An eclectic lineup including Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Cure united in the fight against African poverty at a Live 8 concert set amid one of France’s greatest symbols of opulence — the Chateau of Versailles.
Organizers said the venue was chosen to represent the wealth of the world’s richest countries as the leaders of those nations are being urged to do more to help the poor.
British rock trio Muse kicked off the event, singing from a stage set in the front court of the 17th century palace that was once home to King Louis XIV.
Crowds gathered under a hot afternoon sun to hear Shakira, Youssou N’Dour and Tina Arena, who joined some of France’s top stars, including chanteuse Florent Pagny and tennis-star-turned-singer Yannick Noah. Organizers said some 200,000 people were expected to attend.
The concert outside Paris was one of 10 around the world organized by Bob Geldof to raise awareness of African poverty and pressure the world’s most powerful leaders to do something about it at the Group of Eight summit in Scotland next week.
Cure frontman Robert Smith said he was convinced the massive turnout of the global concerts would send a message. “By mobilizing millions of people, you’re effectively saying to a few very powerful people that there is a groundswell and it isn’t going to go away,” he told the Associated Press backstage. “There’s too many people involved. There’s too much anger for things to just remain as they are.”
“The gulf between rich and poor isn’t unbridgeable. There is enough to go around,” said Smith, whose band closed the 25-act event.
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