02 July 2005

live8 philly

Ok, so the media is pooh-poohing the idea that Philly actually had 1 million people show up. I'm not so skeptical.

The standard estimate for filling the Ben Franklin Parkway from the Art Museum to Logan Circle is around 400,000 people. The Parkway wasn't as jammed full of people as it could be, but the crowd extended all the way up to Love Park and City Hall. Factor in the amount continual turnover - people leaving, more people arriving - and the 1 million estimate doesn't seem so far-fetched, taking the entire stretch of time from noon until 8pm.

In any case, Live8 was a blast. I got there around 3pm and left sometime after 7pm, so got back not too long ago, tired and hungry, particularly since I biked there and back.

The place, especially up toward the stage, was super-packed and very hot, with lots of riled up college and post-college folks having a great time, singing, shouting, bouncing around beach balls, with empty cans of beer littering the ground and a faint scent of pot in the air.

The music line-up was an odd mix ranging from hip hop to country, which turned out to be pretty cool, even though I still would have prefered being in London. I was here live for Linkin Park with Jay-Z, Def Leppard, Sarah McLachlan with Josh Groban, Maroon 5, Keith Urban, and Stevie Wonder - at least those were the ones I could identify, when I wasn't trying to weave my way through the sea of people, mobile blogging and snapping pics.

In between the live acts they broadcast performers from other venues including Green Day from Berlin and Pink Floyd from London, as well as Elton John who will be appearing for the big free 4th of July pre-fireworks concert in Philly on Monday, along with Patti Labelle, Bryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright, and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.

That's City Hall, above, by the way - a lovely old building, designed by a 19th century architect who was also a deacon at our church and designed the church building we worship in.