Live Earth Makes Power-Packed Noise to Answer the Call

“This could be good. Hey you,” Madonna’s refrain echoed at Live Earth’s London venue  between fun-filled eco-films, info-jammed tips, and star-stuffed stages. (Wish she’d sung “will be good,” instead of “could,” but I quibble.)  If you missed Live Earth in person or the 22 hours of TV coverage, relegated to “highlights,” try online replays of these global concerts of unprecedented proportions, demonstrating why the record-breaking webcast viewings are the best way to experience this extravaganza.


Since it’s impossible to be in all continents simultaneously, virtual reality is key to catching up on the multitude of great moments. Besides Gore’s holographic appearance in Japan, surprise highlights included duets: Keith Urban and Alicia Keys’ scorching rendition of The Stones “Gimme Shelter,” John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s eco-anthem “Mercy, Mercy Me,” and Garth Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood at a DC American Indian Festival—one of thousands of Live Earth parties happening in 130 countries.

Familiar songs took on new meaning from Duran Duran’s “Planet Earth” and John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” to the “Message in a Bottle” finale: “sending out an SOS.” Despite the reunions of The Police, Genesis, Smashing Pumpkins, and Crowded House, and appearances of eco-crusaders Leo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Daryl Hannah, green celebrities from Kevin Bacon to Chris Rock and Eddie Izzard hawked the environmental plea with dazzling facts, figures and humor.

Keane admonished the crowd to “get off your backsides,” Dave Matthews suggested driving Hummers only once a week. Will Ferrell recommended stopping junk mail, Sting and Trudy Styler plugged their Rainforest Foundation, and Bon Jovi touted their LEED-certified housing project. Even Carson Daly may unplug his PDA charger and Ludicris’ might turn down the thermostat (or even the A/C during summer’s record heatwaves).

Though skeptics relish critiquing the affair and everyone voices an opinion about the effectiveness of music marathon benefits, which began 30 years ago with George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh inciting performers to stir relief for causes. An ongoing audit will measure the tangible impact of the event. But even in the current fragmented musical climate, watching Macy Gray in her “no Darfur” dress, KT Tunstall in a Save the Future shirt and Paolo Nutini’s wrenching version of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” moved half a million (and counting) people to pledge to BYOB to the grocers, refill water bottles, and turn off the lights.