Sunday, July 03, 2005

live 8 and an all american music weekend

I can't remember the last time I watched MTV. I think the "M" now stands for "moronic" because they sure as hell don't play much music any more. But yesterday I checked in on MTV several times, looking at Live 8 -- and specifically, looking for the Pink Floyd reunion.

Early in the day I saw the little video they ran several times, educating the masses on what Live 8 was supposed to be about -- describing what the G8 Summit is (the annual meeting of the heads of government of the Group of 8, featuring 7 of the world's biggest economically advanced democracies -- US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and reflecting a decision made years ago that I'm sure the others now regret, Russia) touching on the World Trade Organization, just trade, famine, etc. The video and comments by Bob Geldof, Bono, and others I found touchingly naive. They wanted yesterday's concerts to help convince the leaders to do more for Africa. Although I'm sure Tony Blair appreciates the help for his initiative to double aid to Africa, the concert will of course make absolutely no difference to the Summit later this week. These G8 things are scripted events; the Live 8 organizers should have held their concert in April, and should have played for the actual organizers (called "sherpas" -- as in guides to summitry, get it?) instead.

Anyway, at about 6:30 or so in the evening (US east coast time) I saw Pink Floyd come on stage for their set. Great stuff -- so good to see Roger Waters rejoin his former mates Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Roger Wright on stage after so long. They played "Breathe" and "Money" off of Dark Side of the Moon, the title track to Wish You Were Here (with Gilmour rededicating the song to former bandmate Syd Barrett), and from The Wall, "Comfortably Numb." The guys sounded great, the London audience was going wild -- and VH1 broke away halfway thru "Comfortably Numb" for a commercial. I was so mad I became uncomfortably numb. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know VH1 and MTV have to earn a living, but you'd think for a concert for a cause like this -- and for a set by one of rock's greatest bands ever, featuring a reunion between estranged bandmembers who hadn't played together in over 20 years -- that VH1 could have waited the extra 3 minutes to go to commercial.

I didn't watch too much else. Paul McCartney's set was great, and proved that the old Beatle can still rock; George Michael joined Macca on "Baby You Can Drive My Car," taking a mercifully brief break from his current obsolescence. Green Day did a good cover of the Queen hit "We Are the Champions" in Berlin. Madonna came out on stage; I listened just long enough to snigger at her faux British accent and quickly turned off the TV. Coldplay was good, but unfortunately, I missed The Who. I caught a song by Good Charlotte from Tokyo which wasn't bad, and I saw several rap acts -- "saw" because I mute rap, I can't stand to listen to it. Although it won't change a damn thing for Africa, it was certainly an impressive set of shows.

The local classic rock station this Independence Day weekend is doing an "All American Weekend" -- American acts only. Ironically, the promo song is "We're An American Band" by CANADIAN rockers The Guess Who, who's other American song "American Woman" is actually an anti-US protest song about US imperialism in Vietnam -- and ironically, the number one song in May 1970 when the Ohio National Guard killed four students protesting against the war at Kent State.

But anyway, the All-American angle is a fine gimmick for the 4th of July, but just imagine an entire weekend of classic rock without the masters: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, the Who, and the Kinks. No U2, no Rush, no Queen, no Scorpions. No Clapton, whether solo or with the Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, or Derek and the Dominos. No David Bowie, with or without the stardust. Led Zeppelin, keep away from that stairway. Deep Purple, hush. Black Sabbath, please don't be paranoid about being excluded. AC/DC, keep your hells bells to yourself. Yes, no.

Can Aerosmith, Dylan, Hendrix, the Eagles, Bruce and the Allman Brothers carry an entire weekend? Oh well, I did get to hear The Knack's ode to teenage lust "My Sharona" yesterday -- hardly classic in the old sense of the word but always fun to hear. Oh shit, Johnny Cougar Mellonfuckingcamp is coming on and probably Heart will be up next, I gotta put in a CD. Some Pink Floyd, I think. Without commercials.