Live 8 concerts draw 1 million

July 2, 2005 at 4:30 PM
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LONDON, July 2 (UPI) -- The Live 8 concerts brought out more than a million rock fans and anti-poverty activists around the world Saturday.

The series of concerts aimed at pushing for increased aid for Africa got off to a slow start in Japan, when a crowd of 10,000 half-filled a suburban Tokyo stadium to hear a lineup headed by Icelandic star Bjork, the New York Times reported. But the momentum picked up elsewhere, with concerts in London, Johannesburg and Philadelphia drawing huge crowds.

In London, Paul McCartney and U2 kicked off the concert singing the title track from The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The song's opening line -- "It was 20 years ago today" -- referred to the 20 years since Sir Bob Geldof organized the original LiveAid concert.

The event in Hyde Park featured another kind of star as well when Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has donated millions of dollars to organizations involved in Africa, addressed the crowd.

The concerts were timed to influence the G8 Summit, which begins Wednesday in Gleneagles, Scotland. Geldof organized 10 concerts for Live 8 -- including shows in Barrie, Ontario; Berlin; Cornwall in southwest England; Moscow; Paris and Rome.

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