On this date in 1985, the world witnessed the awesomeness of Live Aid, a star-studded concert held simultaneously in London and in Philadelphia. I remember it well, trying to watch bits and pieces of it from my grandparents’ house in Tazewell, my 13-year-old self so in love with the message of the whole experience, the hugeness and caring that it all incarnated through some of the top musical acts in the world.
I remember that Phil Collins was the only person to play both venues, taking the Concorde from London to Philly, in order to do so. I remember the co-organizer, Bob Geldof, before he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, looking so tired, so hopeful, so stretched and stressed, but also pleased. I remember being awed by the magnitude of all of it.
Duran Duran played, of course. 1985 was a tumultuous year for the Fab Five, though. The group had two side projects going that divided the band into two parts, Roger Taylor assisting to some degree with each, but John and Andy playing with the harder-rocking Power Station, fronted by Robert Palmer, and Simon and Nick (and Roger), ensuing with Arcadia, Duran Duran-lite, or so it seemed to me. The future for the actual five-member band looked bleak, and as a Duranie, I watched their performance, shaky as it was, and realized that the rumors were probably true. The band, as we knew it, likely was dissipating right before our very eyes on global television. It was heartbreaking, to say the least, to see them seemingly going through the motions and our hearts knowing instinctively what was just ahead…
Super Duos teamed up: Elton John and George Michael, Jagger and Turner… Queen RULED! Bowie crushed! U2 became more than they’d ever been…
It was the event of a lifetime, the movement of a generation of music.
More than 35 years. And I still celebrate each year by playing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” I think I’ll go do that a few times right now. May the spirit of giving and loving that was Band Aid and Live Aid still be with us all today!