A Conspiracy of Hope Tour

A Conspiracy of Hope Tour

Overview
A Conspiracy of Hope was a short tour of six benefit concert
Benefit concert
A benefit concert or charity concert is a concert, show or gala featuring musicians, comedians, or other performers that is held for a charitable purpose, often directed at a specific and immediate humanitarian crisis. Such events raise both funds and public awareness to address the cause at...

s on behalf of Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 that took place in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 during June 1986. The purpose of the tour was not to raise funds but rather to increase awareness of human rights and of Amnesty's work on its 25th anniversary, and to invite a new generation take action to free prisoners of conscience. The shows were headlined by U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

, Sting and Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams, is a Canadian rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, bassist, producer, actor and photographer. Adams has won dozens of awards and nominations, including 20 Juno Awards among 56 nominations. He has also received 15 Grammy Award nominations including a win for Best Song Written...

 and also featured Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer, musician, and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career...

, Lou Reed
Lou Reed
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed is an American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, and for his successful solo career, which has spanned several decades...

, Joan Baez
Joan Baez
Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

, and The Neville Brothers
The Neville Brothers
The Neville Brothers, an American R&B and soul group, was formed in 1977 in New Orleans, Louisiana.-History:The group notion started in 1976, when the four brothers of the Neville family, Art , Charles , Aaron , and Cyril The Neville Brothers, an American R&B and soul group, was formed in 1977 in...

.
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A Conspiracy of Hope was a short tour of six benefit concert
Benefit concert
A benefit concert or charity concert is a concert, show or gala featuring musicians, comedians, or other performers that is held for a charitable purpose, often directed at a specific and immediate humanitarian crisis. Such events raise both funds and public awareness to address the cause at...

s on behalf of Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 that took place in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 during June 1986. The purpose of the tour was not to raise funds but rather to increase awareness of human rights and of Amnesty's work on its 25th anniversary, and to invite a new generation take action to free prisoners of conscience. The shows were headlined by U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

, Sting and Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams, is a Canadian rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, bassist, producer, actor and photographer. Adams has won dozens of awards and nominations, including 20 Juno Awards among 56 nominations. He has also received 15 Grammy Award nominations including a win for Best Song Written...

 and also featured Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer, musician, and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career...

, Lou Reed
Lou Reed
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed is an American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, and for his successful solo career, which has spanned several decades...

, Joan Baez
Joan Baez
Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

, and The Neville Brothers
The Neville Brothers
The Neville Brothers, an American R&B and soul group, was formed in 1977 in New Orleans, Louisiana.-History:The group notion started in 1976, when the four brothers of the Neville family, Art , Charles , Aaron , and Cyril The Neville Brothers, an American R&B and soul group, was formed in 1977 in...

. The last three shows featured a reunion of The Police
The Police
The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the vast majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting , Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland...

. At press conferences in each city, at related media events, and through their music at the concerts themselves, the artists engaged with the public on themes of human rights and human dignity. The six concerts were the first of what subsequently became known collectively as the Human Rights Concerts
Human rights concerts
The Human Rights Concerts is the collective name informally used to describe the series of 28 rock concerts presented worldwide 1986-1998 to raise funds for – and awareness of - the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organization Amnesty International....

 - a series of music events and tours staged by the US Section of Amnesty International between 1986-1998.

Background


The tour was conceived by the Executive Director of Amnesty International's U.S. section, Jack Healey
Jack Healey
Jack Healey is an American human rights activist and pioneer. A leader in the human rights movement for over 47 years, Jack has helped move the topic of human rights from closed-door diplomatic negotiations to widespread awareness, public debate, and direct citizen action...

. The tour was run by famed rock promotor Bill Graham
Bill Graham (promoter)
Bill Graham was an American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death.-Early life:...

, who served as executive producer along with Healey and Mary Daly. James Radner was "Concerts for Freedom" manager for the tour. In developing the tour, Healey drew on his relationship with Martin Lewis who had first recruited rock musicians such as Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend
Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group The Who, as well as for his own solo career...

, Sting and Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer, musician, and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career...

 to work with Amnesty several years before for The Secret Policeman's Balls
The Secret Policeman's Balls
The Secret Policeman's Balls is the collective name informally used to describe the long-running series of benefit shows staged in England to raise funds for the human rights organisation Amnesty International...

 series of benefit shows in England (1976-1981).

