First-person accounts from people at Live 8 Philadelphia
Backstage Bloggers
Live 8 Philadelphia Review  by Rodney Kim
Hello all, I am live from Live 8 Philadelphia, USA. Gathered along with an estimated 600,000-800,000 people ready in the City of  Brotherly Love to see the concert of my lifetime. I was surprised to see how the Philly police have prepared for the onslaught of people descending upon the 60 acres that make up Benjamin Franklin Parkway. They must have gotten every cop in  Philadelphia to help out. The Live 8 USA leg is set up on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (most famous for the scene in the movie Rocky when Sylvester Stallone runs up the steps).
I am proud to report that  Philadelphia is once again the choice for this monumental Live 8 USA event. It was 20 years ago on July 13, 1985 that Philadelphia hosted the original Live Aid event at the JFK stadium. This time around things are just a little different. It is going to be interesting to see any of the other nine Live 8 venues: Live 8 Tokyo, Live 8 Moscow, Live 8 Rome, Live 8 Johannesburg, Live 8 Berlin, Live 8 Paris, Live 8 London, Live 8 Eden or Live 8 Toronto will be seen on the many large monitor screens available to the gathering masses.  
It's 9am and the thermometer is clockin' it at about 85 degrees. I am glad I came prepared with three frozen water bottled in my backpack. As we headed toward the stage area, I could not help but notice all the Porta-Poddies. There are hundreds of them lined up along the parkway, but from the looks of the crowd, there are not nearly enough. I am sure that by the looks of things; by the end of the day, someone will have their hands full. (not literally of course).  
My trek to Live 8 Philadelphia Begins
Along the way, there are all sorts of venders attempting to persuade you one way or another to buy something Live 8  Philadelphia related. A couple of local radio stations set up booths to advertise their stations and there were other booths like the one that gave away items like Trojan condoms. We passed a ONE booth that was giving out white beach balls emblazoned with the words ONE - MAKE POVERTY HISTORY. I expected that I might see some Live 8 logo beach balls as well, but haven't yet. The people at the ONE booth were trying to give out their educational and information flyers concerning the importance of these Live 8 events, but most people just walked on past. Had they stopped in the press tent, they might have received one of the two books being handed out. A large book was designed to bring us up to date on the issues of poverty and the purpose of the live 8 concerts via news clippings, letters from people like Brad Pitt and essays. The smaller book had black and white photos of celebrities posed with the One armband. It is filled with images of P-Diddy, Kate Hudson, and Cameron Diaz among others. The people that did take a flyer; ending up tossing them on the ground about a block away. What a mess. One guy took a couple and proudly stated that he'd be selling it on e-bay later tonight.  
There are a ton of people sporting the AOL press pass. It was not an actual pass to anything, but a great advertising gimmick to get people to go to their website. These passes were designed to look like  Live 8 Philadelphia backstage passes and remind you that after the Live 8 US concert, you can go back home onto your computer and watch all the Live 8 events on streaming video. Some people were collecting them in the same way people collect colored necklaces in  New Orleans. It had the Live 8 Logo on one side and the AOL web address on the other. I am sure that these things too will be up on e-Bay soon.  
Food Vendors provide laughs at Live 8
I tried calling a couple of my friends to brag about the Live 8 Philadelphia moments, but I couldn't seem to get a call out. By the looks of it, I wasn't the only one. There were a lot of people milling about trying to get reception on their cell phones. I heard that there was a special running screen that would allow people at the live 8 concert in Philadelphia to text message their name and it would be broadcast and run like a marquee in the background of the stage or on one of the many monitors. Technology is king here at Live 8. Digital cameras, cell phones, laptops, police with their walkie talkies, and people running around with their i-pods.  
The food vendors had marked their turf with all sorts of crazy signs like "Ending world hunger one cheeseburger at a time", or "Make Pizza History", "We don't want your money, well yeah we do, buy a Hot Dog" and "Live Eats" and "Live Ate". I guess they were having a little fun the American way - crass and inappropriate. Funny thing is,  Philadelphia has made the charts as the "fattest" city in the USA, and we are host to a concert designed to make poverty history. Pizza joints outnumber fitness clubs 10 to 1.
