“Times like these demand action,” said former Vice President Al Gore, speaking to the sold-out crowd of about 52,000 in New Jersey’s Giants Stadium.
With other shows in London, Sydney, Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai, Hamburg, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro — and even a performance by a band of scientists at a research station in Antarctica — organizers promised the biggest musical event ever staged, dwarfing the Live Aid and Live 8 concerts.
Live Earth venues featured aboriginal elders, chimpanzee calls from scientist Jane Goodall, a holographic Gore and more than 100 of the biggest names in music — including Bon Jovi, Linkin Park and the Beastie Boys.
The concerts are backed by Gore, whose campaign to force global warming onto the international political stage inspired the event. At concerts around the world, musicians and celebrities encouraged fans and one another to take little steps, such as not leaving electrical devices plugged in when not in use, or changing to low-energy light bulbs.
At the London show, the stadium’s nonessential lights were turned off before the closing act — Madonna — came onstage, leaving the venue dark except for the glow of exit lights and camera flashes.
“Let’s hope the concerts that are happening around the world are not just about entertainment, but about starting a revolution,” said Madonna, who sang a song she wrote for Live Earth called “Hey You.”