Live 8 may not have been, as Coldplay’s Chris Martin, contended,
“the greatest thing that’s been organized, probably, in the history of the world,”
but it certainly was something. Even Bill O’Reilly warmed to the global
love fest via his new best friend Bono, who has convinced O’Reilly that humanitarian
aid and debt relief in Africa is not a sinister liberal academic plot. Still,
Bono and Bob Geldof’s “make poverty history” did not entirely trump the promotional
and self-congratulatory avalanche triggered by a simultaneous performance of
the world’s biggest musical capitalists. Some concertgoers (and musicians) were
earnest; others looked for a good time. Here are a few reactions from attendees,
performers, luminaries and celebrity hangers-on.

“History and the generations to come will judge our leaders by the decisions
they make in the coming weeks. I say to all those leaders: Do not look the other
way, do not hesitate . . . It is within your power to prevent a genocide.”

—Nelson Mandela, on stage in Johannesburg

“AIDS kills two 9/11s a day. This next song has nothing to do with that.”

—Rob Thomas, Matchbox Twenty

“The rock stars and the hip-hop stars can’t change anything, but our audience
really can. We’re not asking you to put your hand in your pockets, but we are
asking people to put their fists in the air.”

—Bono, lead singer of U2, Hyde Park

“I’m just here to watch the bands, really.”

—Lucy, from East Sussex, at Hyde Park

“It seemed like a good opportunity for reconciliation to have a small victory
over rancor. Life’s too short otherwise.”

—Roger Waters, on reforming Pink Floyd

“I can’t believe they did my favorite song ‘Wish You Were Here.’ All [Pink
Floyd’s] songs were good, but that one just has my heart. By the way, if evolution
is true, why are there still monkeys?”

—Cranberry_jazz, 07/05/05, 10:21 PM, MTV Message Boards

“Will Smith urged the crowd to click their fingers every three seconds to symbolize
how often a child dies because of poverty in Africa. Official figures have put
the crowd at over 1 million but before the concert began many were unaware of
the reasons behind the concert.”

—Jamie Coomarasamy, BBC News, Philadelphia

“My favorite band, Him, is playing there and we are going to drink at this
Ice Bar, lose track of time, and barely make it to the concert. Then, we’re
going to Russia because my friend Raab married a Russian mail-order bride, so
we are going to go to Russia after that and try to track her down because we
have her address. But, it’s, like, written in Russian so it’s going to be a

—Bam Margera,“Viva la Bam,” Philadelphia

“Looking around, there are very few black faces on the stage and
there are very few black faces in the crowd. But the organizers have already
said that’s not the point; the point was to get the big commercial acts on stage
and as many people as possible listening and watching as possible.”

—Phillipa Thomas, BBC News, London

“They owe us. They are the ones who brought slavery, killed our ancestors.
If anybody must pay, they must pay us back so that we can have jobs and education.”

—Zola, South African pop star

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