Former Vice President Al Gore adds "concert promoter" to his resume, as the Live Earth 24-hour music marathon wraps up tonight. The concert series spanned seven continents with rappers, rockers and even a few country stars taking the stage to raise awareness on climate change and global warming.
The musicians and other celebrities encouraged fans to take modest steps to go green, such as unplugging electrical devices when not in use, or, changing to low-energy light bulbs. At the London show, the stadium's nonessential lights were turned off before Madonna took the stage, leaving the mammoth venue dark except for the glow of exit lights and the flashes of cameras.
"Let's hope the concerts that are happening around the world are not just about entertainment, but about starting a revolution," the pop icon told her audience.
The other major venues were at Giants Stadium outside New York City in suburban New Jersey, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hamburg, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro. Each was a technological marvel, from the recycled tire backdrops to the live netcast and the lyrics projected as supertitles.
The former vice president kicked off the American leg of the extravaganza at the Washington Mall concert that featured country musicians Garth Brooks an Trisha Yearwood. From there, he took the Acela Express to Giants Stadium.
"Times like these demand action," Gore told the sold-out crowd of about 52,000.
Giants Stadium: Alicia Keys always looks fabulous. She performed a beautiful cover of Marvin Gaye's anthem "What's Going On?" with Rod 2.0 fave John Legend.
Critics have faulted Gore and the promoters for failing to have a specific focus—the concerts are to raise awareness, as opposed to money, and the ticket sales will underwrite costs and "green" offsets. The massive crowds, production and travel involved have also invited criticism, especially from "the people who doubt the existence of global warming, or who doubt that humankind can do much to reverse it," notes The Washington Post:
"But those folks were not much in evidence Saturday at Giants Stadium, where the spirit of recycling extended all the way to the napkin dispensers on the concourse. Giants Stadium is doing its part to make Live Earth a greener place by using EcoLogo certified napkins,' posted signs read."
Brazilian pop sensation Xuxa.
singer performer Rihanna. Below are fans watching the Linkin Park performance.
Gore told reporters "he had no plans to be a candidate
for the White House, as some have speculated; and he rebuffed criticism
of Live Earth, saying it was the opening salvo in an intense three-year
campaign to change government policy and personal practices to avert a
worsening global climate crisis.
'I've been trying to deliver this message for 30 years, and I know that it doesn't take in just one delivery,' he told the Associated Press. 'You've got to keep going.'"