January 4, 2005
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Tags: Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof, charity concerts, Comic Relief, Concert for Bangladesh, Farm Aid, John Mellencamp, Live Aid, Neil Young, U2, Willie Nelson
Spearheaded by George Harrison, the Concert for Bangladesh was attended by more than 40,000 fans. The lineup at Madison Square Garden was a who’s who of the era’s most popular rock musicians: Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Badfinger, Leon Russell, Billy Preston and Ravi Shankar. The concert, along with sales from the live album, raised more than $10 million for the nation’s starving refugees.
Though U2 has been making records for almost two decades, the musicians opted to concentrate on the new rather than indulge in nostalgia. But that’s not to say that they didn’t have fun with a few oldies. While their set list included nine cuts from their current “Pop” album, one of the evening’s highlights was the Edge’s campy solo turn at singing “Sweet Caroline,” karaoke style. The guitarist appeared to be having a great time, punching his fist in the air and encouraging fans to sing louder.
U2 started off its six-song encore with a mighty lemon drop – literally. Riding in the giant mirror ball, the musicians left more than a few fans wondering whether they might have a “Spinal Tap” moment and get stuck in the contraption. (They didn’t.) Rather than “Lemon” – the obvious choice – they played a slowed-down version of “Discotheque” that stripped the song of its oomph. Much better were the haunting ballads “With or Without You” and “One,” which closed the show.