19 March 2012

1985: Live Aid

After Band Aid in 1984, 1985 gave us Live Aid - the Global Juke Box - the 12 hour pop marathon, watched by an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide...

The events took place at Wembley Stadium, England, and the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, USA, on 13 July 1985. It was a massive event, unparalleled in rock history.

You'd got your ticket...

You'd got your T-shirt...

And suddenly you were there...

...with Charles and Diana, Bob Geldof, U2, Spandau Ballet, Nik Kershaw, Sade...

... Freddie Mercury and Queen... and oodles of other notables.

Yes, it had been a pain queuing for the loo; yes, it had been grotty when the girl in front of you had stepped back on to your big toe... but you still went home in a blissful daze...

It had been a day of colour, light, sound, energy... a day that made rock and pop history... a day that saved lives...

And if you were at home, watching the spectacle on the telly, it was still a fantastic experience...

Even via the small screen, Live Aid was pure magic.

Bob Geldof (referred to as "Sir Bob of Geldof" in certain quarters) had been driven, a man possessed by his dream right up to and, indeed, throughout the concert (remember his cussin' and blindin'?).

The 1980s - the decade of greed?

With the launch of the Children In Need telethon on the BBC in 1980, the Band Aid single in 1984, Live Aid in 1985 and Comic Relief - which was launched in late 1985 - that cannot be correct.

Greed unlimited is far from being the true picture.

The 1980s was the decade of contrasts.

Madonna on-stage in Philadelphia, experiencing rucked-up shoulder pad syndrome.

How the Sunday People reported events - 14/7/1985:

A thunderous roar erupted when the Greatest Rock Show on Earth got under way yesterday with the arrival of Prince Charles and Princess Di.

And the Royals raved it up with the rest.

Princess Di was clearly thrilled to meet her pop idols as the couple were introduced backstage to 60 of the stars.

And as Prince Charles watched the jean-clad rock fans enjoying the party, he said:

"I'll have to buy myself a pair of denims."

Part of the show at the preliminaries was stolen by two-year-old Fifi Trixie-Belle Geldof, daughter of Boomtown Rats star Bob, who masterminded the event.

She was supposed to present Di with a bouquet, but fled, overcome by shyness.

The royal couple clapped and tapped their feet along to the music.

Nearly two billion people were estimated to have tuned into the extravaganza.

The £10 million target for the twin Live Aid concerts at Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia could eventually be trebled when the cash is totted up from donations, TV rights and souvenir sales.

Geldof summed it up: "To me it is not a pop concert. To me it is not a TV show. To me it is simply a means of keeping people alive."

Quotes from the day:

Gary Kemp, of Spandau Ballet, who arrived by helicopter: "It was the most incredible sight from the air. Quite wonderful. This is going to be the greatest audience in history. It won't happen again, ever, at least not with this generation of performers."

U2 vocalist Bono: "The money spent on defence could turn the deserts of Africa into fertile land. The technology is with us... but the technocrats are not."


Rick said...

Such a fantastic day. A golden moment in rock and pop history.

Unknown said...

A magical memory I'll carry to my grave. What a day I shared with my precious sister. Radio Gaga, Let it Be, I Don't Like Mondays..... surreal.