I have already run into at least seven vendors selling Live 8 Philadelphia bootleg t-shirts and hats. One of the venders was selling embroidered Live 8 Philadelphia t-shirts and Live 8 Philadelphia hats. They look very professional, but I am sure that none of the money is going to Make Poverty History, Live 8, or the Band Aid Trust. I am not sure how I feel about all this bootleg stuff. Bob Geldof said the event was not about money and that all he wanted was our voices. If that is the case, then he shouldn't mind entrepreneurs hijacking his logo in order to spread the word. The  Philadelphia police seem to be too busy socializing to even notice or care about the live 8 t-shirt vendors, so I am guessing that this is not high priority on their list.
Live 8 USA Concert Begins
The tree-lined streets are starting to get more crowded as I get closer to the stage and some people have climbed into the trees to see if they can get a better view. I pass a cop on horseback yelling at some guy to get out of the trees. It'll surely be a long day here in  Philadelphia for both them and their horses.
It is close to 11:30 and it looks like the Live 8 Philly event is about to begin. If seems that in the last 20 minutes the number of people per square foot has increased as the amount of elbowroom decreases. As we get closer, I hear that about 1,000 lucky fans just got upgrades into the  live 8 pit directly in front of the stage. I bet they are happy! They have gated off Eakins Oval and the George Washington Statue. A bunch of photographers are set up with tripods and high power cameras to capture the moments.. A lucky bunch of  Philadelphia cops are there for crowd control and of course have a perfect view of the stage.
The Live 8 USA concert begins with British indie pop stars Kaiser Chiefs as they burst with energy on "I Predict A Riot", based on this first track, I predict that these guys are going to be around for a while. They are energetic and fun to watch. This band is great choice to open the day. Like a double shot of cappuccino, they have woken a lot of people up and they continue through their set with "Every Day I Love You Less and Less" and finish up with "Oh My God". They look like they are wearing outfits like the guys in the movie A Clockwork Orange. I had never heard of this group before, but they are really good.  
Live 8 London Links with the World  
The video monitors flash with Bob Geldof in Hyde Park for Live 8 London concert. The crowd in  Philadelphia screams and Bob Geldof tells us that there are over 3 billion people watching this concert event. He does a brief hello to all the other Live 8 concerts and announces that there are over 1 million people on the streets, welcoming  America to Live 8 and introducing will Smith for his Live 8 Click Moment. Sporting a red 46664 Nelson Mandela t-shirt and white sneakers, he lets us know that we are making history in an event that is "bigger than the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and bigger than the Olympics." As the background monitors clicked gracefully from one Live 8 concert to the next Will Smith asked  Philadelphia to sent a shout out to London, Hyde Park. He next asked the audience in Hyde Park to say "Top of the Morning" to the audience at the Circus Maximus Live 8 event in Rome, Italy. The monitor switched showing the crowd and stage in Hyde Park to showing the crowd and stage in  Rome. Smith next asked the audience at the Circus Maximus to say "Hello" to the people at the Brandenburg Gate at Live 8 Berlin, Germany. The monitors switched again and we saw what appeared to be Claudia Shiffer in  Berlin. Next was the introduction from the people at the Brandenberg Gate to the audience at live 8 France (Paris) at the Palace of Versailles. Smith then asked the audience at the Palace of Versailles to say hi to the people at  Park Place in Ontario (Live 8 Canada). Each time he introduced a country the monitors switched to display images of the people at the other various Live 8 events and the interconnectedness of it all was apparent. He ended asking the audience at  Park Place to say "What's Up? to my family here in Philly". I was surprised that they left out Live 8 Japan, Live 8 South Africa, and Live 8 Eden Project.  
Will Smith Finger Click Moment - Every 3 Seconds
Onstage behind Will Smith was a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence. Smith mentioned that we are all created equally. He mentioned that today we are all gathered for Live 8 to make our declaration of interdependence. He mentioned that we are "all in this together".  
Smith introduced a short video explaining that every 3 seconds a child in Africa dies from a preventable disease, hunger, malaria or TB. He next began coordinating a spine tingling demonstration that will remain for a long time in my memory. When the video has ended, Smith asks the Live 8 audience to raise their hands and snap their fingers every three seconds. As we did, the monitors flashed showing all the other Live 8 venues, and the people in other countries doing the exact same thing. We witnessed hundreds and thousands of people snapping their fingers at the same time. This will probably be the highlight for everyone's day.  
