I'm not one given to nostalgia, and maybe it's just my brain slowly slipping into vacation mode, but I saw a mention of this over on Twitter: 25 years ago today the first Live Aid concert was held.
I actually remember watching this from the roller skating rink where I was a DJ (insert guffawing and "waaaa?" here). Here's a look back, bad hair styles (above) and all, from MTV:
Twenty-five years ago today (July 13), Bob Geldof and Midge Ure moved mountains, arranged satellites and assuaged rock-star egos to pull off one of the most monumental concerts in history. Live Aid, the transatlantic charity bash, brought together the biggest names in music — all of whom played for free — on two massive stages in London and Philadelphia, beamed their performances out to the entire world (including here in the U.S. on a fledgling cable network called MTV) and managed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for famine relief in Ethiopia.Ah, the ubiquitous 1980's Phil Collins, destroying music on two continents while trying to help people on a third. Impressive indeed.
1.5 billion: The estimated number of viewers who tuned in to watch the concerts, in 100 different countries.
150 million pounds: The amount that Live Aid raised for famine relief in Ethiopia. It works out to some $245 million U.S.
162,000: The number of people who attended the two main Live Aid concerts — 72,000 in London's Wembley Stadium and 90,000 in Philadelphia's JFK Stadium.
70: As best as we can count, this was the total number of acts/artists that performed on the stages in London and Philadelphia. It's a list that includes Madonna, U2, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Elton John, Queen, Black Sabbath, Run-DMC, Santana, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Neil Young, the remaining three members of Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, Bob Dylan and Tina Turner.
16 hours: The continuous length of the entire Live Aid concert. The show in London started at noon and ended at 11 p.m. In Philadelphia, things got under way at 8:51 a.m. and ended at 11:05 p.m. (4:05 a.m. in London), meaning that the entire thing ran for 16 hours. Though, as you can see, between London and Philly, there were actually more than 27 hours of total performances.
1: The total number of artists who appeared at both the London and Philadelphia concerts. It was Phil Collins, who, after performing at Wembley, took a helicopter to Heathrow Airport, hopped on the Concorde and made it to JFK Stadium to do a second set — and play drums for Eric Clapton and the reunion of the former members of Led Zeppelin. He also reportedly convinced Cher — whom he met on the Concorde — to take the stage in Philly.
I dug around on Youtube and found what was probably the highlight of the 16 hour event (and has now, apparently, been voted one of the greatest rock n roll live performances ever). It turned out to be one of Queen's last gigs with the late, great Freddie Mercury, who would succumb to AIDS five years later. I was never much of a Queen fan, then or now, but I can still remember watching this 25 years ago.
Of course, the event itself wasn't without its problems and controversies (most memorably, in a true WTF moment, Bob Dylan saying he'd like for some of the money raised to go to American farmers); and the memory of the concert itself would be somewhat sullied 20 years later by the Live 8 concert in 2005.
But back then, 25 years ago, all that mattered was the music, and there was some great music performed that day.