Tickets for some of the shows were sold by mail-order lottery, a method popular in the 1970s for high-demand shows but here used for pretty much the last time, with computerized services such as Ticketron
Ticketron
Ticketron was a computerized event ticketing technology that was in operation from the 1960s until it was purchased by Ticketmaster in 1991.Ticketron was the name of a service created by Ticket Reservations Systems, Inc. The company changed its name to Ticketron in July, 1969...

 rapidly taking over. The concert in Denver was the only show that did not sell out, even with most of the top names on the bill. The local promoter blamed the title of the concert for radio stations believing there truly was a conspiracy
.

Performances

Date City Country Venue
4 June 1986 Daly City, California
Daly City, California
Daly City is the largest city in San Mateo County, California, United States, with a 2010 population of 101,123. Located immediately south of San Francisco, it is named in honor of businessman and landowner John Daly.-History:...

United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Cow Palace
Cow Palace
Cow Palace is an indoor arena, in Daly City, California, situated on the city's border with neighboring San Francisco, notable as a sporting arena.-History:...

6 June 1986 Inglewood, California
Inglewood, California
Inglewood is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, southwest of downtown Los Angeles. It was incorporated on February 14, 1908. Its population stood at 109,673 as of the 2010 Census...

The Forum
8 June 1986 Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

McNichols Sports Arena
McNichols Sports Arena
McNichols Sports Arena was an indoor arena, in Denver, Colorado, USA, adjacent to Mile High Stadium. Completed in 1975, at a cost of $10 million, it seated 16,061, for hockey games, 17,171, for basketball games and contained 27 luxury suites, which were installed as part of the 1986 renovation. It...

11 June 1986 Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

The Omni
13 June 1986 Rosemont, Illinois
Rosemont, Illinois
Rosemont is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States located immediately northwest of Chicago. The village was incorporated in 1956, though it had been settled long before that...

Rosemont Horizon
Allstate Arena
Allstate Arena is a multi-purpose arena, in Rosemont, Illinois.It is home to the Chicago Rush, of the Arena Football League, DePaul University's men's basketball team, the Chicago Wolves, of the AHL, and the Chicago Sky, of the WNBA.It is located near the intersection of Mannheim Road and...

15 June 1986 East Rutherford, New Jersey
East Rutherford, New Jersey
East Rutherford is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 8,913. It is an inner-ring suburb of New York City, located west of Midtown Manhattan....

Giants Stadium
Giants Stadium
Giants Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex. Maximum seating capacity was 80,242. The building itself was 230.5 m long, 180.5 m wide and 44 m high from service level to the top of the seating bowl and 54 m high to...



The final show at Giants Stadium show was a sold-out, all-day event, running from noon until 11 p.m., and at an outdoor stadium
Stadium
A modern stadium is a place or venue for outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.)Pausanias noted that for about half a century the only event...

 rather than the indoor arena
Arena
An arena is an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events. It is composed of a large open space surrounded on most or all sides by tiered seating for spectators. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the...

s used for the first five stops. As such, these additional artists played there: John Eddie
John Eddie
John Eddie is an American folk rock singer. Eddie moved to New Jersey in the 1970s and became a popular club circuit musician there, occasionally performing with Bruce Springsteen. Eddie signed with Columbia Records and released two albums, in 1986 and 1990. The 1986 single, "Jungle Boy" peaked on...

 with Max Weinberg
Max Weinberg
Max Weinberg is an American drummer and television personality, most widely known as the longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and as the bandleader for Conan O'Brien on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.Weinberg grew up in suburban New Jersey...

, Third World
Third World (band)
Third World is a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1973. Their sound is influenced by soul, funk and disco.-History:Third World started when keyboard player Michael "Ibo" Cooper and guitarist Stephen "Cat" Coore, who had originally played in The Alley Cats then Inner Circle, subsequently left to form...

, The Hooters
The Hooters
The Hooters is an American rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By combining a mix of rock and roll, reggae, ska and folk music, The Hooters first gained major commercial success in the United States in the mid 1980s due to heavy radio and MTV airplay of several songs including "All You...

