious of global warming."

Furthermore, Geldof contends that the event, which will take place in seven cities on July 7, lacks decision-making heft. If he were organizing it, he said, he would make sure he "could go on stage and announce concrete environmental measures from the American presidential candidates, Congress or major corporations. They haven't got those guarantees." Consequently, Geldof said, Live Earth will be "just an enormous pop concert or the umpteenth time that, say, Madonna or Coldplay get up on stage."

The Live Earth Web site offers little to refute Geldof's dismissal. A section on the site labeled "About Live Earth" lays out the closest thing to a mission statement:

"Live Earth will use the global reach of music to engage people on a mass scale to combat our climate crisis. Live Earth will bring together more than 150 of the world's top musicians for 24 hours of music from 7 concerts across all 7 continents. Live Earth will bring together an audience of more than 2 billion at the concerts and through television, radio, film and the Internet. That audience, and the proceeds from the event, will create the foundation for a new, multi-year global effort to combat the climate crisis led by Vice President Al Gore."

There's little doubt that the inevitable media blitz and some serious star power (the Police, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alicia Keys, the Beastie Boys, etc.) will be enough to earn Live Earth a massive audience and, yes, raise awareness and money. But as Geldof notes, where it will direct the collective energy of its assembled masses -- and what specific impact it can hope to have -- remains to be seen.

-- David Marchese

By Salon Staff

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