YouTube has broadcast its first live event, an extravaganza which was part concert and part variety show and which drew comments from viewers ranging from “AWESOME!” to “train wreck.”
The popular video-sharing Internet site streamed a two-hour live broadcast at youtube.com/live featuring well- to lesser-known singers, dancers and video bloggers who became online celebrities through YouTube.
Filmed before a live audience at the Fort Mason Center near San Francisco’s famed Fisherman’s Wharf, the show opened with a scantily clad Katy Perry performing her song “Hot and Cold,” a title which pretty much summed up the evening for the tens of thousands of users of the comments board.
“This is AWESOME! YOUTUBE RULEZ!!!!!!!” wrote twilightmaniac1901.
“GO YOUTUBE!” agreed 4yall.
“Can anyone say train wreck?” shot back tobyw87.
“Who are these guys?” asked hersheyxOxO as one of the more obscure acts took the stage.
“Why does it take so long for it to load?” complained offwithurhead, ending the question with the 🙁 unhappy face.
DONCMG360 had a problem with the live format writing “holy crap i wish i could skip this part.”
Other performers included virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani, who jammed with Funtwo, a guitarist whose YouTube video went viral in 2006 and made him into an online sensation, and hip-hop artist Soulja Boy Tell’Em.
Australia’s Sick Puppies played onstage while Juan Mann, the man behind freehugscampaign.org who they immortalized in a video of their song “All the Same,” did what he does, handing out free hugs to members of the audience.
Other acts included the grinding up of a broom handle in a blender by the white lab-coat wearing star of the willitblend.com videos and the firing of more than 1,000 paintballs from a cannon at a man dressed in a suit of armor.
“DO NOT ATTEMPT AT HOME” flashed up on the screen as the broom handle was noisily and spectacularly reduced to kindling in the blender.
Other moments included YouTube tributes to itself and the role it played in the presidential election, serving as a favorite platform for videos by the campaigns and co-hosting debates with the CNN television network.
The star of the show was Grammy-award winning musician will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas, whose song “Yes We Can” in tribute to Democratic candidate Barack Obama has been viewed nearly 14 million times on YouTube.
Will.i.am performed “It’s A New Day,” the song he released following Obama’s victory in the November 4 presidential election over Republican John McCain.
Also making an appearance on stage was San Francisco Gavin Newsom while Queen Rania of Jordan appeared in a videotaped message to receive the first YouTube Visionary Award.
Queen Rania, the wife of King Abdullah II, launched her own YouTube channel in April “dedicated to breaking down stereotypes about the Arab and Muslim worlds and to bridging the East-West divide.”
YouTube’s first foray into live broadcasting comes as the Google-owned website tries to cash in on its popularity by letting advertisers “sponsor” videos and bid on key words people use for searches on the site.
Google purchased YouTube for 1.65 billion dollars in 2006 but has been moving slowly to “monetize” the site out of concern it might irk notoriously transient Web surfers who could easily switch to rival video-sharing sites.