Live Earth, Spanning the Globe

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Al Gore's seven-continent concert series Live Earth debuts, featuring a host of musical acts, from Rio, Tokyo and Johannesburg to the Meadowlands of New Jersey. Gore hopes the spectacle will draw attention to global warming.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

On seven continents today, musicians rocked out against global warming. Live Earth, as the mega concert series is called, featured 100 musical acts from Metallica in London…

(Soundbite of a Metallica song)

ELLIOTT: To Rihanna in Tokyo.

(Soundbite of song, "Umbrella")

RIHANNA (Singer): (Singing) You can stand under my umbrella. Ella, ella, eh.

ELLIOTT: To the Red Hot Chili Peppers who are attempting to play on three different continents in 24 hours.

(Soundbite of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song)

ELLIOTT: There were also concerts in Sydney, Kyoto, Shanghai, Hamburg, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, and in New York - or to be more precise, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at Giant Stadium.

NPR's David Greene is just outside the stadium and joins us on the line. David, can you hear me? You couldn't hear me a moment earlier inside the concert.

DAVID GREENE: Yeah, the music was pretty loud, but I can here you know, Debbie. How are you?

ELLIOTT: I'm good. These concerts have been going on around the world for about 20 hours now. What are they supposed to be about?

GREENE: Well, what the organizers say is this is about awareness. Most of the concerts do have ticket prices and then people have - at some of these - have been griping about the high ticket prices, like the one here in New Jersey. But the organizers say it's not about the money. That money is going to go to green causes. But they say it's mostly about awareness and trying to get the message to world capitals around the globe that climate change is a crisis and they need to find policies to start dealing with it.

ELLIOTT: Well, how are the rock fans responding? What's the scene like there at Giants Stadium?

GREENE: Well, at the beginning of the concert this afternoon, there were definitely some empty seats. But people have been flowing in and I spent some time out with the tailgaters. And there, on first glance, it felt like a New York Giants or a New York Jets football game with lots of beer and lots of cooking sausages and hotdogs.

But as soon as you went and talk to anyone, they got very defensive. They said, hey, I know this is an SUV but, you know, we brought five or six people in it, so we're green today. And, you know, I know you see a lot of beer bottles around but we're going to be recycling all of it.

So they were excited. Some people, very excited about the cause; others, excited about the musicians. One gentleman said Dave Matthews for president. And I said, you know, what about Al Gore, who's one of the organizers of this. And he said, no, no, Dave Matthews for president.

ELLIOTT: Now, I understand Al Gore addressed the crowd. What did he have to say?

GREENE: He did very briefly. He came out. He was introduced by the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and said just a few words.

Mr. AL GORE (Chairman, Alliance for Climate Protection): Thank you, Leo. And thanks to these fantastic performers that we are seeing today, who are not only taking the stage but taking a stand and helping to launch this global effort to solve the climate crisis.

GREENE: So that the crowd responded very well to Al Gore. And then they went right back to the music. And Gore, of course, one of the organizers of this event, he had hoped to get the venue, the U.S. venue, in Washington, D.C. but he had some trouble convincing Republican lawmakers to let him have the U.S. concert at the capital. And so he decided to move it up here to East Rutherford, New Jersey. At the last minute, he was able to get a site off the National Mall. And so he started there this morning, had a smaller concert in Washington and then made his way up here to address the crowd outside New York.

ELLIOTT: NPR's David Greene. We'll let you get back to the show. Thanks so much.

GREENE: Sounds good. Thanks, Debbie.

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