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Wings Over America
Wings Over America
(2013 Remaster)

2005-Jul-02: Live 8

(Updated July 3) The event turned out to be even bigger than anyone expected. According to Live 8 organizer, Sir Bob Geldof, the 22 hour "greatest concert ever" ( 69 hours of live music involving 260 acts) was watched by 3 billion TV viewers in 150 countries and 2 million spectators at the 10 concert sites. At 9:05 a.m. Sir Paul launched the event in Hyde Park, London. "What a trip," shouted Sir Paul McCartney as he strolled on to the stage alongside four Beatles look-alikes dressed in colorful Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band uniforms.

Sir Paul and U2 rock star Bono and Sir Paul McCartney opened the show with the Beatles' classic Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Sir Paul had never performed the tune live before. He said he always felt odd performing it without his former group:

"I was rung up, initially, by Bob (Geldof)... and he said, 'We want you to open up with U2. We've got this idea: 20 years ago today... Do Sgt Pepper.' I said, 'You know what, that's a good idea,' so I did it."

The duet was meant to have been a surprise, but it was leaked to the press a few days ago. Bono told London's Independent on Sunday :

"Sergeant Pepper is a seminal Beatles song. It's a song Paul McCartney has never performed, so it's kind of freaking him out. It was great, it was very special. "It's the first time he's performed it. It's very special because that album represented not just the best of The Beatles, but the best of the 1960s. It was a very optimistic time.

"It's an event that's so much bigger than anyone involved in it. It just kind of overwhelms you. And people were very generous... This is our moment. This is our time. This is our chance to stand up for what's right. We're not looking for charity, we're looking for justice. We cannot fix every problem, but the ones we can, we must."

Sir Paul told reporters:

"This is not a fund raiser. It is about speaking out on behalf of the African people being born this very moment into eternal debt. There is no way they can get out of it on their own. All we are trying to do is get that debt excused. It is a little amount to us but everything to them. Fifty thousand people a day die in Africa. We couldn't ignore it."

Ten hours after he had opened the show, Sir Paul took to the stage again for the finale. He rocked the crowd with Get Back, then told the crowd, "You had a great day – I had a great day. We hope the heads of G8 are listening hard – they can’t avoid this." Sir Paul was then joined on stage by George Michael for Drive My Car. "Let’s rock and stroll all the way to Edinburgh,"shouted Sir Paul before launching into Helter Skelter and The Long and Winding Road. The, at the stroke of midnight, all the London performers including The Who, The Killers, Pink Floyd, Snow Patrol, Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox, and event organisers Bob Geldof and Midge Ure gathered around Sir Paul at the piano for the Hey Jude finale.

Sir Paul has posted this Live 8 message on his official website:

"I'm honored that they would want my songs for such a noble cause but that is the power of The Beatles. What we did in The Beatles really overtook us and our intentions. When it is remembered and loved that way, you can only appreciate that something mighty has happened way beyond anything we get out to do. I think the same thing is happening with Live 8 now. The idea is overtaking us."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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