June 28, 2005

Golden oldies go global for Geldof at Live 8

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Wrinkly rockers never die, they just docharity gigs.

Teenage pop fans hoping to hail their heroes at Saturday'sLive 8 concerts are in for a rude awakening when headline actshit the stage.

It is more likely to be their parents singing along toveteran rock stars who wrote the soundtrack to their lives allthose years ago.

Irish rocker Bob Geldof, whose aim is to pressure richcountries to alleviate poverty in Africa at July's G8 summit ofwestern industrialized nations, has his sights set high andmakes no apology for the acts.

Twenty years after he sought to halt Ethiopian famine withLive Aid, Geldof hopes to attract a world record audience andsays the only way is with globally recognized artists.

Critics carp at the line-up being "too damn Anglo-Saxon"and crammed with aging white rockers.

Children watching the show on television could get boredand head off to play on the computer when rock dinosaurs cometrundling on.

But Jonathan Bown from the teenage magazine Smash Hits wasconfident they would stay put.

"I think the kids will be watching along with Mum and Dadeven though there might be cries of 'Oh God they're old enoughto be my grandparents' when some acts come on," he said.

And he backed Geldof for thinking superstar.

"He has not deliberately overlooked hot bands. He islooking at who has sold the most records. If he just put on apop concert, I don't think he would get a global audience."

Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for Britain's HMV record chain,felt that nostalgia sells.

"What's wrong with the original masters who inspiredtoday's young acts? It gives us an opportunity to celebrate thestars who made it all possible in the sixties and seventies,"he said.

"Who would you rather hear, a here-today-gone-tomorrow boyband or Pink Floyd reforming after 20 years?"

Four members of the seminal British rock band are playingtogether for the first time in 24 years at Live 8 in London.

For heritage acts, as they are known in the industry,abound at the global concerts.

In London, the teens get Coldplay and Robbie Williams whiletheir parents are treated to Paul McCartney, Elton John, Stingand Madonna.

The kids get Kaiser Chiefs in Philadelphia along withStevie Wonder and Bon Jovi. A-Ha and Brian Wilson headline inBerlin, Duran Duran in Rome and Bryan Adams at Barrie nearToronto.

"The trouble is there are no teen acts today who sell alongnational lines. The people topping the bill are the biggestnames and they happen to be older," said pop pundit PaulGambaccini.

"Geldof wants maximum public attention. This is not anageist thing. Bob is being a mirror. It is not about who hethinks are his favorites or his daughters' favorites."

In an age of manufactured bands and reality TV shows like"Pop Idol," longevity is not in the marketing package.

"Live 8 is being given gravitas by the Elder Statesmanquality of the line-up," argued Daily Telegraph music criticNeil McCormick.

"This is not a teenage pop concert. Pink Floyd have soldtens of millions of records. By having them there, people saythis is something special."