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Acts Set For Live 8 Shows That Aim To Bend G8 Ears

June 01, 2005|Randy Lewis | Times Staff Writer

Paul McCartney, U2, Coldplay and Madonna are among more than 60 pop, rock and hip-hop musicians who will join forces July 2 in free concerts in London and four other cities in an effort that is aimed at combating Third World poverty.

Bob Geldof, the Irish rocker who spearheaded the Live Aid concerts in 1985 to raise money to help alleviate famine in Africa, announced the Live 8 shows Tuesday at a London news conference. The concerts are timed to anticipate the G8 summit that gets underway a few days later in Scotland, where leaders of the world's eight richest nations will meet to discuss world issues.

"This is without doubt a moment in history where ordinary people can grasp the chance to achieve something truly monumental and demand from the eight world leaders at G8 an end to poverty," Geldof said. "The G8 leaders have it within their power to alter history. They will only have the will to do so if tens of thousands of people show them that enough is enough."

Joining the aforementioned performers at the London Live 8 show will be Sting, Elton John, Mariah Carey and Snoop Dogg.

Heading the bill in Philadelphia, to be hosted by actor-rapper Will Smith, will be the Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Bon Jovi and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. The Berlin lineup includes Crosby, Stills & Nash, Lauryn Hill and Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, and Andrea Bocelli, Craig David, Youssou N'Dour and Jamiroquai are on tap for Paris. Duran Duran, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have confirmed to play in Rome.

Geldof said the focus this time is on raising awareness, not money. The goal is to encourage G8 member nations -- the U.S., Russia, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan -- to increase aid to impoverished Third World nations and to cancel those nations' debts to the world's richest countries.

The shows will be televised and streamed over the Internet worldwide. The concerts will take place at Hyde Park in London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Circus Maximus in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Details on admission procedures are listed at the event's official website,

Organizers said they plan to hold additional concerts in Russia, Japan and Canada to cover all the G8 member countries, but those details were not confirmed.

"I was very reluctant to do this again," said Geldof, who was joined in London by Live 8 co-organizer Dave Matthews. "I couldn't see how anything could be better than that glorious day 20 years ago, almost perfect in what it achieved.... What could we do that was in any way different? I couldn't be about charity anymore.... Charity will never really solve the problems. It is time for justice -- and 20 years after Live Aid, people now demand it of these eight men."

Live Aid has raised $245 million since July 13, 1985, when simultaneous concerts at London's Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia's JFK Stadium brought together an unprecedented collaboration of pop music talent, including Paul McCartney, the Who, U2, Queen and Sting.

"We will not tolerate the further pain of the poor while we have the financial and moral means to prevent it," Geldof said Tuesday. "What we started 20 years ago is coming to a political point in a few weeks. What we do next is seriously, properly, historically and politically important."

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