DVD Review: Live 8

Live 8 was a group of ten benefit concerts organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure that were scheduled to take place around the same time as the G8 conference and summit, as well as to support the Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty.

The concerts were held on July 2 and July 6, 2005. Even though these concerts fell on the 20th anniversary of Live Aid, both Geldof and Ure have explicitly stated they don’t see Live 8 and Live Aid being the same thing, and don’t think of them as being Live Aid 2.

A four-disc DVD box set for Live 8 was released in the United States on November 8, 2005. DVDs of the Paris, Berlin, Rome and Toronto concerts were released in January 2006. This review will focus on the four-disc DVD box set.

The first disc contains performances by Paul McCartney, U2, Coldplay, Richard Ashcroft, Elton John, Pete Doherty, Dido, Youssou N’dour, Stereophonics, R.E.M., Ms. Dynamite, Keane, Black Eyed Peas, Rita and Stephen Marley, Duran Duran, Bob Geldof, Muse, Travis, Kaiser Chiefs, UB40, Hunterz and the Dhol Blasters, Green Day, Snoop Dogg, Bon Jovi, and Annie Lennox.

The second disc in the set includes performances by Destiny’s Child, Razorlight, Bryan Adams, Kanye West, Madonna, Will Smith, Brian Wilson, Snow Patrol, Toby Keith, The Killers, Dave Matthews Band, Daniel Powter, Linkin Park, Jay-Z, Joss Stone, Jars of Clay, Scissor Sisters, Alicia Keys, Velvet Revolver, Def Leppard, Jet, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, and Sting.

The third disc has performances by Mariah Carey, Vusi Mahlasela, Roxy Music, Maroon 5, Neil Young, Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams, Keith Urban, Placebo, Rob Thomas, Faithless, Stevie Wonder, Adam Levine, The Who, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, and George Michael.

The fourth and final disc in the set has some performances as well as the extras. The performances on this disc are by The Proclaimers, Wet Wet Wet, 1 Giant Leap, Mahotella Queens, Maxi Jazz, Neneh Cherry, Will Young, Annie Lennox, Bob Geldof, The Thrills, Midge Ure, Eddie Izzard, Texas, Katherine Jenkins, Travis, and James Brown.

The first eight extras are performances that were not included in the main program of the DVDs. These performances are by McFly, Good Charlotte, Dreams Come True, Bjork, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Shakira, and Chris Cornell with Audioslave.

There are two “music videos” as extras. The first is one for The Who’s “Who Are You?,” which uses footage shot in impoverished countries with people wearing masks to represent the leaders at the G8 conference. The other “music video” is for Travis’ “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?,” which shows impoverished people with luxury items, and statistics are shown on the screen about how much money is spent on these luxury items.

There is a message from Ricky Gervais, where he wishes viewers to enjoy the day, but also injects a joke into the message. However, I’m not sure that the joke really works all that well. There is footage from backstage at the Hyde Park concert, as well as footage from Pink Floyd’s rehearsal.

Overall, I have to say that this four-disc DVD box set for Live 8, which has about 10 hours of material, is a good starter set for viewers to see a good cross-section of the artists and venues that were part of the Live 8 experience. However, if you’re more interested in seeing one of the venues in its entirety, then I would recommend watching one of the four individually released DVDs for the Paris, Berlin, Rome and Toronto shows.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Live 8 DVD box set that my husband and I purchased.


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