He begins the introduction to the ever-changing Black Eyed Peas. Now here is a group that the crowd can get into. They start off their set with the outstanding sing-along "Where Is the Love?" Behind them the video monitors light up with images of African children. It is followed up with a crowd favorite "Let's Get it Started", although more than half the crowd was singing "Lets Get Retarded" Next, "Don't Phunk With My Heart". Most of the guys in the audience are trying to get a good look at Fergie. BEP completed their set with Bob Marleys' classic track "Get Up! Stand Up!" Unfortunately, microphone difficulty has made this set wane a bit, but their performance with Ziggy, Rita and Steven Marley, pretty much made up for the malfunctions. The obvious symbolism in with the closing track was not missed - "Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight."  
Bon Jovi and Destiny's Child at Live 8
At about 1 pm, Don Cheadle, actor and star of the hit movie Hotel Rwanda provide introductions of to Bon Jovi. Don was of the many actors that decided to show their support for Live 8 Philadelphia by providing their introductions.  
Bon Jovi began their Live 8 set with a rousing "Livin' On a Prayer" Jon Bon Jovi was sporting a tight brown shirt Elvis looking shades. The crowd knew all the words and Ritchie Sambora hit all the right notes. A lot of scantily clad girls climbed top their boyfriends' shoulders to get a better look at the boys. They kept up the momentum with "Have a Nice Day" Ritchie Sambora switched to a double neck guitar which was pretty cool and they finished up with "It's My Life". Bon Jovi still has a lot of spunk and the sound quality of their set was great.  
Actor and comedian Chris Tucker presented Destiny's Child. I could not believe the roar of the crowd at that moment. You would think that he just announced Springsteen just arrived. It must be the heat or something. I know they are popular, but this trio was getting a lot of yells, screams. And cat calls. Destiny's Child reunited in to support Live 8 Philly, but their uninspiring performance was a bit of a disappointment. Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle may look hot, but their performance was lukewarm. They began with "Survivor", did "Say My Name" and finished with "Girl/I'll Take You There". They are beautiful girls but they were not nice to the ears with their disharmony. Most of the guys in the audience were glue to the video monitors in hope of seeing up Beyone's dress. Tucker seemed to be a big fan as he watched their performance from the side stage until they were done. I was hoping that Jackie Chan would have joined Chris for his introductions at Live 8 Philly.  
Jesus Walks with Kanye West at Live 8
Before his performance, rapper Kanye West spoke of the war in Iraq, the recent tsunami and the AIDS epidemic in Africa  and then made an ignorant statement questioning if all of Hitler's dreams coming are true "to only have one race left?" He might be a good performer but his statements had nothing to do with the issues at hand and the more he talks, the worse it seemed to get.  
Kayne West had a ton of energy for Live 8 Philadelphia as he started up with "Diamonds", a song about talks about diamonds from West Africa and  Sierra Leone. He next hit "All Falls Down". West presented "Jesus Walks" in front of an all-female string section outfitted in short black skirts and dark stripe-like masks over their eyes. He delivered some of the unforgiving words of the day, stating "politicians who drive home in their Bentleys every night and watch thousands of Africans die."  
The crowd shows Kayne West some love by raising their hands above their heads and displaying The Rockafella sign. For those who don't know this is a hand gesture that forms a diamond.  
After Kanye West, actress Natalie Portman sporting a shaved head introduces the video feed of Coldplay from London Live8 show. (Her shaved head is due to a role in an upcoming movie titled V for Vendetta) It looks like the people in the London Live 8 show are having a blast. From the background and the sky, it looks like it is a bit cooler there as well. Natalie is a good speaker and even with a shaved head is pleasant on the eyes. Her words for the Live 8 crowd seemed genuine. She is most popular for her role in Star Wars as Queen Amidala, ruler of the peaceful planet Naboo. It is different to see her with hair. In her role in Star Wars, her hair styles seemed to change from minute to minute.  
Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff in Philly Live 8
Will Smith; Philadelphia's hometown host and hero made his entrance on a throne carried by a couple of his dancers. The people of Philadelphia Live 8 got a good laugh as he sprung to life like a tiger. Will did "The Champ Is Here" and an introduction to Jazzy Jeff and started in on "Getting Jiggy With It". The background dancers looked to be having a lot of fun, as did a lot of the girls in the audience. It was cool to watch the break-dancers doing windmills. Will had total control of his set. What looked like makeshift high school band drummers hit the stage as Smith did an extended shout out to Philly during "Switch". This track is a definite crowd pleaser. He did a follow-up with "Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Theme" urging the crowd to sing the words to the song. I was surprised at how many people know the words. Feeling a little out of touch as they did a fantastic "Summertime".  
