As Live 8, the mega-concert organized by Bob Geldof, kicks off this weekend, Irish rock star Bono wants to remind the world the event is about much more than music.
The goal of Live 8 is to focus the world's attention on poverty in Africa. And as President Bush prepares to meet next week with the leaders of the G-8 -- the eight wealthiest nations in the world -- Bono is pushing him to do more.
Praise for Bush
Bono has praised Bush's stated commitment to help Africa but says the United States needs to increase aid. This week, Bush proposed to raise U.S. assistance to Africa to $8.6 billion in 2010, from $4.3 billion in 2004.
In an interview with ABC News' Kate Snow, Bono said that he hopes Bush will take the lead on the Africa issue at next week's summit.
"Well, I think the message is right on target, and the president deserves a great deal of credit there," Bono said. "We'd like more money. We still think America's commitment is too low on the money side. But on the message side, it's bang on. And we are looking to President Bush arguing aggressively on trade subsidies, a very touchy subject in Europe, when he gets … to the G-8 summit."
Responding to Live 8 Critics
Live 8 has not been without its critics. Some wonder how exactly a gigantic free rock concert will help solve the myriad problems of Africa.
The former international development secretary of Britain recently said, "People will enjoy the concert because there will be famous bands, but quite how concerts are going to eliminate poverty in the world is not clear."
Bono, Geldolf and other organizers maintain that, like it or not, rock stars and other celebrities have the public's ear.
"The educational aspect of people just talking about it … that's what changes things," Bono said, "not music, not the rock stars. We know that. It's the audience our politicians are afraid of."
Some critics have also pointed out that only a handful of the 160 performers at the shows are African. Bono said that he, too, questioned Geldolf about that choice but called Geldolf a "very shrewd guy."
"He thinks it's patronizing to put on African acts to an audience that doesn't know their music," Bono said. "He wants to make sure this is the most exciting, rocking, hip-hop show on Earth. And I wanted more African acts. I like African music. He said, 'Shut up, Bono. They are all listening to hip-hop anyway.' "
A Case of the Jitters
Bono and his U2 bandmates opened the London show backing former Paul McCartney on the classic Beatles' song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." It's the first time McCartney has performed the tune with a band since he recorded it with the Beatles.
Bono said that Geldolf ribbed him about the pressure of performing the classic.
"He said, '3.2 billion people are gonna be watching you. Does that make you nervous?' And the answer is yeah, it does," Bono told Snow.
The outspoken rock star nervous?
"I know, it's ruining my image," he said with a laugh.