Moscow Music Peace Festival
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|Location(s)||Soviet Union, Moscow|
|Founded by||Doc McGhee, Stas Namin|
The Moscow Music Peace Festival was a one-time gathering of high-profile hard rock acts for a performance in Moscow, Soviet Union on 12 and 13 August 1989 to promote world peace and establish international cooperation in fighting the drug war in Russia. It was part of an era of momentous change in the Soviet Union.
Production and crew
The show involved a large production team and logistics provided by Eurotruk. Generators powered the entire event as it was broadcast as a pay-per-view event by MTV. Catering came from the UK. There were direct-dial telephone lines from the production office, and satellite uplink from Bear Lake back to the USA.
The show production radios were the latest from the USA and some were encrypted. There was 6 Megawatts of power available from the generators.
The concert was put together by the Make a Difference Foundation, its founder, rock producer and manager Doc McGhee, Stas Namin and other major players in the Soviet Union and the United States. It is often stated that McGhee agreed to bring his artists to Moscow after becoming involved in a drug scandal himself and wishing to avoid a jail sentence, but he explicitly denied that in 2011. "We always wanted to go over to Moscow and do the first rock show in the Soviet Union. I wanted to do their Woodstock." Since it had also been part of that plan that the proceeds would go to Make a Difference and doctors would be brought to the USSR to teach methods of treating addiction (Soviet doctors at the time primarily used electroshock therapy for that purpose), he did not expect the sentencing judge would have denied him the opportunity.
Mötley Crüe have been on record stating they were upset with McGhee at this point in time. They felt McGhee was favoring Bon Jovi, whom he also managed, and whom Crüe disdained. When Bon Jovi closed the show, they used pyrotechnics, which Mötley Crüe had been told they could not do (McGhee claims it was a malfunction on one side of the stadium that he didn't hear because he was backstage). Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, whom McGhee also managed, says Tommy Lee went over to him and said "Your manager's a fucking asshole" and chugged most of a bottle of vodka Bach had been drinking (up to this point, Lee has said, it was the first time the band had done a show sober). Then he ran up to McGhee, punched him in the face and told him he could go manage The Chipmunks because he was no longer Mötley Crüe's manager. Bon Jovi fired him as well shortly afterwards. Lee and his bandmates were still so angry they refused to fly home on the same plane as McGhee.
The event was held over two days in Moscow's largest stadium, Luzhniki Stadium (Central Lenin Stadium at the time), which has a seating capacity of about 100,000. However, as the concert also included spectators on the field, the number of attendees was much greater. The event was the first rock concert to be held at the stadium, which had previously been used primarily for sporting events.
This was the first time that an audience had been allowed to stand up and dance at a stadium rock concert in the Soviet Union. Previous to this, all concerts had to be seated.
- Cinderella: Tom Keifer, Fred Coury, Jeff LaBar, Eric Brittingham
- Gorky Park: Alexei Belov, Nikolai Noskov, Sasha Minkov, Jan Ianenkov, Sasha Lvov
- Nuance: Nikolai Gorenko, Serg Titovets, Pavel Titovets, Andrei Shmigov
- Brigada-S: Garik Sukachov & the company
- Scorpions: Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs, Francis Buchholz, Herman Rarebell, Rudolf Schenker
- Skid Row: Sebastian Bach, Dave Sabo, Rob Affuso, Rachel Bolan, Scotti Hill
- Mötley Crüe: Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars
- Ozzy Osbourne: Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, Randy Castillo, Geezer Butler, John Sinclair
- Bon Jovi: Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Alec John Such, Tico Torres, David Bryan
- Special Guest (for finale): Jason Bonham
Each band performed about a 5-song set, however the time lengths for some of the sets, particularly by Bon Jovi, are substantially longer ( including 8 minutes of improv followed by Wanted Dead or Alive by Richie Sambora.) At the end of the concert was a collaboration of musicians, featuring Vince Neil & Sebastian Bach on vocals and Jason Bonham on drums, equally representing the bands performing a rendition of "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin.
