Here's what I remember - Phil Collins playing both shows, Thomas Dolby backing up David Bowie (and getting zero camera time), Howard Jones playing piano, the Pepsi cup on top of Phil Collins' piano, Paul McCartney's microphone going out, Paul Shaffer being blamed for the satellite cutting out during the Who, great performances by U2 and simple minds, Madonna saying that she wasn't going to remove any clothing in the wake of those photos appearing in Playboy and Penthouse, sound coming from Nick Rhodes keyboard before his fingers actually hit the keys during "A View to a Kill," Tom Petty looked like crap, Prince's video "For the Tears in Your Eyes," Kiki Dee looking happy to be performing at all, Mick and Tina, the awesome Led Zep reunion, rumors of a Springsteen appearance, Lionel Richie's great voice, Queen "Radio Ga Ga," Bono leaving the stage to dance with a girl, Michael DesBarres looking like a total dork playing for the cameras while fronting the Power Station, wondering if Michael Jackson was going to show up, Hall and Oates light show, "who the fuck are the Hooters?," and last but not least - taping the entire concert on Beta. Now, if only I could find a Beta machine...
I remember the day of Live Aid...
Our high-school marching band was preparing to go to the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena. We were supposed to be out collecting aluminum cans door-to-door, so that we could cash them in for $0.05/can. We eventually did go out to do this, but for about an hour. See, we were too busy watching Live Aid. If I remember correctly, we did the can thing up until Phil Collins performed in the UK, i.e., pretty early in the morning.
It's ok to put this on the web if you want to.
I remember a lot of little things about Live Aid and one big thing. I remember the caption for INXS being broadcast as "In Excess". I remember how tired Phil Collins looked when he arrived in the US to play there after a frantic transatlantic flight from his performance in the UK. I remember images and bits and sound bytes from some of my favorite bands, the Boomtown Rats, Adam Ant, Duran Duran, Sting, INXS, Alison Moyet, Judas Priest, B.B. King, David Bowie, and oh so many others.
But most of all, I remember being seventeen, being glued to the tv and the radio, and thinking "This is the ENTIRE WORLD getting together at the same time for the same reason, and it isn't a war." I'd like to see something bring the world together like that again.
Let me begin with a couple of the memories of the concert that I have:
When Phil Collins did his set at JFK Stadium, he did "Against All Odds" and "In The Air Tonight" alone at a piano with no backup band or special vocal effects. At the point in "In The Air Tonight" where the vocals echo ("I remember...I remember don't worry (worry worry worry)"), Phil Collins just said the word once and stopped for the few beats it would take for the echo to be completed. However, the crowd added the echo for him. It was a really special moment...nobody planned on doing it, we all just got the same idea. Once each of us realized we were not alone, the next echo was louder, and we even played "air drums" and filled in the sound of the drums later in the song ("ba-da ba-da ba-da ba-da...").
During the show they made a stage announcement that someone who was waiting for an organ transplant was needed at the main stage - they had found him an organ and they were waiting in the parking lot to rush him to the hospital. Later on, they announced the guy was found and on his way.
The audiance was bored at one point (there were lulls at the stadium, and this may have been during the point where The Who set was interrupted). Someone on the other side of the stadium started the wave. But then we started to get creative with the wave...we timed the wave to start at each end of the stadium (JFK was "U" shaped) and "crash" in the middle. Then we had the "crash" in the middle cause a wave on the ground that went from the back of the stadium to the front.
When Led Zepplin was on stage, I remember Robert Plant demanding total silence before he would sing "Stairway To Heaven". At first, we thought he was kidding, but when he walked back, picked up a towel, dropped it on the stage and then place the microphone stand on it and stood there, we figured he was serious and shut up. But it was worth it - we got to see Led Zepplin play live!