“The most important thing you can do [to help the environment] is to get involved in the political process and get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington, DC who are nothing more than corporate toadies for these villainous companies that consistently put their private financial interests ahead of American interests and the interests of the entire humanity,” said Robert Kennedy, Jr. to loud applause between sets by Kanye West and Bon Jovi. “This is treason, and we have to start treating them now as traitors.”
That was the mood last Saturday under temperatures that neared 100 degrees at Live Earth, the global concert that included in its international editions performers like Angelique Kidjo, Jorge Ben Jor and Lenny Kravitz. The New York edition (which was really in New Jersey, as Jon Bon Jovi proudly pointed out) began at around 2 PM with R&B singer Kenna and Scottish-born singer KT Tunstall, who told us backstage that she thinks “it is the beginning of a collective consciousness of a problem – if you know that what you do affects someone in China and someone in India affects you and your potential children, then it's kind of a bit of a revolution, when people are starting to have mutual respect to each other."
The first bands initially played to a half-filled stadium – ticket holders waited to enter later as better-known acts such as John Mayer and Leavenworth, KS-born Melissa Etheridge, who played a passionate rendition of her “Imagine That.”
Later in the evening, Alicia Keys played a tight set, followed by animal researcher Jane Goodall, who spoke about how climate change is endangering her beloved chimpanzees in Africa.
Pink Floyd's Roger Waters took the stage and played an energetic set that included “In the Flesh,” “Us And Them” and “Another Brick in The Wall, Part II” while his trademark inflatable pig flew around the stadium. Before going on, he spoke to the press telling us about the impact from this kind of concert (Live Aid, etc) over the years. “I've been watching television today, and I've been quite impressed with the way Al Gore's message and the extension of his work on An Inconvenient Truth has been presented throughout the world,” he explained, “and this gives us the opportunity to actually feel the sense that we're all brothers and sisters in a very small blip of a planet and we really need to pull together if there's going to be any kind of a future for our children.”
The moment that most of the audience had been waiting for came at 10 PM when actress Cameron Diaz introduced the Police, who ended the 24-hour global marathon with “Roxanne,” “Can't Stand Losing You” and finally “Message in A Bottle,” when they were joined on stage by Kanye West and John Mayer. Al Gore then returned to the stage (introduced by Sting as “our guest bass player”) and bid the audience good night.
Those who couldn't get tickets saw the concerts on the Internet - MSN streamed the entire event (all 9 shows) as it unfolded, which had one of the largest online audiences ever, with more than 10 million people logged on at one time.