Live Aid

I’m sure this is all part of a conspiracy to make me feel old. It’s hard to believe that it’s really twenty years since the original Band Aid single, Do They Know It’s Christmas came out and nearly as long since the Live Aid concert staged in London and Philadephia. What we have here is a four-disk DVD set that nearly didn’t happen, which would have been a shame. Not only is it a record of a huge event, but it’s raising more money for the Band Aid Trust’s work in Africa. The reason for its almost non-appearance is that when all the artists were signed up, everything had to be done very quickly, and so no video rights were negotiated. (Or some such legal silliness). Anyway, Bob Geldof insisted that the concert should not be recorded. Fortuantely, the BBC (handling the UK end of the concert) ignored this instruction. Unfortuately, it seems the US TV network handling the other part of the show did exactly what they were told :shock: . However, MTV had kept a load of tapes, so it was possible to create this set.

So, what do we have here? Basically, a snapshot of popular music in the mid 1980s, with performances from a range of acts including The Style Council (Paul Weller in one of his earlier guises), U2 when they were still very much a cult band[1], Sting and many more acts who are still with us today.

There are also some acts that have dropped from sight – Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, Simple Minds and so on, and indeed, so forth.

So far I’ve only watched the first of four DVDs, which apart from Bryan Adams, was all from the UK end. The sound has been remixed into 5.1 surround, using the high quality radio recordings, and it’s delightfully loud. In fact, the DVD notes taught me a new word: microphany. This is what they call the effect of occasional horizontal lines appearing on the screen caused by the lens being affected by seriously high sound levels.

There’s also the hisitorcial interest of seeing the old Wembley Stadium, currently a very large building site as a new, bigger stadium is being created…

If you’ve any interest at all in popular music of the 80s, or if you remember seeing Live Aid on TV at the time, you really should check this out.

[1] Their Live Aid appearance made a huge difference to their public profile[2]. It was one of those occasions where Edge, Larry and Adam just had to keep playing while Bono did one of his mildly crazy routines (jumping off the stage to dance with a girl picked out of the crowd, and generally overacting :smile:
[2] Not to mention record sales. A lot of bands sold a lot more records after being on Live Aid…

6 thoughts on “Live Aid

  1. David SAUNDERS

    I have had three copies of this DVD set – and haven’t been able to getb disc 3 to play past 17 minutes on any of them. Is anyone else having the same problem?

  2. Les

    Hmmm. I don’t recall having a problem when I played it[1], but if I (a) get the time and (b) remember[2], I’ll check it again.

    I have had problems in the past with some DVDs refusing to play on some players and being fine on others.

    [1] But then, my memory is occasionally[3] flaky
    [2] Did I mention my bad memory? I can’t remember
    [3] Possibly an understatement

  3. sylvia laoutas

    can anyone tell me in the live aid concert there was a song and the only words I know is ‘whose gonna drive you home tonight’

    Anybody know who sang it

  4. Les Post author

    Yup, no problem. That was “Drive” by The Cars. You can find it on one of their “Greatest Hits” or “Best of” CDs, or from most download services.

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