Monday, July 9, 2007

Live Earth Review: Even Better Than Expected

Just got back from Live Earth in New Jersey, and it definitely exceeded expectations. It was worth the price of admission just to able to cross "see Bon Jovi do 'Livin' on a Prayer' at Giants Stadium" off my "things to do before I die" list.

It was a fantastic show, from KT Tunstall at 2:30pm all the way to The Police at 10:30pm. The Dave Matthews Band's performance was probably the best of the show, with Ludacris and The Smashing Pumpkins also impressing. After some great high-energy performances, it was a little awkward to have the last two acts (Roger Waters and The Police) average around 60 years old.

And no, The Police don't rock as hard as they used to, but Andy Summers is 65, how much can you expect? It wasn't until Kanye West and John Mayer came out to join them on "Message in a Bottle" that their set really peaked.

From an environmental perspective, here are three things I liked about the show and three things that could've been better:

- Concerns about the show's environmental impact were addressed. There were three waste bins behind every section -- recycling (for bottles), compost (for cups, napkins, and anything else biodegradable), and trash (for everything else). Food was served in paper or cardboard containers, and drinks and utensils were Greenware, made from corn. Shuttle buses were provided from New York City to the site.

- Whoever booked and produced the show should be immediately hired by the UN to solve the climate crisis.
There wasn't a single weak link in the acts or in the speakers. Thanks to a rotating stage that slashed the time between acts to just a few minutes, well-timed speakers, and highlights from other shows on other continents, there were only a couple of very brief breaks in the action for the entire eight hour show.

- This was not preaching to the choir.
I heard criticism on NPR on the drive up that An Inconvenient Truth only reached those who were already true believers. The crowd certainly contained its share of damn dirty hippies, but it was mostly just pop music fans. When the Garden State's own Bon Jovi hit the stage to one of the loudest ovation's I've ever heard anywhere, I turned to The Green Girlfriend and said, "If you're from Jersey, this isn't Live Earth, this is a Bon Jovi concert." Impossible to say how many (if any) converts were won, but a new audience was definitely reached.

- Muddy messaging. The seven point pledge Al Gore outlined from the stage wasn't mentioned until halfway through the show, and I didn't see it in writing anywhere in the arena. I managed to find the pledge on the Live Earth website, but I had to click three links to get it. There were green tips posted on banners hung on the concourses around Giants Stadium, but they were hung so high, The Green Girlfriend didn't know they'd been there until I mentioned them on the drive home.

- Organic useless crap is still useless crap.
Like at any music festival, there were tons of companies giving away free junk, but they tried to pass it off as OK because it was organic or made from recycled materials or whatever. We turned down most of it, but at least the Phillips necklace/ticket-holder had a card inside touting the virtues of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

- Big Oil loudly buzzing the stadium. Want to piss off 50,000 music fans? Fly a small plane over the stadium during the live acts trailing a banner to promote your front website attacking Al Gore. I won't give the link here because it doesn't deserve any accidental clicks, but I will tell you an enterprising blogger has found who it's registered to, and I know you'll be shocked to hear the owner has Fox News ties and has relied heavily on Big Oil for funding.


Anonymous said...

The concert was great and the pledge is very ambitious but not very specific for people who don't know how to accomplish each of the points. Hopefully there will be ongoing messages either through television commercials, web campaigns and other public events to reinforce the message and give people specific actions to make it through the pledge.

Anonymous said...

I took the bus (two buses each way, actually) to work today (for free because it's a Code Orange day here in the lovely DC Metro area--and worth every nickel, I must say), in order to fulfill my Live Earth pledge to take public transit at least once a week. Even though the buses were free, there were no lines of eager, shouting fans waiting to get on board. I'm happy the issue is finally getting real public attention, but some major behind-the-scenes work will need to be done before any of these changes start happening enough to make a difference. Easy to get thousands to a great concert. Almost impossible to get anyone on the bus. Even for free.

Mosquito said...

First-- This is a great post Green Mile...Thanks forthe info on th big oil flyover....those corporations...they believe they should own everything...the air, water..even 'us.'

Hopefully folks will so some research and take some personal responsibility.

Hopefully they will also learn that EVERYONE needs to do their part and tha CORPORATIONS should not be left out of the equation...They create alot of environmental problems and need to take responsibility and clean up their act....

And wouldn't it be nice if EXXON would pay the people in Alaska what they owe them for their losses due to the big oil spill...especially when EXXON is making record breaking profits....I refuse to buy EXXON gas b/c of their irresponsiblity!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Great to read a review from a fellow Northern Virginian. I was doing some research for my own blog and was trying to get some first-hand accounts from people that were actually at Live Earth and yours is great. Love the Bon Jovi comment...I had no idea they were still around. I saw some of the concert on tv and listened to the rest on XM and I was impresses with the green "commercials" they had in between acts. Most of them were very clever and more specific as to how to keep things green.
I will definitely check back on your blog for more green goodness.