Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Live Earth: Live - Hour Nine: 22:33PM 

It's All My Life and the Foo Fighters as we hit the penultimate act on the days long, long trek through the somewhat random world of globally aware acts. We're not quite sure when they achieved 'national treasure' status, but when even our parents are going to see them live they must be doing something to get mainstream acceptance with out actually sounding like a mainstream band. Although certainly Dave Grohl's reluctance to go for more than a month without dressing up in women's clothes would undoubtedly endear him to the lazy comedy section of British society - Little Britain, we're looking at you here - but while you could almost expect the BBC to have cut Metallica's set short, it seems unthinkable that they'd do the same to the Foos, even though they don't exactly have many more tunes than the hairy ones - well, hairier - and so it was. From All my Life they launch straight into My Hero - perhaps this was the point that the Brits took them to their hurt, their theme song for the 'hilarious' Ardal O'Hanlon sitcom - before Times Like These gets dedicated to Al Gore, with Dave reading out the lyrics like they're a work of great poetry, rather than a slightly banal collection of cliches which really don't work without the music. Best of You and Everlong close the set, along with a bit of spitting from Dave. "Should we just play all night??", asks Dave. The crowd roar their approval and you almost begin to think it might be a good idea.

And so, like Planet Earth itself, this whole thing must eventually come to an end, but not before Terence Stamp makes one of the the more awkward on stage appearances we've ever had the misfortune to witness. There to introduce Madonna, he also attempts to get across a number of environmental messages, but for an actor he's remarkably uncomfortable with the act of public speaking, coming across embarrassingly stilted and awkward. Eventually he gets to the point of his appearance, introducing the big switch off, where Wembley turns off all of its non-essential lights as a symbolic gesture, although given that all these lights had been burning solidly for the last ten hours a thirty second switch off couldn't have been anything but. Interestingly, along with emergency lighting, fire exit signs and similar, Terence's spotlight counted as essential lighting. Whodve thought? But with all that out of the way, it's time for the headline act, Madonna.

She opens with Hey You, her song written especially for the event and dear god, it was bad. We'd heard all the rumours but even they hadn't prepared us for exactly how awful it was going to be, she even roped in a school choir to provide backing vocals FFS. The lyrics to the song flashed up behind her, with all the S's replaced by dollar signs. She thinks she's being subversive, bless. Although frankly, if we'd written those lyrics we'd be doing our best to distract attention from them, rather than highlight them.

Still, with that out of her system, Madonna can now actually entertain. "Motherfuckers", she declares, somewhat rudely, "I want the whole place bouncing". Despite her lack of manners the crowd complies as she launches into a guitarry, thrashy, really rather ace version of Ray of Light, about a million times better than the original, which about as bouncy as a gravel pit. Her dancers are also dancing like we tend to do in clubs, only they actually look good doing it. This is probably because, unlike us, they're actually doing it in time.

Her "Romany friends", Gogol Bordello to the rest of us, are roped in for La Isla Bonita, but while Ray of Light's reworking was ace, La Isla Bonita ends up sounding more like a holiday band attempting a not very good Madonna cover. This segues into Hung Up for which a now skirtless Madonna, looking like the mum of the slutty Sandy in Grease, dances inside a disco cake stand, humps a boombox and does some bad breakdancing before her set and, indeed, the show itself comes to an end. She thanks London, hands over to New York and buggers off, leaving Wembley to try and work out exactly whether what they've just seen was actually worth splashing out on.

So, we've just spent nine hours of our life watching the Live Earth concert and, on first impressions at any rate, the world does not appear to be saved. We're beginning to think we might have wasted our time...

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: Unicorn, the giant planet eating robot from Transformers: The Movie, possibly the finest ninety minute commercial ever to grace cinema screens..

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