For 2012, Ken's decided to expand his musical horizons by going to 1 musical performance or live show per week (on average). It has to be a proactive decision to go out to see a live performance, and festivals or showcases will count as 1 performance. Ken will document his experiences along the way, and post upcoming performances he'll be attending so that any of you can come along as well! Here's to great live music and a great adventure!
Follow the music here or at 52shows2012.tumblr.com
Sample the music I enjoyed on this journey on the player on the right, or on Spotify. Click here. (You must have Spotify to access the playlist).
WHO: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Band of Horses, K'naan
WHAT: Global Festival 2012
WHEN: September 29, 2012
WHERE: The Great Lawn, Central Park, NYC
WHY: 60,000+ Activists Rocking Out to Great Bands!?!?
So, yes, on the surface, yet another charity fund raiser with big name acts donating their time and music to a needed cause. We've all seen this before, right?
But this festival WAS different. I think it was the first "mega-show" to combine the power of music, social causes, technology and viral networks to truly create a global stage to raise awareness to and funds for the Global Poverty Project a well funded "supra-.org" with a mission to end extreme poverty on earth within this coming generation, a mission they believe is very acheivable.
Each concert attendee had to actually contribute to the causes GPP endorsed in order to get free tickets for the show. All of the contributions happened via online methods, whether by signing online petitions, getting educated on issues via video viewing, or sharing information virally through their social networks. The show was streamed via the internet globally and broadcast via TV stations live as well. A really great experiment.
And it worked! As the primary organizer Simon Ross put it:
"We brought together more than a million people with the biggest live stream in history; shared inspiring stories of leadership and opportunity online; attracted 400 news stories, and used the Festival platform to secure $1.3 billion in funding commitments for projects helping fight extreme poverty!"
Here's to the power of music to bring people together! And the show didn't suck either....
By getting there early we were able to get to very near the front of the stage, designed, as you can see, really well for an outdoor event of this magnitude. After catching the tail end of the Band of Horses set, and a quick glimpse at Johnny Legend covering John Lennon's Imagine, we got a chance to get some dirty blues rock on with the Black Keys, now with a full backing band behind Dan and Patrick, which definitely made their music fuller in a live context. Here's a bit of video from that set:
The sets were bridged with awards to "social entrepreneurs" from around the globe, who are doing amazing things to fight against the effects of extreme poverty. You really could not help but feel the power of the human spirit with some of the great things these people are doing, from an all girls school in Calcutta, to clean water plants in Kenya, to make sure more of us have the right opportunities to flourish.
The killer set of the night was from my favorite arena rock band, possibly ever, the Foo Fighters. Dave Gruehl, Taylor Hawkins and the crew blitzed thru a 1 hour set. Yeah, I'm biased, but they were better than Neil hands down. Unfortunately, Dave announced during the set that "we don't have any shows after this. This is it, man. I don't know when we'll do it again": seemed to be a vague way of saying the band's done? A few days after the festival Dave posted on the Foo's website that the band is effectivley on hold, possible for a long time. I am super disappointed, but so glad we got to see them "one last time" Here's a video of their entire set:
Long live the Foo!
Neil Young reunited with Crazy Horse to end the night, and I was excited as I have never seen Neil live. It was a great set, featuring a sample of his best known, like Powderfinger and Needle And The Damage Done, and some more obscure gems like Fuckin' Up. Regardless of the song, Neil and the band had to add a massive long feedback induced ending, of course! By the time the other band members joined for "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World" all 60k of us were in rock music heaven. His set here:
Well played all! Please consider joining and contributing to the project!