, Peter Paul & Mary, Little Steven
Steven Van Zandt
Steven Van Zandt is an Italian-American musician, songwriter, arranger, record producer, actor, and radio disc jockey, who frequently goes by the stage names Little Steven or Miami Steve...

 with Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof
Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his...

, Stanley Jordan
Stanley Jordan
Stanley Jordan is an American jazz/jazz fusion guitarist and pianist, best known for his development of the tapping technique for the guitar....

, Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading
Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, MBE is a British singer, songwriter and guitarist. Armatrading is a three-time Grammy Award-nominee and has been nominated twice for BRIT Awards as Best Female Artist...

, Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has sold over 17 million albums in the United States alone....

, Rubén Blades
Rubén Blades
Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna is a Panamanian salsa singer, songwriter, lawyer, actor, Latin jazz musician, and politician, performing musically most often in the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz genres...

 with Fela
Fela Kuti
Fela Anikulapo Kuti , or simply Fela , was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.-Biography:...

 and Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana
Carlos Augusto Alves Santana is a Mexican rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion...

, Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

, Howard Jones
Howard Jones (musician)
Howard Jones is a musician, singer and songwriter. According to the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, "Jones is an accomplished singer-songwriter who was a regular chart visitor in the mid 1980s with his brand of synthpop. Jones, who was equally popular in the U.S., appeared at Live...

, Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

, and Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell, CC is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto...

. Spoken introductions were made by Bill Graham, Bill Bradley
Bill Bradley
William Warren "Bill" Bradley is an American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, and former three-term Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party's nomination for President in the 2000 election.Bradley was born and raised in a suburb of St....

, Darryl Hannah, Robert DeNiro, Christopher Reeve
Christopher Reeve
Christopher D'Olier Reeve was an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author and activist...

, Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox, OC is a Canadian American actor, author, producer, activist and voice-over artist. With a film and television career spanning from the late 1970s, Fox's roles have included Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy ; Alex P...

, and Muhammed Ali.
The show was televised in its entirety by MTV
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

, with the final three hours syndicated on broadcast television by Viacom
Viacom
Viacom Inc. , short for "Video & Audio Communications", is an American media conglomerate with interests primarily in, but not limited to, cinema and cable television...

. Westwood One
Westwood One
Westwood One was an American radio network and was based in New York City. At one time, it was managed by CBS Radio, the radio arm of CBS Corporation, and Viacom and was later purchased by the private equity firm The Gores Group...

 handled the radio broadcast. Celebrities and leaders in the entertainment industry, including Robin Williams
Robin Williams
Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance...

 (by improvisation) and John Huston
John Huston
John Marcellus Huston was an American film director, screenwriter and actor. He wrote most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon , The Treasure of the Sierra Madre , Key Largo , The Asphalt Jungle , The African Queen , Moulin Rouge...

 (overcoming emphysema), appeared on camera to narrate public service announcements about human rights for the television broadcast.

Jackson Browne had also performed at the San Francisco and Los Angeles shows. Robin Williams had also performed an impromptu stand-up set at the Chicago show. Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

 and Sean Penn
Sean Penn
Sean Justin Penn is an American actor, screenwriter and film director, also known for his political and social activism...

 introduced Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams, is a Canadian rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, bassist, producer, actor and photographer. Adams has won dozens of awards and nominations, including 20 Juno Awards among 56 nominations. He has also received 15 Grammy Award nominations including a win for Best Song Written...

 at the opening night in San Francisco.

Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend
Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group The Who, as well as for his own solo career...

 was scheduled to play the Giants Stadium show, but cancelled at the last moment when his father, Cliff Townshend, became gravely ill. This would have been Pete Townshend's first ever US solo appearance.

Musical themes


The tour artists generally arranged their sets around themes of politics, freedom, and courage. Multiple performers joined U2 for Little Steven's "Sun City
Sun City (song)
"Sun City" is a 1985 protest song written by Steven Van Zandt, produced by Van Zandt and Arthur Baker and recorded by Artists United Against Apartheid to convey opposition to the South African policy of apartheid...

", while the assembled multitude sang Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

's "I Shall Be Released
I Shall Be Released
"I Shall Be Released" is a 1967 song written by Bob Dylan.The Band played it on their debut album, Music from Big Pink , with Richard Manuel singing lead vocals, and Rick Danko and Levon Helm harmonizing in the chorus...

