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EAR PLUG with Jan Sleigh

00:00 1st July 2007 by Boardseeker
Earplug: Live Earth London, Wembley Stadium, July 7th, 2007

This month our resident windsurfing muso Jan Sleigh headed into the big smoke to check out not only one of the biggest festivals of the year but the one that might have the biggest impact on windsurfing and the weather: Live Earth.



The Issue

I have to admit that up until recently I have had a pretty ambivalent view about global warming. If a slight rise in temperature is going to bring more wind, stronger more frequent storms and more waves, how bad can it be?  And hasn’t the planet been through many, many temperature changes over the millennia anyway? Could it just be that the rise in temperature is something that is beyond our control?

On the other hand, whether we like it or not, we as a species do have a huge impact on the environment and the natural order of the planet. We fish, mine, farm, build, drive and shape things to our own ends sometimes to the detriment of other creatures occupying this precious place we call home. As sentient beings shouldn’t we take some responsibility for the place we live and make sure our actions don’t screw it up for every other living thing?

Well many people think so and got together to create Live Earth to promote awareness about these issues.


Madonna on Dave Grohl’s Guitar

The Beastie Boys


  So Many Concerts, So Little Time 

Since Live Aid there has been many, many charity concerts each raising awareness and money for a whole range of worthwhile causes. It seems like there has been so many that maybe people have become desensitised to them. Live Earth appeared to be smack bang in the middle of the summer festival season and ironically I got the impression that it was perhaps the most unpublicised, unpromoted and understated rock concert of the year despite the fact that it was simultaneously broadcast from eight cities (New York, London, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, and Hamburg).

What’s more, I think the difficulty in getting tickets didn’t help. You had to register your interest and then if you were lucky enough, a week before the concert, you were randomly selected to be able to go online and buy them. But the gig had a cracking line up and luckily I got two tickets!

The Line Up

Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, Bloc Party, Corine Bailey Rae, Damien Rice, David Gray, Duran Duran, Foo Fighters, Genesis, James Blunt, John Legend, Kasabian, Keane, Madonna, Metallica, Paolo Nutini, Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow Patrol, Spinal Tap, Terra Naomi and the Pussycat Dolls.

Around the world bands included Crowded House, Wolfmother, John Butler Trio, Lenny Kravitz, Macy Gray, Chris Cornell, Shakira, Snoop Dog, Linkin Park, Joss Stone, UB40, AFI, Akon, Bon Jovi, The Police, Fall Out Boy, Smashing Pumpkins, KT Tunstall and Dave Matthews Band to name just a few.

Live Earth London was held in the New Wembley Stadium. This was my first time there so I didn’t really know what to expect. It is a pretty colossal venue and seems to be organized very well, apart from the lack of cash machines. If you want to by anything its cash only, and if you need to get some cash out you’ll have to stand in a queue for at least an hour with all the other people who didn’t know it was cash only. We were sitting right up in the gods so we had a spectacular view – if only it was a little far away.

The music: The gig kicked off with a reunited Genesis who did a good job of opening in what was a tall order; trying to get things going in the middle of day when not everyone had arrived yet. A stream of small sets followed like a well oiled machine. I guess my only complaints would be that because it was a long day, there was a constant stream of people walking in and out of the stadium to get food or whatever. So from where I sat for most of the day the stadium didn’t look full. There were also some sound issues with some of the bands; for example, some band’s sound just couldn’t fill the stadium.

Metallica, on the other hand, kinda stole the show simply by being the only band whose sound could actually fill Wembley stadium ten times over. They cleverly played three enormous tracks from the Black Album.

Opening with “Sad But True” they stopped people in their tracks and just blew every act that had been on before away. The best acts and most memorable for me were Snow Patrol because they played beautiful music, Keane because their different piano led rock seemed to somehow work, Black Eyed Peas because they got people going and put on a good show, Metallica because they were just monstrous, Razorlight because they are the band of now and put out some good catch tunes, Duran Duran because they were part of my youth, Pussycat Dolls for obvious visual reasons and Madonna for a truly great show and performance (but I wish she hadn’t tried to copy Dave Grohl by running around the stage playing a guitar).

Red Hot Chillis because while being a favourite band of mine I felt were a bit disappointing and didn’t somehow match up to my expectation. The Beastie Boys too didn’t live up to expectations and seemed to suffer from sound issues.

The Foo Fighters who were quite simply the best band there. They were the first to get everyone in the seats up standing on their feet, they got the biggest cheers from the crowd when the line up was announced and when they were introduced and they filled the stadium with music and personality. It was clear many people had come to see them and those who hadn’t would want to again.

Metallica dishing out audial blows

Chilli Peppers – not as hot as expected

Supreme talent

The Message

Throughout the event, each act was punctuated by a celeb doing a quick stint at informing you of some of the things man does to contribute to global warming and some of the things we can do to counteract its effect and help prevent it.

These announcements were followed by brief infomercials giving statistics and highlighting some of the issues. From my point of view the message was almost downplayed. Kind of “here’s some information about global warming, here’s what it is doing and here’s some small things about how we can help curb its effect. Basically it’s up to you if you want to do it”.

From my point of view it was well done and has got me thinking and acting in small ways. My ambivalence to global warming was swayed by going to Live Earth. I now think more and do a few small things to try and contribute it. It’s all about balance and if you can tip the balance in the right direction then that is a good thing.

Check out www.liveearth.org for more info.


Here are a few albums to check out from some of the bands


Artists name:



The Black Album

This album took Metallica from underground thrash metal to broader appeal, over ground world domination!

Artists name:




Simply a good album to bonk to.



Artists name:

Foo Fighters


There is Nothing Left to Loose

It’s hard to pick out just one album but this is a good place to start.

Artists name:




If you like rocked up Oasis, you’ll like this!



Artists name:



Under the Iron Sea

Keane’s sophomore album.

Artists name:

Red Hot Chilli Peppers


Blood Sugar Sex Magik

If you have it already try “Mothers Milk”.



Artists name:

Black Eyed Peas



This commercially successful album is a classic.

Artists name:

Snow Patrol


Final Straw

A very easy choice – superb album.



Artists name:

Beastie Boys


Licensed to ill

This may not be everyone’s favourite but personally I’d have to go for this one.

Artists name:

Pussy Cat Dolls



Which includes the catchy “Don’t Cha” single on it.



Artists name:




Includes the singles In The Morning and America .

Artists name:

Spinal Tap


Break like the wind

This album re-unites the world’s greatest ever rock band and catapults them away from the lowest point of their career (supporting puppet shows at a children’s amusement park) to the stratospheric high of stadium filler.



Artists name:



Turn it on Again

This Genesis 2007 re-release holds a fair number of their top tracks.

Artists name:

Duran Duran


The Singles 1981- 1985

You probably can’t go wrong with this box set.



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