Live Aid… 30 Years Ago Today. What a Show, What an Idea! [VIDEO]
There's been some pretty big shows over the years since July 13th, 1985 but there was nothing bigger than this show cause this show played to and with the entire world.
Live-Aid was an event created by British musicians Bob Geldoff (Boomtown Rats) and Midge Ure (Ultravox). The idea was to follow up the benefit single, "Do They Know It's Christmas" to benefit the starving people of Ethiopia. The song was the fastest selling #1 single ever in Britain.
It was Boy George though and his band Culture Club that kickstarted the motion though as they invited various people on stage at the end of one of their shows to perform a rendition of, "Do They Know It's Christmas". George told Geldoff he should do something similar on a bigger scale to help the cause beyond the efforts of the single. Geldoff agreed, saw George's vision and ran with it.
His overall vision was a bit bigger though. According to Geldoff talking with Melody Maker/IPC Media (January 1985).. "The show should be as big as is humanly possible. There's no point just 5,000 fans turning up at Wembley; we need to have Wembley linked with Madison Square Gardens and the whole show to be televised worldwide. It would be great for Duran to play three or four numbers at Wembley and then flick to Madison Square where Springsteen would be playing. While he's on, the Wembley stage could be made ready for the next British act like the Thompsons (Twins) or whoever."
The show ended up taking place in London's Wembley Arena and rotating back and forth at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium in the US organized by the late great promoter Bill Graham. Working back and forth from London to Philly was... groundbreaking and an absolutely insane idea. It was the most ambitious international satellite television event that had ever been attempted until that point. Actors, actresses, world leaders, comedians, musicians... thess two concerts was the focal point of the world that day. One and a half billion people watched Live Aid and about 250 million was raised at the end of it all. Since then, things similar have been done and easier, but this set the bar. THIS was open heart of the music world and all those who follow it.
I included Queen's full performance here because it was not only the best performance of Live Aid, but maybe Queen's finest hour! Mercury owned every single person in that crowd. Had them all in his hands as he usually did. One of the greatest frontmen ever in music. If you have the time, watch this brief set it's electric. Watch the handclaps for "Radio GaGa" and Freddie's vocal scale test with the crowd before the rocking, "Hammer to Fall". The people would do anything Freddie asked. It's exhilarating! So... are you ready Freddie?!