Saturday’s impromptu live blogging fizzled out due to a small dinner party I hosted that night (and not to brag, but if you’ve ever wondered who, among men aged 35-44 in Kansas City’s northern suburbs, makes the best focaccia bread, it just might be me).
- As I lifted my head from time to time during food prep, one thing that struck me is how many of the day’s heavyweight acts – the Police, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Genesis, Duran Duran, RHCP, Metallica, Roger Waters – either did or could have played Live Aid twenty-two years ago, and how these same acts are responsible for some of the top-grossing tours going. I realize that it’s partly due to the economic power of the Baby Boom and Gen X demos, but I also think it says something about the durable power of the rock star. And sometimes that durability sneaks up on you. Consider that Dave Grohl, who played at Wembley on Saturday, has been part of the public consciousness for as long as Led Zeppelin had been when they reunited to play Live Aid. Note to the music industry: Time to invest in artist development. It might not pay off tomorrow or next year, but when I come looking for acts to play Trip’s 75th birthday extravaganza, you’ll be glad you did.
- I only caught a couple of songs, but I thought the Police sounded great. They create such a massive sense of space, and Andy Summers reminded us that he’s a first-rate colorist on “Can’t Stand Losing You.” It’s good to know that a song about suicidal despondency can still bring a crowd to its feet.
- Though I’m still not a fan, I’ll confess a growing, grudging respect for John Mayer. After perfecting a template for massive commercial success, he took a left turn into seemingly less lucrative territory simply because he wanted to. And he’s turned into an awfully good axe-slinger, though he could use to tone down the guitar face a bit.
- Even if you agreed with every word she said, could Melissa Etheridge’s rants have been any heavier handed? Missy, friend, I’m already watching. You. Don’t. Need. To. Hit. Me. Over. The. Head. She talks like she writes and plays.
All in all, I thought the show suffered from a lingering ambiguity (OK, so we’re supposed to do exactly what now?) and a lineup that failed to generate much sustained heat, but the rampant cynicism directed at it seems over the top. I’ll grant that the Black Eyed Peas might lack a comprehensive understanding of the science of climate change. But, so? There are probably some kids who watched the show and for the first time considered how they might generate less waste or consume less energy. Can someone explain how that’s a bad thing?