It is getting real hot here at Live 8 Philly. The air is heavy with the smell of horse manure. There are tons of water stands to take advantage of the masses. At $1.75 for 16 oz of water they are going to make a killing. The crowds don't seem to mind the fee. I guess it is a small price to pay to keep from getting heat stroke. I have already seen about 4 or five people being attended to by paramedics. There is a couple of Red Cross aid tents set up. They can be found by looking up for the floating red inflatable balls marked with a white cross. The fire department had hoses attached to cranes and provided some of the crowds on the Beltway with relief with light spays of water from above.  
Toby Keith and Dave Matthews Play Live 8 Philly
Members of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles were greeted with cheers, as Dhani Jones (#55- LB) wearing his trademark bow tie, Ryan Moats (#23-RB), Quintin Mikell (#27-S), Adrien Clarke (#61-G), and LJ Smith (#82-TE) introduced country star Toby Keith. Toby Keith hit the stage strumming his classic black guitar emblazoned with the FORD logo in the red cap and sunglasses. It is nice to see a change in music style for Live 8 Philadelphia. He begins with "Whiskey Girl". Toby must have forgotten what day it is as he wishes everybody "Happy 4th of July to everybody and  America". He kicks up hit heels with the song "Stays in Mexico".
Natalie Portman came out again, this time to introduce Dave Matthews and his band. I found out today that Dave is originally from  Johannesburg, South Africa.  
Dave Matthews Band sporting a gray striped shirt came out and began his set with "Don't Drink the Water". The crowd got into the groove from the track "Dream Girl". A light and airy track that seemed to drift it's way along the parkway and into the trees. The saxophone solo in the middle of the track reminded me a little of Bradford Marsalis' doing his sax thing for Sting back at the original Live Aid concert. They followed that with "All the Things I Have Done" and ended their set with "American Baby" "This is a good day to be outside," he said between songs. "Someone told me more than a million people came today--that says something." Dave Matthews was later quoted saying that he thought world leaders were paying attention to the cause even if they weren't "rocking out" to the music. It was a little strange watching some of the video during the Dave Mathews set. MTV was playing video clips of Live Aid from JFK in the background. I understand the tie in but thought they could use some more up to date video. The crowd enjoyed it though. "It's a great honor to be here, sharing the stage with so many amazing people," he said. "And it's also a great honor to stand in front of so many of you."  
Alicia Keys, Linkin Park and Def Leppard Play Live 8
As the audience watches a piano is rolled out and the crowds cheer thinking that maybe Stevie Wonder is up next. Alicia Keys comes out. Before she plays, she speaks a couple of minutes about life and death and mortality. She does a beautiful song titled "For All We Know" and gets up and says goodbye. I think the rest of the crowd is thinking the same way that I am - we got cheated. She only sang one song and she was awesome. The audience was stunned. My biggest disappointment of the day was that they had only enough room for one of her tracks. I would have surely traded a Destiny's Child number for another track from Alicia Keys.  
I get a phone call from a friend and miss most of Def Poetry, and next up Linkin Park hit the stage. The crowd snarls with excitement. It is evident that they are one of the most popular musical acts of the day. Almost immediately they have all of Philly clapping in sync with their precise drumming and crunching guitars. They rocked the crowd as they did "Crawling", "Somewhere I Belong", "Breaking The Habit" and "In The End". During the song "Breaking The Habit", random images flashed with random characters and a number 1014. It was like some cryptic message. I don't know enough about the band to know what this means.  
During a break, DJ Green Lantern spun records and mentioned the recent passing of R& B singer Luther Vandross.  
It's about 4:20 when Def Leppard takes the stage kicking into "Pour Some Sugar On Me", these old school rockers are met cheers, but a lot of people in the crowd have decided that the day is over and the crowds thin a little. They seem well rehearsed and next up is a Badfinger cover tune "No Matter What". They finish their set with "Rock of Ages"  
Jars of Clay, Sarah Mclachlan and Maroon 5 at Live 8
Live 8 Philadelphia is treated to Kami the HIV Positive Muppet. I am told by a very wise miss-know-it-all that Kami is a healthy HIV positive muppet that appears on Takalani Sesame. ( South Africa's version of Sesame Street). Apparently this character was designed to help teach tolerance and understanding to children at a young age. The end result is that the children of South Africa are better informed about aids. Miss- know it all tells me that "Takalani" means "be happy". Since I don't have kids, I was unaware of Kami.  
