Billed as “The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis,” Live Earth became the biggest concert event in history with seven concerts being held on seven continents across the globe, held on July 7, 2007 (7/7/07), all with the common message of alerting the world that we must pull together to help save our environment from a global climate crisis. The concerts mark the beginning of a multi-year campaign led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Chair of the Alliance for Climate Protection, to take action to solve global warming. The concerts, featuring more than 40 artists, were held at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, Wembley Stadium in London, Aussie Stadium in Sydney, Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg, Makuhari Messe in Tokyo, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, and HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg.
Here on U.S. soil at Giants Stadium, Live Earth featured K.T. Tunstall, Taking Back Sunday, Keith Urban, Ludacris, AFI, Fall Out Boy, Akon, John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band, Kelly Clarkson, Kayne West, Bon Jovi, Smashing Pumpkins, The Roger Waters, and The Police. Running from 2:30 pm to 10:30 pm, the concert flowed smoothly as most acts performed a half-hour set with a revolving stage that avoided long set up breaks. In between acts, large screens showed songs from artists such as Duran Duran, Madonna, Beastie Boys, Lenny Kravitz, and more from the other Live Earth concerts from around the globe. Actors Kevin Bacon, Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, Zack Braff, Rosario Dawson, and Leonardo DiCaprio along with football star Dhani Jones, model Petra Nemcova, and politicians such as Al Gore and Robert Kennedy Jr. introduced various acts while providing educational information about how to stay “green” by using alternative energy sources and recycling waste. In fact, Giants Stadium recycled all products from the concession stands and composted all the organic waste.
Throughout the concert via commercials on the screen, a scroll across the stage, and verbal rants from celebrities, the message was delivered to the crowd that measures must be taken to preserve planet earth’s environment. Suggestions were made such as looking into purchasing a hybrid car, recycling all plastic and paper products, walking, biking, carpooling, or using public transportation to travel as often as possible, eating less meat, and powering down or turning off computers, radios, lights and TVs when they are not being used, to name a few.
“Today we are two billion strong and I ask you – are you ready to answer the call? Become part of the solution,” said Kevin Bacon, kicking off the show. “Today we are calling upon the unique power of music to spread light and truth.”
K.T. Tunstall got the crowd going with her hits “Black Horse & The Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See” as she possessed an upbeat attitude that kept many in the crowd baking in the sun happy.
Long Island’s own Taking Back Sunday brought the energy up as they performed songs from their latest record, Louder Now, such as “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?” “Liar (It Takes One to Know One),” and “Make Damn Sure.” They suffered with sound problems, but they delivered a good show.
Keith Urban surprised the crowd as he played an electrifying cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” with Alicia Keys, followed by his singles “Stupid Boy” and “I Told You So.” Ludracris pumped up the audience with “What’s Ur Fantasy” and “Get Out The Way” while AFI killed with “The Missing Frame,” “Love Like Winter,” “Miss Murder,” and a cover of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust.” Fall Out Boy rocked the house with “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and “Thanks For The Memories” and Akon kept the party going with his smash “Smack That.”
As the sun began to lower, John Mayer hit the stage with a set of all new material from his latest album, Continuum. A consummate musician, Mayer was as smooth as silk playing “Belief,” “Vultures,” and “Gravity” before launching into his new anthem, “Waiting For The World To Change.” The growth Mayer has gone through as a performer is vast, proving that he will have a long career.
Melissa Etheridge won an Academy Award this year for her song “I Need To Wake Up” from Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, and it seems that it has gone to her head. She hardly sang but rather preached her way through two new politically charged songs, “Imagine That” and “What Happens Tomorrow” plus the aforementioned tune. Etheridge said, “America, what happened to us? I remember when our democracy was sacred. I remember when people in this country would protest an unjust war. I remember we stood up when our president was a criminal – we didn’t tolerate it.
