Live 8: Edinburgh 50,000 The Final Push

My word, my feet hurt! I’m not sure about whether last night was part of The Long Walk to Justice but it was certainly part of The Long STAND to Justice. But, you know, if our being there and adding our voices and presence to that of millions of others does persuade the G8 leaders to write off the debt of world’s poorest people then I’m happy to hurt! But enough of my moans, what of the evening?

Last night was my debut visit to Murrayfield, but what better way to be introduced to Murrayfield than with a free ticket, standing on the pitch in front of the north stand, and Scotland didn’t lose!

Where we were at Live 8 Edinburgh
The arrow shows roughly where Jane and I were standing at Live 8 last night at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. (Photo: BBC News; arrow by me)

We parked ourselves as close to the stage as we could manage (see the photo above), standing in front of the stage ‘pier’ and in clear view of the right-hand video screen and waited for 70 minutes for the concert to begin. My brother Eddie and his wife Rebecca had seats in the east stand. We kept in touch during the night via hand signals and mobile phone messages.

The concert began with a giant curtain dropping to the ground on the ‘pier’ stage, while (I guess) 50,000 balloons were released revealing Lenny Henry resplendent in an all-black, leather kilt outfit, with the most incredible, horned sporran I’ve ever seen. Fantastic!

During the first hour or so of the concert there were 2 or 3 Beatles songs sung, “All You Need Is Love” by Jamie Cullum and Natasha Bedingfield, and “With A Little Help From Your Friends” by Wet Wet Wet. I began to wonder if I’d not turned up to a Live 8 concert but a fundraising event for Michael Jackson (who owns the rights to the Beatles’ back-catalogue and presumably gets a royalty each time a song is performed)!

My highlights:

  • The Proclaimers kicked off the show with, one of Scotland’s unofficial national anthems, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” which had the entire stadium bouncing and singing along.
  • 1 Giant Leap were a band that I’d never heard of before last night, but were, by far, my highlight of the night. Their music was eclectic, complex, intelligent and truly absorbing. A combination of African and Western rhythms and vocals, traditional instruments and modern. Wonderful, wonderful music.
  • Eddie Izzard playing piano while Midge Ure played guitar and sang an acoustic rendition of “Vienna”.
  • Lenny Henry’s comedy blues song, accompanied by a solo electric guitar. And guitarist.
  • Bob Geldof’s band performing “The Great Song of Indifference” and “Rat Trap”.
  • Wet Wet Wet – legends!
  • Bob Geldof’s speech.
  • The many passioned pleas to the G8 leaders to end poverty. All it will take is $50 billion — and given that the war on Iraq cost over $300 billion…!!

I did have some mischievous fun with the young people standing next to us.

Live 8 Presenter: “Ladies and gentlemen, Feeder!”
Me: “Who are Feeder?!”
Young person: “What?! What do you mean ‘who are Feeder?’ !!”
Me: “Are they like Motörhead?”
Young person: “NOOO!!”

When Ronan Keating came on stage, my brother Eddie later told me that he turned to his wife and said “At this moment, Gareth is at a Ronan Keating concert!” That gave him great amusement. I turned the young person beside me and said, “I do know who that is … he used to be in Backstreet Boys!” That gave me great amusement.

And what can I say about James Brown? Or ‘Jim Broon’, as I prefer to call him? The Godfather of Soul. Not much, my feet were hurting, my shoulders were hurting, my legs were hurting. I was hurting. When he asked the crowd, “Do you feel good?” I had to be honest and say, “No, Mr Brown, I don’t.” But he wasn’t interested in my petty complaints, seemingly the rest of the crowd did feel good and he agreed with them, and sang them a little song all about it; it transpired that he had also previously anticipated that he would be feeling good at this moment. I can’t help but feel that the situation was a little contrived. 😉

We walked home: The Long Walk to Bed. It was a great evening, so much energy, so much passion, such an eager desire to end this needless world poverty. Let’s just keep praying for the G8 leaders. We wait for Friday.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Former Scrum master at Safeguard Global, Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

One thought on “Live 8: Edinburgh 50,000 The Final Push”

  1. I was at the gig and it was amazin!im a huge geldof fan and it was amazing to see him.i got seats cos im 14 so i wasnt allowed in standin(dagnabit).but i loved every minute of it. we saw bono on thursday morning aswell.

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