The intense glare from the sun did little to curb the enthusiasm of animated concertgoers during Philadelphia’s Live 8 show, held in front of the city’s Museum of Art. Between 600,000 and 800,000 people braved the heat to catch a glimpse of their favorite performer during the nearly seven-hour extravaganza.
The show featured a bevy of international acts, including Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Destiny’s Child, Toby Keith, Dave Matthews Band, Def Leppard and Sarah McLachlan. Celebrities such as the Reverend Al Sharpton, comedian Chris Tucker and actors Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Natalie Portman took to the stage to remind audience members of Live 8’s mission to raise awareness of the challenges facing Africa and to encourage leaders at the upcoming G8 summit to take action.
Performance highlights consisted mostly of surprise guests. The Black Eyed Peas got the crowd on its feet when they were joined by Bob Marley’s widow Rita and their son Stephen for a rendition of the activist anthem “Get Up, Stand Up.”
Rapper Jay-Z (who was rumored to have pulled out due a family death) worked the heat-exhausted crowd into a near frenzy when he joined Linkin Park on stage. One of the few performers to make political statements, the rapper told the crowd, “We’re spending billions and billions of dollars to kill people. Let’s spend billions and billions of dollars to let people live.”
Kanye West also spoke out. Backed by an 11-piece female string section decked out in black clothing and black masks, he performed his current single, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.” Before launching into equally energetic versions of “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks,” West implored the politicians “driving their Bentleys” to help erase the debts of poor African nations.
Philadelphia’s own, Will Smith, reunited with DJ Jazzy Jeff for a high-energy performance that included crowd favorites “Getting Jiggy With It” and the timely classic, “Summertime.”
Although the crowd had already begun to disperse, Stevie Wonder, who closed the show, was still able to elicit a relatively strong response as he blazed through “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” and “Higher Ground” (with Rob Thomas) before being joined by Maroon5’s Adam Levine for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”