The One World Concert held at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, Oct. 9, had musical highlights and lowlights that jumped among styles and artists of different generations. There were golden moments, like when Iranian singer Andy Maladian and Isreali singer Liel Kolet shared the stage for a duet, a first in history; odd moments, when a glacial Engelbert Humperdinck lulled a pumped-up audience; and empty moments, when hip-hopper Nas failed to show up. The message emphasizing the importance of peace hit home hard as artists like Emmanuel Jal reminded audiences of the war and violence in countries like his home of Sudan, and he and Swizz Beatz asked listeners to show their peace signs. An audience of 24,000 responded to the request.
Dave Matthews delivered a short set of perfection through ideal song choices (“Don’t Drink the Water” and John Denver’s “Take Me to Tomorrow” among them) using a stripped-down, bare and beautiful delivery. Natasha Bedingfield got a rise from the crowd with her energetic performance of the optimistic tune, “Unwritten,” and Cyndi Lauper with Angelique Kidjo and David Sanborn stood out as a true example of varied and timeless talent, put together right.
Roberta Flack had to endure The Wave, seven times around the audience, in the middle of her heartfelt rendition of George Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity” (it was that people didn’t have sense enough to stop). And David Crosby took all of “Deju Vu” to warm up his pipes for “Long Time Gone” as every other musician on the stage (Don Was and his All-Star Band were on fire all night) took solos to keep the songs moving.
Andy Grammer added a touch of college youth to the show as he
sprinted into the audience and Counting Crows ended the night with songs
that sent listeners back to the 1990s via Adam Duritz and his
ever-unruly signature hair. But at the end of the very long event—things
wrapped up just after midnight—an energy still buzzed among the crowd,
one that hit a high when the Dalai Lama opened the night with a
50-minute opening talk. Peace starts within, His Holiness related, and
it’s up to every individual to make it happen within themselves in order
to make it grow. A positive global community starts with one person,
one family, one neighborhood, one state and one country before one
world. And perhaps it just started with one concert.