July 2, 2005
No, I didn't watch the whole 9 (10?) hour concert telecast today. But I did tape it! So, after swimming with my kids and spending a wonderful afternoon outside, I sat down to watch it sans commercials. My immediate reaction? Holy cow, MTV is actually an insult to music. I can't believe they can even call themselves "music" television. Throughout the entire telecast MTV seemed to be more interested in getting their idiotic VJs more face time than actually showing any music. The format seemed to be 1) VJs insipid comments 2) song by an artist I've been waiting to see 3) song cut off by VJs before the end so they can say more stupid things 4) commercials 5) repeat. Man it was aggravating. In between MTV's hack job, though, were some really good songs and stories:
- "Bittersweet Symphony" by Richard Ashcroft and Coldplay was spectacular.
- Greenday's version of "We Are the Champions" was pretty cool.
- I'm not a rap/hip hop fan, but I was blown away by Kanye West's "Diamonds are Forever." That was definitely a highlight.
- Bob Geldof's story about an Ethiopian girl positively impacted by Live Aid was extremely touching. Especially when she came out on stage. Brought a tear to my eye.
- The Who rocked the house with "Won't Get Fooled Again." Very, very good rendition.
Then, of course, there was Pink Floyd. After seeing how MTV was giving artists at most one song "on the air" I was not optimistic about being able to see Pink Floyd's entire set. Fortunately, MTV gave Pink Floyd time for 4 songs, but they still managed to screw it up. I'll get to that later. Pink Floyd played these songs:
- "Breathe/Breathe reprise" -- this was an unexpected surprise. I've always been very fond of "Breathe" and it was a nice way to begin.
- "Money" -- Duh! I should have thought of this one. "Money" was a very appropriate choice given the message Live 8 was trying to send. And although it has never been one of my favorite Floyd songs, it was still good.
- "Wish You Were Here" -- Now we are talking. Wonderful, wonderful duet by Gilmour and Waters with both of them smiling the whole time. Highlight of the entire concert, by far.
- "Comfortably Numb" -- Oh boy, I got goose bumps as they started to play this one. This is the perfect song for Waters and Gilmour to sing together as it features Waters singing the verses and Gilmour the choruses. And of course, there is the Gilmour guitar solos. This would have been the highlight of the show had MTV not decided to cut into the song right before the second verse so we could hear some more vapid commentary by the VJs!!!! I was incensed! What really ticked me off was that the VJs cut in to say "Wow! Pink Floyd is back together again! I saw some t-shirts that said "Pink Floyd is back!" No truer words have ever been spoken! We'll be right back with more great music right after these messages!" Then they cut back to Pink Floyd and played most of the rest of the song. Why couldn't they just have waited until the song was over? It boggles my mind.
To their credit, MTV did show almost 4 entire songs by Pink Floyd which was about 3.5 more songs than they gave most other artists (including U2!). They also did a nice job of highlighting the true point of the day and Live 8 in general: convincing the G8 to do more to help Africa through grants, debt cancellation, and trade policy adjustments. Fortunately Blair and Bush have already announced that they would forgive $40 billion in African debt, but Geldof wants a commitment of an additional $25 billion (in debt cancellation or aid? That wasn't clear). Truly a noble cause which I heartily support. It will definitely be interesting to see if these concerts and the signatures of so many people will have an impact on the G8 meeting next week.
Concerning the concert coverage, though, am I right or am I wrong? Did MTV totally screw this up or what? Maybe they should stick to stupid reality shows and leave music television to someone else.
Posted by snackeru at July 2, 2005 10:28 PM
I'm going to have to try to find a downloadable version of PF's set. Sounds great!
Posted by: bjhess at July 3, 2005 11:05 AM
Both my friend and I were in horror when MTV/VH1 interrupted Comfortably Numb to have their VJs speak. And to do so during Gilmour's big guitar solo is unforgiveable, in my opinion. I will go to aolmusic.com later today and take in the performances without the idiotic commentary.
Curt in Grand Forks
Posted by: Curt Hanson at July 5, 2005 8:34 AM
I recorded a bunch of the show(s) on VH1 this past weekend. They were playing it uninterrupted. Must have heard the cries of "foul!"
I wasn't too impressed with "Bittersweet Symphony." Maybe I missed something, but mostly it just felt like the song, which isn't really a bad thing.
The Who did rock. It made me want to buy a "greatest" disc. All I have is "Tommy."
It was great to see Pink Floyd. Roger looked like he was having a GREAT time. Sadly they didn't look too comfortable with each other at the end of the set, though. I also thought it was kind of sad that Richard Wright didn't get hardly any face time through a four song set.
Posted by: bjhess at July 12, 2005 9:57 AM