Live 8

July 2, 2005

The concert line-up: Alicia Keys, Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, Def Leppard, Destiny's Child, Jars Of Clay, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Josh Groban, Kaiser Chiefs, Kanye West, Keith Urban, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, P Diddy, Rob Thomas, Sarah McLachlan, Toby Keith, and Stevie Wonder.

Would there be any surprises with the line-up at Live 8? There was no surprise of the heart. Somewhere between hundreds of thousands and a million and a half people... all with a good thought in mind and an open heart came together in Philadelphia for a giant free concert. The result -- it sure felt good!

That's what I went to see. That's what I got.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by some bands that I had never respected. For various reasons, some of the bands that were scheduled to play had always been on my "I hate those posers" list. But, since the crowd was open hearted, I thought I try to be open minded.

In particular, Toby Keith, Def Leppard, Linkin Park and Maroon 5, had been those over played radio bands that hadn't moved me. Maybe it was the two dimensional aspect of recorded music? Maybe it was having heard certain songs too many times? Maybe it was me trying to be contrary to popular opinion? Maybe it was all of the above. However, on this day, I had decided to give them a chance. Here were the pleasant surprises:

Toby Keith -- what is that type of music... country? Whaterver it was, sounded good. And, the cover of Phil Collins', Another Day In Paradise hit the spot.

Def Leppard -- rocked. Though they had fallen from popularity in the past few years, it didn't slow them down on stage. One hit song played after another hit song got the crowd going.

Maroon 5 -- kicked butt on a cover of Neil Young's, Keep On Rockin' In The Free World. I mean they really showed their ability as live performers. Even songs that sound bland on the studio recordings, turned into "in your face" versions when played live.

Linkin Park -- blew the crowd away... I lost sight of them when the port-a-pots became grandstands. As soon as they took the stage, the crowd transformed. It felt like the size of the crowd doubled. When they hit the first note of "Numb", the place went wild. You could have lit-up Philly's lights for a week if you could tap into the energy of the crowd.

There was no surprise with Stevie Wonder. I'd always imagined he was a special presence. And, he is. Higher Ground elevated the masses and knocked the funk out of 'em. I suppose the surprise with Stevie was his ability to have had Toby Keith, Def Leppard, Maroon 5 and Linkin Park as warm-up bands, yet still be able to transcend all ages and time.

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