Weird gulf coast benefit concert

This is weird. Right now we’re watching Shelter from the Storm, “A Concert for the Gulf Coast”. It’s the strangest benefit “concert” I’ve ever seen.

First, it’s on every TV network. There’s a list of them at that URL above. Eight broadcast networks, a couple dozen cable channels including CNBC, The Tennis Channel, and “TV Guide Channel”. There’s really no announcing/MC, although Ellen DeGeneres came out and introduced the whole show. I still have no idea at all who opened the show. And there is no audience. So the musicians don’t talk to the TV audience, they just stand nearly motionless on an eerily-dark stage and play while cameras cover them from angles that look nothing like a live concert.

Morgan Freeman is narrating right now. I’m waiting for him to say “If they do not do this, they will die.” At the bottom of the screen it alternates between the Red Cross’s URL and that of the Salvation Army. (!?)

Here’s the list of musical performers:

Mary J. Blige, Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks, Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, U2, Kanye West, Neil Young

And celebrity appearances:

Jennifer Aniston, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Ellen DeGeneres, Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Sela Ward

I guess they just grabbed whoever had Friday night free or something. Rod Stewart?

It’s some of the weirdest production techniques I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s only one hour long. It’s so weird. I don’t get what the simulcast accomplishes — surely if I wanted to watch it I would tune to the channel(s) it was on, and if I didn’t want to watch it, reducing the available options isn’t going to make me donate.

Oop, now they’re showing dead bodies while they play a Green Day tune (which Green Day presumably is not playing live). And now Jack Nicholson is singing Maria into a telephone from the pledge desk. What the heck is this?

Edit: You can watch online!

8 responses to “Weird gulf coast benefit concert”

  1. i’d take rod stewart over mary j blige or kanye west any day (or garth brooks for that matter), but i guess that’s not really the point. :)

    everything that anyone can do to raise money is pretty cool. it’s a horrible tragedy, bigger in my opinion than 911. i dread seeing what drek they have planned for that memorial in the wake of katrina. bleh.

  2. Actually, Rod ended up doing “People Get Ready”, which is one I sort of like, but still, when you’re featuring Rod Stewart in your press release you’ve done something wrong.

  3. That song is HUGE in Vanuatu. It’s popular as a non-denominational christian hymn, which can be played without causing any particular church to get its bishops in a knot.