Known Johnson

July 3, 2005

LiveLame, I mean, “8”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:42 am

Well, I don’t means specifically the event was lame, but the coverage of it was abominable. I knew something was wrong when I checked both VH-1 and MTV, both of which were airing Live8, and found that they were both showing the same footage. Um, hello? There’s 10 countries and 100 artists involved in this event. You don’t think maybe you could have had MTV show, say, the most popular acts from this side of the Atlantic and VH-1 cover everything happening in Europe? (And yes, I’m disregarding the fact that non-US and non-European nations took part in this. Just go with me on this, okay?) Why not take advantage of your multitude of channels (we get not only MTV and VH-1 (I’m pretty sure everyone who gets one gets the other,) MTV2, and on the digital channels we also get MTV-Hits and VH-1 Classic.) Why not utilize ALL of those to maximize the coverage? It’s not like it would hurt any of those channels’ profits to follow this for 10 hours.

But that’s not all – MTV just couldn’t air a complete performance. No, they had to interrupt with commercials, and if it wasn’t commercials, it was their inane hosts that interrupted both with voiceovers and cutaways. I’m really glad I wasn’t around when the reunited Pink Floyd took the stage, as MTV decided to pull the same crap over them. It’s one thing to interrupt the Black Eyed Peas’ performance (and, really, please do – anything to not have to endure that awful crap) but another entirely to interrupt what is likely the biggest reunion rock will ever witness (the Beatles and the Who being impossible to reunite in their most famous forms.) Not that it comes as a surprise to anyone, but music is about as far from MTV’s mind as is possible.

It’s probably pretty easy to see why they did this: so they can sell it later on. Not only that, but AOL users who subscribed to the coverage got preferential treatment and saw the show unedited, or some approximation thereof, from what I read (update: AOL is offering free streams of the entire day’s performances for the next six weeks. I stand corrected and, for once, actually applaud AOL.) I can understand that, I guess, although I do think there’s something distinctly disgusting about this giant human-suffering relief effort being used to excessively profit the broadcasters. But it’s pretty obvious that how MTV/et al. and, later, ABC’s two-hour edit was intended solely to be able to repackage the event and sell it on CD and DVD later. What’s worse, we’ll likely get only one performance from each act, as is usually the case, which means that only a very, very few of the people who tuned in actually got to see the historic Pink Floyd reunion. It’s as if MTV wasn’t even aware that Roger Waters had pretty much spat upon any suggestion that the band would reunite someday, that this was one of those things that people said could very well never happen. And then it did, but from the way the coverage was handled, it was as if Pink Floyd were an everyday band that toured year in and year out, had never done anything of particular signficance, and was just “there.” It was three songs, MTV, couldn’t you have handled 20 minutes without interrupting the music?

And this wasn’t a normal Pink Floyd performance, either – this was a stripped down, bare-bones Floyd, something music fans haven’t seen since the seventies. Nick Mason, Richard Wright, and David Gilmore were joined by Roger Waters and only a couple of other musicians necessary to render the music – no backup singers, no percussionists, no extraneous keyboard players, guitarists, or other non-band members. It was raw, something we haven’t heard from Floyd since, well, again, the seventies. Luckily, if you’re privy to the ways of Bit Torrent, you can sign up for The Trader’s Den where downloads of the entire three-song performance are flying at unbelieveable speeds. It may be the only way we’ll ever experience the entire thing.


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