I remember hearing about global warming in eighth grade and thinking, ‘I know somebody is going to take care of that.’ What happened to us? We need to wake up on Monday and shout – enough!” While her passion is admired, she’s losing credibility as a musician as she’s becoming more known as an advocate for breast cancer, lesbianism, and the environment. Her messages are good and her drive is admirable, but she appears to be losing her focus.
Gore took the stage asking people to jointly make a pledge with him to take action against the climate crisis by demanding from our government an international treaty to reduce greenhouse emissions as well as taking steps at home such as changing their light bulbs to CFLs, using energy efficient electronics, and planting trees.
Alicia Keys exploded with “Mercy Mercy Me” and “If I Ain’t
Got You,” while The Dave Matthews Band jammed away on “Don’t
Drink The Water” and “Too Much.” Despite current bad press,
Kelly Clarkson performed like a little powerhouse, belting out fan faves “Walk
Away” and “Since You Been Gone” as well as introducing new
songs “How I Feel,” “Never Again,” and “Sober.”
Kanye West upped the anty with “Gold Digger” and “All Falls
The highlight of the show was when hometown heroes Bon Jovi took the stage. The entire stadium was on its feet as the Jersey boys performed a skyrocketing set that began with the title track of their new album, Lost Highway, followed by “It’s My Life.” “This is my house,” said lead singer Jon Bon Jovi proudly. “Please rise for our national anthem.” The band went directly into “Wanted Dead Or Alive” plus “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.” Holding his heart, Bon Jovi was overwhelmed by the reception.
The Smashing Pumpkins brought the energy way down with a poor set containing “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and the new tune “Tarantula.” However, Roger Waters made up for it with a tremendous performance of Pink Floyd classics “Money,” “Us & Them,” and “Brain Damage,” complete with a flying pig. But it was “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2” that sent everybody into the stratosphere.
The Police closed the show with a tight set featuring the classics “Driven To Tears,” “Roxanne,” and “Can’t Stand Losing You.” Sting (vocals/bass), Stewart Copeland (drums), and Andy Summers (guitar) turned the clock back to the early 80s and the audience ate it up. For the final song of the concert, they performed the perfect number, “Message In A Bottle” containing the phrase “I’ll send an S.O.S. to the world” which coincided with Gore’s mission to send an S.O.S. to save our planet. Mayer and West joined them on stage for extra star power as their message was driven home like an exclamation point at the end of a sentence.
One of the area's top alternatives to overpriced shed shows this summer is probably Mulcahy's "Summer Concert Series," where the lineup reads like a classic rocker's dream. In fact, two of the top hard rock acts of the 1980s will soon perform at the famed Wantagh venue as The Michael Schenker Group takes the stage on Thursday, July 19, while Dokken will perform on Saturday, July 28.
Tickets for all upcoming "Summer Concert Series" shows at Mulcahy's – which also include Social Distortion on July 25, W.A.S.P. on August 1, Dropkick Murphys on August 2, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes on August 11, and Stone Sour on August 16 – are available at the Mulcahy's box office and at all Ticketmaster locations including Ticketmaster.com. For more information, log on to muls.com or call (516) 826-MULS.
Michael Schenker is considered one of the finest guitarists of any genre to emerge in the 1970s, and remains one of the most influential fretslingers today. The German superstar has enjoyed a career in hard rock that is almost unfathomable by any standard – he's been a part of three chart-topping acts. He began his touring career at the tender age of 16 as a member of The Scorpions, and later joined the seminal act UFO, although the guitarist's initial tenure in that band could be described as stormy at best. He later rejoined The Scorpions in the late 1970s, but later founded the first version of The Michael Schenker Group in 1979 – the band that many of his fans consider to be his best.
Soon, hit albums were scored with their self-titled debut as well as M.S.G. II and a rocking live album. Perhaps their biggest success was Assault Attack, an album featuring many MSG standards that are still performed live to this day. There have been other stops in Schenker's career – three albums as The McAuley/Schenker Group, a mid-decade return to UFO in the 2000s, The Schenker-Pattison Summit – but throughout it all, Schenker's one of a kind guitar style has endeared him to millions of rock guitar fans all over the globe. At a $12 ticket price for this 21+ show at Mulcahy's on July 19, this might be the bargain of the summer for gear heads.
