Live Earth: The Music and the Message For many who attended one of the Saturday's Live Earth concerts at Giants Stadium, the event was more about beer and music than the environment. But performers said they hoped the audience at least got the message of the day.
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Live Earth: The Music and the Message

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Live Earth: The Music and the Message

Live Earth: The Music and the Message

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ROBERT SMITH, host:

Live Earth held its climactic event last night outside New York City, ending a 24-hour series of concerts, organized by former Vice President Al Gore to fight global warming. From China, to England, to Brazil, big-name musicians took to the stage in what organizers called the largest event of its kind in history.

NPR's David Greene spent yesterday at Giants Stadium where the finale took place.

DAVID GREENE: It was all to be very grand and high-minded, but yesterday afternoon, outside Giants Stadium, it was all about tailgating and beer pong.

(Soundbite of playing beer pong)

Unidentified Woman #1: Oh, she makes her first shot. She makes her first shot and it's game time.

GREENE: For those unfamiliar, beer pong involves trying to toss ping-pong balls into cups of beer. Cara Muller was hosting one of the games outside an SUV.

Ms. CARA MULLER (Graduate Student in Education): All right, well we got the sausage sandwiches that are really, really freaking hot. We have the beer pong behind us, just for a good time. We don't know any of these people. We didn't know these guys before we got here. We just came and hang out.

GREENE: I asked her if she had signed the Al Gore online pledge to personally help fight global warming.

Ms. MULLER: I didn't sign anything. Did you sign anything?

Unidentified Woman #2: No.

Ms. MULLER: Al Gore, the pledge?

Unidentified Man #1: No.

Ms. MULLER: No. The pledge?

Unidentified Woman #3: Yes.

Ms. MULLER: We carpooled with six people. We illegalled(ph) the back of the car. Not enough seatbelts for the people here, but we saved gas.

GREENE: Muller, who's pursuing her master's degree in education back in Pennsylvania, said she is into Al Gore's cause.

So can this concert do anything? I mean, is it more than just a music event?

Ms. MULLER: Oh God, I actually think so. Just - I mean, just awareness, just, you know, getting everybody together and...

GREENE: Everybody, including Chris Lamanna who came from another tailgate party and wanted to get in on the game.

Mr. CHRIS LAMANNA (Resident, New Jersey; Participant, Live Earth Concert): You know, we're here to show these other people from Pennsylvania how people from Jersey play pong.

GREENE: Lamanna said he couldn't wait to get inside the stadium.

Mr. LAMANNA: I'm going to be honest; I came here for the music. I think it's a good idea. I know how the money is going towards the environment. But like, you know, all these people are coming here for the music. Everyone's here to have a good time. That's what we're doing. We can kill two birds with one stone -music, environment.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GREENE: Once the crowd streamed into the stadium, Al Gore didn't wait long to come out.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Vice President AL GORE: And thanks to all of you here in America and to all of you at the other events all over the world who are still connected to us live on this historic day. You are Live Earth.

(Soundbite of cheering)

GREENE: Then Gore quickly turned the stage over to the headliners.

Unidentified Woman #4: And now it's my great pleasure...

(Soundbite of cheering)

Unidentified Woman #4: ...to introduce with extraordinary bound led by a singer/songwriter born in South Africa who's become a global phenomenon - the Dave Matthews Band.

(Soundbite of cheering)

(Soundbite of song "One Small World")

Mr. DAVE MATTHEWS (Lead Singer, Dave Matthews Band): (Singing) Nine planets round the sun. Only one does the sun embrace. Upon this watered one. So much we take for granted.

GREENE: Many of the stars came by to speak to reporters, Matthews was asked what he's doing to clean the environment.

Mr. MATTHEWS: We use cloth diapers for our new baby. So if you have a little cloth diaper service nearby that's good.

GREENE: He said people shouldn't expect a miracle from these concerts.

Mr. MATTHEWS: I'm not a scientist. I'm not saying that we can save the planet but, you know, we might as well grab for straws before we go down, you know?

Unidentified Man #2: Yeah.

GREENE: When singer John Mayer came off the stage, he was asked if the crowd was there to help clean the environment or just rock?

Mr. JOHN MAYER (Singer): What you're really talking about is the placement of an idea inside of a rock show. And of course, it's rock that's going to win out. You think people would rather hear somebody read off a list of a hundred simple things you could do to change your house or play a rock song?

GREENE: But even if people came for the music, Mayer said, many left with a message. The rocking continued into the night, finishing with a performance by Sting and The Police reunited.

David Greene, NPR News, New York.

(Soundbite of song "Message in a Bottle")

STING and THE POLICE (Rock Band): (Singing) I'm sending an SOS. I'm sending an SOS. I'm sending an SOS. I'm sending an SOS. I'm sending an SOS. Yeah, we can save the world. I'm sending an SOS. I'm sending an SOS. We can save the world. I'm sending an SOS. We can save the world. I'm sending an SOS. We can save the world. I'm sending an SOS. We can save the world. I'm sending an SOS. We can save the world. I'm sending an SOS. Yeah. I'm sending an SOS. Yeah. I'm sending an SOS. Yeah. I'm sending out an SOS.

SMITH: You're listening to NPR News.

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