So, I watched a good chunk of the 12-12-12 concert Wednesday night. I forgot it was on, to be honest, and only found it when I decided I needed some brain melt time, shortly after 8 PM. I turn on the TV and there’s Bruce Springsteen, looking like he’s the one who should be playing a mobster on The Sopranos, instead of his buddy, Little Steven, wrapping up Born to Run. I stuck around for the next four hours, until I was driven away by a deadly combination of fatigue, Kanye West, the truly awful ‘Drunk Uncle’ sketch, and one-too-many instances of Brian Williams saying, “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a celebrity back here.”
I did enjoy the show overall. I thought most of the musical performances were strong, though I also thought the comedic bits were universally unfunny. The cause is excellent, and I suspect the concert raised a lot of money that will hopefully get to the people who need it the most. There is, however, one question that’s been bugging me since somewhere in the middle of the evening. I think it first popped into my brain when they started flashing the ‘coming up’ promos during stage changeovers:
Where were the women?
There were plenty of women in Madison Square Garden for the show. I saw them dancing, smiling, waving their cell phones in the air. They were at the phone bank, there were at least two who appeared on camera between musical acts. And there were a lot of women onstage, but aside from Alicia Keys, they were backup singers and part of the band. So, where were the women?
Now I know there’s a lot of things that go into producing something like this, a lot of considerations that go into selecting the acts. Most of the acts were ‘classic’ acts–Springsteen, Clapton, The Who, the Stones, Roger Waters–giants in the industry, big box office draws, who appeal to the demographic that I presume is seen as having the most money to give. You’re not going to stuff this event with teeny-bopper heartthrobs, because the teeny-boppers can’t fork over the cash.
There’s also availability. Bruce and Bon Jovi are local guys, you know they’re going to turn out for something like this. So is Billy Joel. The Who and the Stones both happen to be touring the US right now, and Sir Paul McCartney can do whatever he wants, wherever he wants, whenever he wants–he’s Paul freakin’ McCartney, after all. So the biggest women stars in the business today–Adele, Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna, and I know I’m missing many others–may not have had the right combination of interest, audience, and availability for an event of this sort. Still, the night was notable for what it lacked.
I hate to see these kinds of events, because it means something terrible has happened somewhere in the world, something that has caused suffering among large numbers of people. But it will happen again, because that’s just how the world is, things happen. And it will happen again because people want to help, they want to contribute and make things better, and that says a lot about us. I just hope that, when it does happen again, we see a better balance on the stage.
In light of Monday’s post about John Lennon, I came across a link to the so-called ‘last interview’ he did for Rolling Stone magazine, about three days before he was killed. It’s a really interesting read, and some parts that struck me as being appropriate for all of us writers here. Check it out here.
That’s all for me, have a great weekend, all!