- Holidays in the Sun
- Makin’ a Mess
- Piece of Me
- Big Guns
- 18 and Life
- Youth Gone Wild
- Bad Seamstress Blues
- Coming Home
- Nobody’s Fool
- Gypsy Road
- Shake Me
- Lay Your Hands on Me
- Wild in the Streets
- Blood on Blood
- Wanted Dead or Alive
- Livin’ on a Prayer
(Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Scorpions)
- Hound Dog
- Shout at the Devil
- Looks that Kill
- Smokin' in the Boys Room
- Girls, Girls, Girls
- Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley cover)
- Within Your Eyes
- Please Try and Find Me
- My Generation
- I Don’t Know
- Shot in the Dark
- Suicide Solution
- Sweet Leaf
- Big City Nights
- The Zoo
- Still Loving You
- Long Tall Sally
- Rock and Roll
The bands were all featured on the 1989 compilation album Stairway to Heaven/Highway to Hell, put out the Make a Difference Foundation. Each band recorded a song originally by some famous rock artist who had suffered a drug- or alcohol-related death. These included songs from The Who, the Sex Pistols, Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Bolin, Thin Lizzy, and Janis Joplin, along with a collaboration for Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" (for John Bonham), and a live collaboration where the bands perform a medley of Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin songs.
Despite the intended anti-drug message of the album, some bands later admitted in interviews that the Moscow Music Peace Festival period ironically included much drug use. One notable event in that matter was Ozzy Osbourne who strongly expressed his views against drug abuse during the press conference straight after his performance. After having completed the press conference it was that same Ozzy Osbourne who had to be helped through the narrow corridor leading back to the dressing rooms after continuously stumbling into both facing walls, not being able to walk straight.
Noted in books such as Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal, the concert also showcased the ego clashes which eventually helped lead to the collapse of glam metal shortly thereafter. Many of the bands argued over who went on before whom, and many were envious of Bon Jovi, who not only headlined the event and was far more considered to be pop music among the hard rock and heavy metal community, but also had a much more theatrical stage spectacle and longer set times; each band was supposed to do a stripped-down show with just music and no spectacular theatrics. Jon Bon Jovi supposedly offered his headlining spot to Ozzy Osbourne after Ozzy threatened to not go through with his set (a move many felt was calculated to further JBJ's 'boy next door' persona). Ozzy's set was initially scheduled before Mötley Crüe's set. Apparently, Ozzy felt his band was bigger and he should go on after Mötley Crüe. To solve the problem, Mötley Crüe went on before Ozzy but the tape was edited so it appeared Ozzy went on before Mötley Crüe to the viewers back in the U.S. Those involved in the show's production felt this was an egotistical bush move on Ozzy's behalf since this was supposed to be for charity, and left many in the rock 'n roll community confused since Ozzy and Mötley Crüe toured together for Ozzy's Bark at the Moon and Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil albums, respectively, and became fast friends during the tour.
The members of Mötley Crüe were so incensed about preferences shown to Bon Jovi that Tommy Lee punched manager Doc McGhee (who was also the manager for Bon Jovi) backstage at the venue (McGhee was fired shortly thereafter), opting to fly back to the US on their own. The concert was also often chided by the bands themselves as being hypocritical, as many of the musicians were drinking or using drugs at the time despite the ties with the Make a Difference Foundation.
Don't Blame Me: The Tales of Ozzy Osbourne states that after the event, Osbourne was given multiple bottles of Russian vodka. Ozzy drank all of them and became "beyond drunk". It was then that Osbourne attempted to kill his manager–wife Sharon Osbourne.
The Make A Difference Foundation was created by "Doc" McGee after his arrest for drug smuggling. As a condition of his parole he was to use his influence in the music world to start an anti-drug foundation. Even though Ozzy Osbourne, Richie Sambora, and most of the members of Mötley Crüe (particularly Nikki Sixx) were known for drug/alcohol abuse.