Live Earth Rio Draws Biggest Crowd In The Series
An estimated 400,000 people audience attended the Rio de Janeiro edition of the Live Earth concert series on a sunny day (July 7) of music, oddities and a lot of speeches.An estimated 400,000 people audience attended the Rio de Janeiro edition of the Live Earth concert series on a sunny day (July 7) of music, oddities and a lot of speeches.
Lenny Kravitz closed the night with a rocking set that opened with "Are You Gonna Go My Way" and finished with "Where Are We Runnin'," but had to be cut by half because of time limitations. Kravitz did find time to run into the middle of the crowd and even speak a few basic words of Portuguese.
The event started earlier than scheduled with Brazilian pop singer Guilherme Arantes playing unannounced. He played his pro-ecology hit "Planeta Água" (about Earth's water supply) to a small audience that was mainly hanging out on the Copacabana Beach, where the stage was set. He was followed by TV star Xuxa -- a slightly bizarre choice for a musical festival. In a brief performance, she sang a dance music medley of children's hits, including "Ilarie" and "Doce Mel" surrounded by inflatable animals.
"We're all to blame [for the climate changes]," she said. "It seems silly but it's real. This isn't a concert in benefit of the North Americans. They started the fight -- but we've got to get together." That was an indirect attack on the Brazilian pop singer Ivete Sangalo -- one the biggest stars in the country -- who had a different point of view. In late June she dropped out of the Live Earth bill saying through her manager that "Al Gore chose to be in silence when George W. Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol."
The first act to really get the audience going was the rock group Jota Quest, despite some technical difficulties. Throughout the day, there were additional sound and video outages, and live satellite links to other Live Earth shows never materialized.
Later in the night, Pharrell Williams put on a rock show for the Rio audience, complete with guitar, bass and two drum sets. Macy Gray came onstage wearing a long white party dress with the words "Darfur Red Alert" on it, but she left politics out of a set that featured "Sexual Revolution", "Oblivion" and a mash up of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" with Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression."
Samba rock legend Jorge Ben Jor played next and turned the warm winter night into a Carnival ball with his ultimate Brazilian summer hits "País Tropical," "Mas Que Nada" (recently recorded by the Black Eyed Peas with Sergio Mendes) and "Taj Mahal." Backstage, the comedy crew Panico managed to draw even more attention to themselves than the performers while recording for their weekly TV show. After the event, their van was mobbed Beatles-style and had to make an emergency stop at the traditional Copacabana Hotel to hide from the fans.