In the UK, they didn't like the f-word... and the Princess Di tribute was so much nicer.
There was some skepticism -- here in America -- about the connection between the cause and the event:
Just 22% [of Americans] said they followed news stories about the concert ...So you can't stir us up with a big rock show? That's a good thing, isn't it? I mean, this cause may be a good one, but it's nevertheless good if we're immune to the use of music for propaganda purposes.
Most Americans (52%) believe the performers take part in such events because it is good for their image. Only 24% say the celebrities really believe in the cause while another 24% are not sure. One rock star who apparently shared that view is Matt Bellamy of the band Muse. Earlier in the week, he jokingly referred to Live Earth as "private jets for climate change."
Only 34% believe that events like Live Earth actually help the cause they are intended to serve. Forty-one percent (41%) disagree. Those figures include 10% who believe the events are Very Helpful and 20% who say they are Not at All Helfpul. Adding to the skepticism, an earlier survey found that just 24% of Americans consider Al Gore an expert on Global Warming.
Given a choice of four major issues before the United States today, 36% named the war in Iraq as most important. Twenty-five percent (25%) named immigration, 20% selected the economy and only 12% thought Global Warming was the top issue.
I watched some of the show. I TiVo'd everything, then fast-forwarded through most of it. I enjoyed Crowded House and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And everyone likes Madonna now. She works so hard. She's still willing to get out on the dance floor flat on her belly and writhe until we are entertained. Alicia Keys is okay, but when she deigned to participate in "Gimme Shelter," she made it very obvious -- to those of us who will always have the sound of Merry Clayton imprinted on our brains -- how much more of a voice it's possible to have.
My favorite part of Live Earth was one of the conservation film clips that I mostly skipped. Some guy was showing off his apartment -- a table he found on the street and the hemp upholstery on his sofa -- to explain us a few of the manifold techniques we could use to save the planet. And then -- this was supposed to seem hip and not comic -- he advised us to wrap presents with metallic paper obtained by turning potato chip bags inside out and washing the grease off it. Oh, that brought back memories of a job I had in the mid-70s that required me to read Women's Day. I'll never forget the article that advised women to make curtains out of pop tops -- remember pop-topping? -- and to save the string from bakery cake boxes and knit it into dish cloths.
It's really easy, by the way, to cut back your consumption of fossil fuels. There's no need to embrace this depressing 70s vibe. But it's funny as hell to see a young hipster recycling it for us with utter sincerity.
IN THE COMMENTS: A hot and funny fight between ace commenter Bissage and planet-famous music critic Steve Simels.