Contemporary Christian rockers Jars of Clay seemed a little out of place and the crowd reaction is not as strong as it should have been. A good portion of the band's fan base comes from the Christian rock world and I guess they weren't out in numbers to show support. Jars of Clay turned in a solid set by my standards with "Show Your Love" and "Flood". Jars have been involved with helping out in  Africa since 2002. They started an organization called Blood: Water Mission that works toward combating poverty and AIDS in Africa. The organization works to raise money for the purpose of building clean water wells. A fellow concertgoer told me that they have already built 42 wells in  Africa, helping thousands.
Chris Tucker introduces Sarah Mclachlan. Sarah covers "Fallen", "World On Fire" "and a wonderful duet with Josh Groban, "Angel"  
Maroon 5 hit the stage with fire in their belly's. "Harder To Breathe" a lot of people in the crowd lip-synced the lyrics to "This Love". They did "She Will Be Loved" and the crowd swayed in tune. The one thing I can say about this band is that they did a nice job switching between the poppy "This Love" over to their "She Will Be Loved". I actually thought this was a bold move. I know the track is popular, but at first it seemed a little slow. The crowd loved it. Basking in the sun like cats. Girls moved in closer to their boyfriends and grabbed them around the shoulders. Maroon 5 hit Philly Live 8 right in the face as they ended their set with a cover of Neil Young's famous track "Rockin In The Free World". I think it kinda woke everybody up (in a good way). I wonder if we'll get to see Neil Young on the big monitors. I heard that he was going to be playing at the Live 8 Canada show today. That would be awesome.  
Keith Urban and Rob Thomas at Live 8
Actress Naomi Watts takes the stage to introduce the next country act, Keith Urban. It takes me a couple of seconds to recognize her. She was in that scary movie The Ring and 21 Grams. Keith Urban, is one of the four country superstars chosen to play Live 8 today. (The others are Tim McGraw and Faith Hill who play at Live 8 Rome) The scruffy Keith Urban; wearing a simple white t-shirt with the word Poverty with a circle slashing through it starts in with "Days Go By". He slows things down a bit by taking the acoustic guitar and doing "You'll Think Of Me". He next pleases the audience with a Phil Collins cover titled "Another Day In Paradise". Keith completes his set with "Somebody Like You". He doesn't look too much like a country star. Actually he reminds me a bit of how Bryan Adams used to look.  
Actor Jimmy Smits introduces Rob Thomas. Rob took the Live 8 Philly stage wearing a Nelson Mandela T-shirt. (A lot of the musicians today seemed to be shopping at the same store. The shirt bares the number 46664, which was Nelson's number during his incarceration) Rob started up with "Something To Be", and then did "Lonely No More". Just like Maroon 5, Rob Thomas did a nice job of moving between tempos. He sat on stage playing small white keyboard for "3am"(probably Matchbox 20's biggest hit). This is nice slow track that he handled with solid vocals backed by backing singers. The crowd especially enjoyed his insertion of a couple of lines from Steve Millers song Space Cowboy during this song. Thomas ended up a high note with "This Is How A Heart Breaks". My favorite track was "Lonely No More". For some reason he kind of reminds me a little of George Michael.  
Stevie Wonder Finishes up at Live 8 USA
Actor Richard Gere introduced Stevie Wonder. I personally don't like Gere and can't remember when the last time he had a hit movie (save Dick Tracy - and that was a disaster). I can't help but notice that Richard looks a lot like Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.  
Stevie Wonder walked out on stage at the end of the day wearing what looked like a fancy white tablecloth of a muumuu. He sat at his keyboard to start his special kind of magic with "Master Blaster" he was joined on stage with Rob Thomas for "Higher Ground", he also covered "A Time To Love" "So What's The Fuss" Adam Levine of Maroon 5 joined him for "Signed Sealed Delivered". Next up were "Shelter In the Rain" and the finale of "Superstition". Wonders 11-piece band danced bobbed and weaved with the sweet sounds of bass floating in the air. I think I saw Paula Abdul on the side of the stage dancing and grooving in a flamenco-style dress. Stevie Wonder took his bows and walked off stage.  
No surprise guest, no Prince or Michael Jackson, No Bob Dylan or David Bowie. Live8 without David Bowie seems kind of odd. What a fantastic day. My brain is still trying to process all the information and great acts that I have just witnessed. To actually be at another Live Aid event, is truly a honor. I don't know how many people can say that they were lucky enough to be at BOTH of the most watched concerts in history; Live 8 and Live Aid.  
My feet are killing me and I still have to catch a train. I might as well get a cheesesteak as well, after all - this is Philly.