One Love Manchester some thoughts

How did they do this?

We haven’t had this spirit here since 2001, when Jimmy Iovine used his network of superstars to present a televised concert that was roadblocked on all channels and evidenced the gravitas and grief we were all feeling while at the same time giving us hope.

But that was sixteen years ago.

A lot has happened in the interim. The internet was supposed to kill the music business, disincentivize anybody to produce, little did we know just the opposite would come true, that everybody would produce and we’d be overloaded with music and that streaming/on demand would win and the sound everybody would want to hear is hip-hop and pop, in that order. Not that the old farts like it. They’re still clinging to their CDs and their downloads, still carping that the album is the thing and they want to jet back to yesteryear but a generation even younger than the millennials doesn’t care. I’m not saying that music drives the culture the same way it did way back when, but I am saying it touches today’s fans dramatically and they go nowhere without it, it’s always in the background.

But the scene is fractured. There’s the youth market and chaos.

And believe me, the youth know the game. They’re the anti-oldsters, they’re producing all the time, uploading to YouTube, making Snapchat Stories, and putting out singles, knowing that you live and die on the track.

And showing up and putting on this amazing concert in Manchester seemingly minutes since the tragedy, just a night after another tragedy. America was staying home, scared witless back in 2001, like a terrorist was gonna come knock on their front door, but in Manchester the same people who went to the ill-fated show showed up again. Because they know life is for the living. And once you kowtow to the forces, once you run scared, you’ve already lost.

I winced when I heard Bieber invoke the name of God. Isn’t that how we got into this mess? Have we learned nothing in hundreds of years? Can we leave the deity out of it? But no one ever accused pop stars of being smart.

But you’ve got to give credit to Scooter Braun, he’s very smart, he pulled this thing off.

Oldsters say no. Oldsters are about the money. Oldsters are scared.

But Scooter and his team made it happen, just that fast.

credit -Getty Images

Oldsters would have canceled after last night’s shenanigans. Oldsters wouldn’t have even committed. But no one flaked, everybody did their duty and the crowd loved it, what an INSPIRATION!

Not that everybody in America was aware, because we were praying to our true deity, sports, the NBA Finals took precedence. This show should have been roadblocked on every channel, just like in 2001, because contrary to our nitwit President we live in the age of globalization. Our pop stars are their pop stars and vice versa, we’re all in it together, but somehow America thinks it can go it alone.

It can’t.

Just like cities, states and corporations have committed to meeting the Paris climate standards on their own, these pop stars stood up for not only their art, but the American Way. You know what the American Way is? FREEDOM! Freedom to make your music and sing it and perform it and have others enjoy it, unfettered by hatred. And they might have terrorists in the U.K., but it’s America that is the land of hatred, where we cannot accept our brother, where we keep pointing our finger at perceived enemies, the immigrant, the person of color, the one with the different faith and I’m not saying the U.K. is completely absent these elements but we here are a couple of years and a couple of changes behind their society, they’ve been dealing with immigration and terrorism for years, but they soldier on.

If only we could have a concert like this in the U.S.

If only we could have a nationally televised event like Glastonbury.

If only we could rally around our music instead of arguing that others have the wrong taste. We’re a nation of exclusion instead of inclusion, and One Love was just that, about LOVE!

It’s the only way to keep us together.

And I could criticize the acts and the performances but that would be missing the point.

The point is these people showed up. They were unafraid, both onstage and off. They showed that nothing can stop our music, our love of the arts, our need to celebrate our unity.

This was not an old wave enterprise with a multi-month lead-up, with hype in every publication and faux interviews and all the detritus that detracts. No, there was an announcement just days before, the excitement never died down, it percolated and then built. No one was out of the loop. Because the word was spread online, those who truly cared found out, that’s how it is in the new game, marketing is ineffective. Which is why young stars release their work unannounced. Which is why young stars are accessible online. Which is why young stars resonate with their audience, they’re AVAILABLE!

You could learn something from today’s extravaganza.

Like where there’s a will there’s a way.

And people will step up for a cause.

And it’s not the baby boomers’ business anymore, the millennials have taken over, with a different ethos, one of honesty instead of duplicity, one of can-do as opposed to can-not, one of knowing when to charge and when not to, knowing that money is not everything, but image, credibility and the MUSIC are key!

There was no victory lap, only music.

Well done.


By Bob Lefsetz

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