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Live Aid

By Jesse Kornbluth
Published: Jan 01, 2004
Category: Documentary

July 13, 1985. A lovely day in England. Why not have a concert? But not just any: a concert with a purpose, a concert organized by Bob Geldorf to help the suffering and the starving in Ethiopia. Geldorf knows everyone. He gets Queen. U2. Led Zep. The Who. Dire Straits. Elvis Costello. Bryan Ferry. Elton John. Bowie. Phil Collins. 

July 13, 1985. A torrid day in Philadelpha. Why not have a concert? For the same cause. With the Cars. The Hooters. Mick Jagger and Tina Turner. Joan Baez. Black Sabbath. Crosby Stills and Nash. Tom Petty. Neil Young. Clapton. Dylan. Run DMC. And Phil Collins, who flew the Concorde from London so he could perform twice at the same event.

Logistics were madness. No matter. As soon as the concert started in England, it was clear: This wasn’t bands putting on a show, this was a communal event, everyone playing a part — and a feeling of euphoria wafting through the stadium. And star power? How about Jack Nicholson, in Philadelphia, introducing U2 in England — and the band playing ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Bad’ before Bono dragged a young woman onstage and danced with her. And Queen — Freddy Mercury stopped time.

Then it was onto to Philadelphia. Tina Turner: "The only thing I remember of the day is stabbing Mick in the foot with my high heels in the middle of ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll.’" Phil Collins found himself playing with Led Zep. And in the crowd, hoses sprayed the sweltering crowd: a giant wet t-shirt event.

Geldorf hadn’t arranged for video rights — that wasn’t the point back then — so some of the groups you want to see aren’t on this four-disc DVD. And the sound’s not perfect. But the cause is. (And so is the $100 million that the concert raised for Ethiopia.) 

There will never be another event like Live Aid — music is too corporate now, the egos are too distorted. Think of this as Woodstock, only better. And if you know a rock fan who doesn’t have this, well, for $27.99, you just found the dream gift.

To buy "Live Aid" from, click here.

Copyright 2004 by Head Butler Inc.