Live 8 is over, calls for an end to poverty in Africa have been expressed and more than 1 million fans in industrialized nations around the world have been entertained by 10 free concerts.
Of all the shows on Saturday – in Philadelphia, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow and elsewhere – London’s gathering in Hyde Park boasted the strongest musical cast: Madonna, Coldplay, Elton John, Pink Floyd, The Who, Mariah Carey and, doing a duet of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” Paul McCartney and Bono.
There was also a stellar non-singing guest. Said Brad Pitt from the London concert platform: “By the time this concert ends this evening, 30,000 Africans will have died.” Pitt, 41, used the opportunity to ask that “we the fortunate” push for change.
Yet the ultimate success of the Live 8 extravaganza will be judged by whether the world’s most powerful leaders, gathering this week for the Group of Eight summit meeting in Scotland, will heed concert organizer Bob Geldof’s demands for debt forgiveness, trade concessions and $25 billion in aid for Africa.
“History and the generations to come will judge our leaders by the decisions they make in the coming weeks,” former South African president Nelson Mandela said onstage in Johannesburg. “I say to all those leaders: Do not look the other way, do not hesitate … It is within your power to prevent a genocide.”
As night fell in London, Sting performed “Every Breath You Take” as a message to the G-8 leaders; “We’ll be watching you,” he sang.
Closer to home, in Philadelphia, over the symbolic 4th of July weekend when Americans were celebrating their independence, actor Will Smith called the festivities a worldwide “declaration of interdependence.”
Beamed around the world by satellite, Smith led the audience in snapping their fingers every three seconds, signifying the death rate of children in Africa. Said Smith, taking his cues from the original Declaration of Independence: “Today we hold this truth to be self-evident: We are all in this together.”