Dokken sounds as if it is perhaps a Swedish or German metal act, but in
reality the band is as American as, well, shredding. The band, featuring the
soaring vocalist Don Dokken, was formed in 1977 near the end of metal's original
golden era. This band was an immediate sensation, selling more than 10 million
albums in just a few years. Even in the MTV-crazy 1980s, few groups sold as
many albums and CDs as Dokken – their sales figures at time eclipsed
such other genre artists as Ratt and Quiet Riot.
What set Dokken apart from other acts of it's era was that it was much more musical than others in the genre at the time. Though some critics lumped Dokken in with acts such as Warlock and Cinderella – and yes, they did sport some rather big hair during their early years – Dokken seemed to concentrate much more on melody, song construction, and lyrical content. Their passion for creating serious hard rock music paid off, as albums such as Tooth And Nail, Under Lock And Key, Back For The Attack, and Dysfunctional were huge hits; Dysfunctional, in particular, was almost a miracle, reaching #47 on the charts at a time when grunge was taking hold on rock radio throughout the country.
The current version of Dokken consists of Don Dokken, Jon Levin, Barry Sparks, and Mick Brown. No doubt hits such as "Burning Like A Flame" and "Just Got Lucky" will be performed at the July 28 Mulcahy's show.
By Joe Vetter
Opportunities to watch critically acclaimed independent films, as they were meant to be shown, do not occur very often in many regions. Most people must wait for independent films to become available on DVD before enjoying them, an experience which does not compare to sitting in a dark theatre with a screen the size of your house. Luckily we live on Long Island and in recent years the Stony Brook Film Festival has been offering us a special opportunity to see some unique movies in a theatre environment.
For 12 years the Stony Brook Film Festival has been offering quality films from an eclectic international pool for a relatively inexpensive price. The festival will last for 10 days with many festival sponsored after parties where you will also have the opportunity to meet many of the people involved in the various films. The first movie to be shown Thursday, July 19 was directed by last year’s festival winner Ghyslaine Côté. Her French Canadian satirical comedy A Family Secret takes place at the funeral of the family patriarch, where the various family members reminisce and learn of well kept secrets that can only come in to day during a funeral. The film will have an after party which all in attendance will be allowed to enjoy.
One of the most entertaining aspects of the festival are the short films which are often times overlooked , but almost always prove to be thoroughly entertaining and witty. These short pieces, usually done by an independent film student, offer new fresh concepts and can engross a viewer into their plot as extensively as a full length feature film. A good example of an entertaining short film will be “The Rip Off” by Kun Chang. It is only 10 minutes long but provokes the viewer’s interest by telling the same story from the point of view of 2 separate people, who feel that they have both been ripped off, despite the fact that normally only one person, can actually be short handed.
If you do not wish to purchase a festival pass there are individual tickets available for all screenings which are also relatively inexpensive at $7 and $5 for seniors and students. A movie which could be good for a day trip would be Steel Toes, a film by David Gow and Mark Adam. The film centers on a Neo-Nazi skin head, on trial for murdering an East Indian immigrant and given a court assigned liberal, humanist, Jewish lawyer. Most of the sequences were shot in prison and it seems like you could cut the tension between the two main actors with a knife and take a huge chunk home with you.
Aside from the dramatic film choices there is also the full length documentary “About Face” written and directed by Steve Karras and Rose Lizarraga. This compelling documentary chronicles the story of Jewish refugee soldiers during World War II, whose fluent knowledge and use of the German language proved to be one of the valuable assets to the allied invasion of Germany. Told through the interviews of the surviving participants, as well as high profile individuals such as former Secretary of State Harry Kissinger and Kurt Klein, the documentary runs the gamut of human emotion which has come to be the trademark of this annual event.