Tuesday, 13 July 2010

It was 25 years ago today - Live Aid

Live Aid at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, 1985Image via Wikipedia
what started out as the reaction by a fading rocker to a news report on famine in Africa culminated 25 years ago today with the greatest music event the world has ever seen - Live Aid.

Showcasing almost every major band in the western hemisphere, the concert was so large it had to take place in two venues in two timezones - RFK stadium in Philadelphia, PA and Wembley Stadium in London.

While the main thrust of Live Aid was to help the famine stricken in Ethiopia, a side benefit of the day was the turning of ordinary bands into superstars... which was bound to happen with a global audience in the HUNDREDS of millions.

Who can forget Freddie Mercury's amazing call and response during Queen's set or the career making U2 set where they actually ran out of time and couldn't play their current single "Pride" (but who can forget that rendition of "Bad"?). Then there was Phil Collins playing at both venues, thanks to Concorde, or the performance by Duran Duran creating a historic howler on the #1 single of the day "A View to a Kill".

It's hard to be cynical about an event that did so much for so many. Most egos were left at the door and it made for one of the most entertaining days of music ever. In some ways, Live8 tried to replicate the magic for the 20th anniversary.

Live Aid was not only a concert with a roster of chart toppers, it was an event of its era and of its day, the greed is good generation giving something back with no strings attached.  That's something you can't replicate - not in 2005 and not in 2015. Just ask those who didn't buy Band Aid II or Band Aid 20.
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