The Global Citizen concert, in Paris, between ire and songs

Billie Eilish (right) and her brother Finneas O'Connell at the Global Citizen party in Paris, June 22, 2023.

On September 25, 2021, an NGO, born in Melbourne in 2008 and little known in France, revived the musical high masses with an activist vocation by organizing the Global Citizen Live, twenty-four hours of concerts around two large stages installed on the Champ -de-Mars, in Paris, and in Central Park, New York. With two events launched by the Irish singer Bob Geldof as models: the Live 8 of 2005, itself a replica on a larger scale of the Live Aid of 1985 where Phil Collins had distinguished himself by an aeronautical and spatiotemporal exploit. The British musician had sung at London’s Wembley stadium, before rushing into a Concorde to do the same in Philadelphia. A fantasy that is no longer admissible in 2023, when the emergency is no longer the only famine in Ethiopia but the future of the planet.

Read the story: Article reserved for our subscribers With Global Citizen Live, the return of major charity concerts

Almost forty years later, the relevance and effectiveness of such initiatives are still debated. The goal of “Power Our Planet: Live in Paris”, the evening held on Thursday June 22, again between the Eiffel Tower and the ephemeral Grand Palais in front of 20,000 spectators, remains the same as in 2005 or in 2021: put pressure on the leaders gathered for a G8 or a G20. This time, it is on the occasion of the Summit for a new global financial pact hosted that same day and the next day at the Palais Brongniart.

Uniquely Parisian as a result, the second edition of Global Citizen in the French capital, broadcast live on YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter and the France Télévisions site, took a much more offensive turn than the previous one, which was still marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if the logistics, entrusted to the Californian entertainment giant Live Nation, were unchanged, as was the ticket office: free seats, provided you obtain points rewarding actions and have been selected by lot.

Parade of angry young women

This time, the stars of the musical programming, all American (Billie Eilish, Lenny Kravitz, HER and Jon Batiste) must fully share the stage with politicians and especially activists, present en masse, at the risk of being upstaged. Like his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto, Brazilian President Lula came, who focused his vehement intervention entirely on the future of the Amazon.

The 2021 edition, with its satellite links, was rather peaceful and kindly consensual. Fires, droughts and floods have raised the tone several notches. We witness a parade of angry young women, the Mexican-Chilean Xiye Bastida; Ecuadorian Helena Gualinga; the Filipina Mitzi Jonelle Tan or the New Zealander Brianna Fruean. Without forgetting the Savoyard Camille Etienne who expresses her indignation after the decree of dissolution targeting the Les Uprisings of the Earth movement, then denounces by name TotalEnergies and its oil projects in East Africa.

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