" at the end. Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

 sometimes joined The Police for the Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

-flavored "Invisible Sun
Invisible Sun
"Invisible Sun" is a hit single by rock group The Police, released in September 1981. The song's lyrics stem from songwriter Sting's pondering how people living in war-torn and/or impoverished countries find the will to go on living, and despite the dark music and often morbid lyrical statements,...

", while Fela and Santana joined the Neville Brothers as well. Some of the less rock-oriented acts lost crowd attention during the long Giants Stadium event (notably Joni Mitchell, who admonished the audience from the stage for their rowdy behavior during her set), although Baez was well received with a diverse set that included a rousing version of "The Times They are A-Changin'
The Times They Are a-Changin'
The Times They Are a-Changin opens with the title track, one of Dylan's most famous songs. Dylan's friend, Tony Glover, recalls visiting Dylan's apartment in September 1963, where he saw a number of song manuscripts and poems lying on a table. "The Times They Are a-Changin'" had yet to be recorded,...

", as well as Fela and the Nevilles assisting her on Tears for Fears
Tears for Fears
Tears for Fears are an English new wave band formed in the early 1980s by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith.Founded after the dissolution of their first band, the mod-influenced Graduate, they were initially associated with the New Wave synthesiser bands of the early 1980s but later branched out into...

' "Shout
Shout (Tears for Fears song)
"Shout" is a song by the British band Tears for Fears.Written by Roland Orzabal and Ian Stanley and sung by Orzabal , it was the band's eighth single release and sixth UK Top 40 hit, peaking at #4 in January 1985...

". (Curt Smith
Curt Smith
Curt Smith is an English musician. He is best known for forming the band Tears for Fears, along with childhood friend Roland Orzabal. Also a solo artist, he released his third album Halfway, Pleased in May 2008....

 of Tears for Fears was in the audience at the Cow Palace show, and joined Baez and the Nevilles on that show's performance of this song.)

The tour enhanced the growing stature of both Peter Gabriel and U2, who were on upswings of popularity and whose "Shock the Monkey
Shock the Monkey
"Shock the Monkey" is a 1982 song by Peter Gabriel. It was released as a single and peaked at number 29 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 1 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart. The song was Gabriel's first Top 40 hit in the US. In the UK, the song charted at number 58. It was included on...

" and "Bad
Bad (U2 song)
"Bad" is a song by rock band U2 and the seventh track from their 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire. A song about heroin addiction, it is considered a fan favourite, and is one of U2's most frequently performed songs in concert....

" respectively showed percussive, hypnotic power in large settings. Sting was originally slated for the tour as a solo performer with his touring band, but he reconvened The Police
The Police
The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the vast majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting , Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland...

 for the final three concerts (with their first appearance, in Atlanta, being unannounced) to further assist Amnesty's fund-raising and profile-raising with the enhanced value of a Police reunion. These were the last public Police performances until their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 induction in 2003.

Impact


Inevitably there were some who wondered whether attendees were understanding the message of the event or simply there for the music. A Philadelphia rock radio station sent an interviewer into the Giants Stadium concessions line, who seemed shocked to encounter an audience member who not only knew what Amnesty was but was a member.

Bono addressed the doubters and cynics in an interview in Rolling Stone shortly before the tour began in which he said that he knew first-hand the value of attending such shows: "The audience is going to be great. I know that because I was part of that audience once. I saw 'The Secret Policeman's Ball' and it became a part of me ... It sowed a seed."

On Monday June 16, the morning after the final show at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, Sting, Peter Gabriel, tour promoter Bill Graham and Amnesty director Jack Healey were guests on the Today Show. Host Bryant Gumbel
Bryant Gumbel
Bryant Charles Gumbel is an American television journalist and sportscaster. He is best known for his 15 years as co-host of NBC's The Today Show. He is the younger brother of sportscaster Greg Gumbel.-Early life:...

asked, “I don’t think any of us would quibble about the worth of the cause but what leads you to believe that anybody left with anything more than a smile?”

Sting responded:

One month after the tour, the membership of Amnesty International in the United States had increased by 45,000 members.
Concert-goers had been asked to send appeals for freedom on behalf of six prisoners of conscience, two of whom were released within months after the tour.

External links