Sunday, 18 June 2017
713 Live Aid
First viewed : 13 July 1985
This of course was the TV event of the year, the huge concert following on from the Band Aid record. I have already written about it on other blogs so you'll have to forgive any repetition here.
The TV coverage was on BBC Two, compered by the Whistle Test team with various Radio One DJs and other celebrities dropping by to help. Some of these no doubt baffled American viewers and Ian Astbury from The Cult, who'd only just cracked the Top 40 , baffled everybody including host David Hepworth who only worked out who he was right at the end of the link. The Wembley Stadium concert finished around 9pm with the one at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia continuing into the small hours. It should be remembered that other countries were participating too as sporadic satellite inserts showed.
I didn't watch it right through. I had to compromise with my Dad as there was cricket on BBC One. I watched the first few acts - Status Quo, Style Council, Boomtown Rats ,Adam Ant ( a one song set comprising his failed comeback hit ) and Ultravox. The latter were one of the few acts I genuinely wanted to see because apparently Bob Geldof and Harvey Goldsmith ( presumably with Midge Ure's acquiescence ) had decided they didn't want any synth acts apart from Ultravox so no OMD, Human League or Depeche Mode. I can understand the thinking, that they were putting on a rock concert but other people on the bill - Style Council, Sade, solo Bryan Ferry , Nik Kershaw - weren't playing stadium-friendly music either.
I came back to it briefly around 4.30 during Paul Young's set then it was tea time and when I returned it was Queen, universally regarded as the best set of the day. I then saw the Dancing In The Streets video, Simple Minds, David Bowie, Pamela Stephenson blubbing at the Ethiopian footage set to The Cars' Drive, The Who , Elton John, Madonna with The Thompson Twins ( one imagines her viewing that now and asking "Who were those guys again ? ), Paul McCartney and his malfunctioning microphone and then the all star rendition of Do They Know Its Christmas featuring a peeved Stuart Adamson whose band had been left off the bill because Geldof thought they'd split up.
That closed the Wembley concert . I stayed with Philadelphia through Tom Petty, The Cars , Neil Young and The Power Station featuring Michael Des Barres deputising for the indisposed Robert Palmer. Then Jeff Bridges took the mike to do the link to the next act. With no clear idea of what he was going to say, the actor made a complete tit of himself, improvising a history lesson about "us flower children" before finishing with the words "Phew rock and roll". The memory intruded when watching his films for years afterwards.
The next act were unfortunately Crosby Stills and Nash who carried on in that vein giving little homilies about Woodstock before a set of their most anodyne songs. I decided it was time for bed so yes guys you literally did send me to sleep.