Saturday, July 7

Live Earth: The Lineup Non-Controversy

Today is 7-07-07 for the one an only time in this century.

Today is also Live Earth Day, with an unprecedented global concert taking place simutaneously on all seven continents to help raise awareness on the Global Climate Crisis.

To most people, except those in deep right wingernutville like Sen. Inhofe who tried to block the surprise opening show in Washington DC, this is not an issue to debate and argue about.

Leave it to Hannity and colmes to find some spittle to spew over a bunch of musicians trying to keep our world from going up in flames.

On last nights H&c the issue raised regardling Live Earth was the inclusion of Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf Islam) on the bill as a last minute addition.

Live Earth organizers today announced that music legend Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens), rapper, actor and television personality Xzibit, and electronica artist Kenna will be joining the blockbuster line-ups of performers at the Live Earth concerts in Hamburg, Tokyo and New York, respectively. Organizers also announced that a limited number of tickets are available for each show.


The Hannity talking-head stand-in claimed that it was inappropriate for Yusuf to be included in the concert because of his "terrorist connections", his being included on the "terrorist no-fly list", and his statements in support of radical muslims who had collect for the killing of author Salman Rushdie for his book "Satanic Verses."

colmes in his usual bumbling manner, managed to completely debunk the right-wing view and still somehow lose the arguement and get browbeaten even though he was right when he pointed out that Cat Stevens/Yusuf has completely renounced violence and publically denied supporting the fatwa against Rushdie.

On September 12th, 2001 he made the following public statment.

"I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: The Qur'an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims of this sorrowful moment.


That didn't stop the winger-guest who continued to claim that Yusuf has to "do more" to prove he isn't a terrorist sympatheser - claiming that Yusuf is part of a radical wahabbist Saudi sect of Islam that prohibits music.

This he said despite the fact that Yusuf came to the U.S. in October of 2001 and performed "Peace Train" at the Concert for New York in response to the 9/11 attacks.

This he said despite the fact that Yusuf has a new album out and has been very active in the music field in recent years.

In 2003, after repeated encouragement from within the Muslim world, Yusuf Islam once again recorded the song "Peace Train" for a compilation CD, which also included performances by David Bowie and Paul McCartney. He also performed "Wild World" in Nelson Mandela's 46664 concert with his former session player Peter Gabriel, for which he publicly performed in English for the first time in 25 years. In December 2004, he and Ronan Keating released a new version of "Father and Son". It debuted at number two, behind Band Aid 20's "Do They Know It's Christmas?". The proceeds of "Father and Son" were donated to the Band Aid charity. Keating's former group, Boyzone, had a hit with the song a decade earlier.


Could this be what he means by "Do More?"

Whether Yusuf is going to sing "Moonshadow" or not at the Live Earth concert isn't the biggest issue that concerns me. What bothers me, as a long-time musician and programmer of my own Live365 Radio Station which focuses specifically on protest and activist music, is not so much whose going to be at the show - it's who and what's Not Going to be on the Show.

I seriously doubt that we're going to see a moment like the muddy, lazy Sunday morning when Jimi Hendrix completely re-envision the Star-Spangled Banner through his Marshals, Wah-peddle, phaser and Stratocaster at Woodstock.

Besides the fact that just like Elvis, Hendrix is dead - neither he nor anyone even remotely like him is playing Live Earth (Except admittedly for Lenny Kravitz and frankly, that's a stretch. Just because Lenny's dark and wears a guitar around his neck doesn't make him Hendrix).

I serously doubt that we're going to see moment like that when Bono and U2 performed at the original Live Aid, bringing the house (actually Stadium) down into a the size of a living room with "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

U2 isn't Playing Live Earth

The Police are playing, but I really don't expect them to perform a song like "Message In a Bottle" with it's line "Seems I'm not alone in being alone..." in order to point out how so many of us are linked, and how we need to band together to fight to save our world and ourselves for potential extinction. I don't expect them to play "Synchronicity II" with it's line - "Another industrial ugly morning, the factory belches filth into the sky."

It's appropriate that Sheryl Crow is playing the show, since she had the big brass cojones to take on Karl Rove face to face over the Climate Crisis. Too bad she sings like a 12-year-old with the flu. (My opinion, I'm sticking with it)

There are many other groups who've been outspoken as part of their career or in recent years on issues of public policy.

Unfortunately...

Dixie Chicks are not playing Live Earth

As Armenian-American's the members of the group System of a Down, who've done songs such as "Boom" and "B.Y.O.B." have a understanding of the impact the global policies in the wake of the Armenian Genocide - but...

System of a Down are not playing Live Earth

Although they've recently reformed and the appropriateness of "Sleep Now in the Fire" being performed on this show can not be underestimated - Rage Against the Machine is not Playing at Live Earth - but curiously their former Audioslave bandmate Chris Cornell Is.

Linkin Park (whose performance I've just watched) and who in the past yet taken steps on thier own to address Tsunami Relief have a new song called "What I've Done" which is exactly on point in terms of the Global Crisis and related issues. They Didn't Play It (Update: It wasn't on Bravo, it was on Sundance)

Genesis could have included topical songs "Throwing it All Away" or "Land of Confusion" (which was recently covered by Disturbed) but they didn't do those songs (on Bravo!) - instead they played "Invisible Touch."

Some of the groups that are playing include Kelly Clarkson, Shakira, Black Eyed Peas and the Pussy Cat Dolls.

Now I like Kelly, she's a nice kid with a great voice - but has she ever written performed a song that wasn't about her last boyfriend or having been on American Idol?

Shakira, honey someone needs to tell you that a guitar is not a necklace. It serves a functional purpose (you can make stuff with it - like music) Just prancing with it like a big peice of bling bling is not gonna make you into either Lita Ford or Nancy Wilson.

P.S. You may be a Hot Chick &Trade, but You Don't Rock!

PCD - "Don't you wish your girlfriend was a FREAK like me?", certainly has become the anthem of the new age hasn't it?

I'm glad Madonna is on the show, because she's forgotten more about activism and using music to take on issues and make a point than the Pussycat Dolls, Britney, Kelly, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson are ever going to know.

But then, it's not like she's big with the spontenaity since everything she does it choreeographed in advance.

I really wasn't expecting much from the group that wrote and performed "My Humps, My Humps - My Lovely Lady Lumps - Check it Out", but I have to say the Peas actually did manage, via an improptu free-style rasta rap, to capture the spirit of the event before launching into "Let's Get it Started."

Maybe there's reason for a little hope that this even actually be somewhat more memorable than Live-8 almost exactly two years ago.

Anyone remember that?

Despite the issue of whether anyone likes a particular artist who was or wasn't included (obviously tastes vary greatly) it's a good thing that many of the people who are performing, even the Pussycat Dolls, have stepped up to the plate.

But one thing we shouldn't be freaked out about is whether Cat Stevens/Yusuf is gonna sing "Wild World" or not.

Vyan

P.S. Pearl Jam is Not Playing Live Earth

Update: Some of the songs I noted as missing were performed but not broadcast on all airings between Sundance, Bravo and others..

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