Live Aid was a dual-venue concert held on 13 July 1985
Live Aid was a dual-venue concert held on 13 July 1985. The event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine.
Billed as the "global jukebox", the event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (attended by about 100,000 people). On the same day, concerts inspired by the initiative happened in other countries, such as Australia and Germany. It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time: an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast.
The 1985 Live Aid concert was conceived as a follow-on to the successful charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which was also the brainchild of Geldof and Ure. In October 1984, images of millions of people starving to death in Ethiopia were shown in the UK in Michael Buerk's BBC News reports on the 1984 famine. Bob Geldof saw the report, and called Midge Ure from Ultravox, and together they quickly co-wrote the song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in the hope of raising money for famine relief. Geldof then contacted colleagues in the music industry and persuaded them to record the single under the title 'Band Aid' for free. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, and was released four days later. It stayed at number-one for five weeks in the UK, wasChristmas number one, and became the fastest-selling single ever in Britain and raised £8 million, rather than the £70,000 Geldof had expected. Geldof then set his sights on staging a huge concert to raise further funds.
The concert grew in scope, as more acts were added on both sides of the Atlantic. Hal Uplinger was the producer of the US part of the event. But Hal was not alone in his undertaking. During the 1970’s, Hal had met Neil Mallard, when they worked together to assist in the expansion of The General Association of Sports Federations (GAISF), which was seeking to bring together the common ambitions of the Sports Federations, who were members - and non members - of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Following the highly successful expansion of GAISF, Hal Uplinger made contact with the Live Aid organisers and discovered that there appeared to be no plans for any TV News projection from the event. Hal immediately contacted Neil Mallard - who had been appointed the first-ever International Television News Agency Sports Editor at Visnews/Thomson-Reuters TV Corporation, in 1974 - and who therefore understood not just world-wide TV news but also the global satellite and PTT – a pre-fibre-optic system, which combined multiple copper telephone lines together to carry a TV signal - system backwards. Together, Neil and Hal joined forces with the Live Aid organising committee - which included Harvey Goldsmith and Bob Geldof. Neil Mallard also convinced Visnews - the world's largest TV News Agency - to contribute invaluable support from their satellite guru, Simon Patch.
After numerous meetings to address and sort out a raft of different and highly challenging technical requirements, so as to achieve Geldof’s vision of a global Live Aid viewing audience, Neil and Tim Mallard took charge of global co-ordination as a part of the BBC Live Aid outside-broadcast operation, based at Wembley Stadium, and held the operation together from the start of the event, and through to it’s conclusion.
As a charity fundraiser, the concert far exceeded its goals: on a television programme in 2001, an organiser stated that while initially it had been hoped that Live Aid would raise £1 million with the help of Wembley tickets costing £25.00 each, the final figure was £150 million (approx. $283.6 million). Partly in recognition of the Live Aid effort, Geldof received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. Music promoter Harvey Goldsmith also helped in bringing the plans of Geldof and Ure to fruition. For his contribution to Live Aid in the US, Uplinger won a 1989 Computerworld Smithsonian Award in the Media, Arts & Entertainment Category
The concert began at 12:00 BST (7:00 EDT) at Wembley Stadium in the United Kingdom. It continued at JFK Stadium in the United States, starting at 13:51 BST (8:51 EDT). The UK's Wembley performances ended at 22:00 BST (17:00 EDT). The JFK performances and whole concert in the US ended at 04:05 BST July 14 (23:05 EDT). Thus, the concert continued for just over 16 hours, but since many artists' performances were conducted simultaneously in Wembley and JFK, the total concert's length was much longer. It was the original intention for Mick Jagger and David Bowie to perform an intercontinental duet, with Bowie in London and Jagger in Philadelphia. Problems of synchronization meant that the only remotely practical solution was to have one artist, likely Bowie at Wembley, mime along to prerecorded vocals broadcast as part of the live sound mix for Jagger's performance from Philadelphia. Veteran music engineer David Richards (Pink Floyd and Queen) was brought in to create footage and sound mixes that Jagger and Bowie could perform to in their respective venues. The BBC would then have had to ensure that those footage and sound mixes were in synch while also performing a live vision mix of the footage from both venues. The combined footage would then have had to be bounced back by satellite to the various broadcasters around the world. Due to the time lag (the signal would take several seconds to be broadcast twice across the Atlantic Ocean) Richards concluded there would be no practical way for Jagger to be able to hear or see Bowie's performance, meaning there could be no interaction between the artists, which would defeat the whole point of the exercise. On top of this both artists objected to the idea of miming at what was perceived as a historic event. Instead, Jagger and Bowie worked with Richards to create a video clip for the song they would have performed, a cover of "Dancing in the Street". The video was shown on the screens of both stadiums and also broadcast as part of many TV networks coverage.
Each of the two main portions of the concert ended with their particular continental all-star anti-hunger anthems, with Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" closing the UK concert, and USA for Africa's "We Are the World" closing the US concert (and thus the entire event itself).
Concert organizers have subsequently said that they were particularly keen to ensure that at least one surviving member ofThe Beatles, ideally Paul McCartney, took part in the concert as they felt that having an 'elder statesman' from British music would give it greater legitimacy in the eyes of the political leaders whose opinions the performers were trying to shape. McCartney agreed to perform and has said that it was "the management" – his children – who persuaded him to take part. In the event, he was the last performer (aside from the Band Aid finale) to take to the stage and one of the few to be beset by technical difficulties; his microphone was turned off for the first two minutes of his piano performance of "Let It Be", making it difficult for television viewers and impossible for those in the stadium to hear him. He later jokingly said he had thought about changing the lyrics to "There will be some feedback, let it be".
Phil Collins performed at both Wembley Stadium and JFK, utilising the Concorde to get him from London to Philadelphia. UK TV personality Noel Edmonds piloted the helicopter that took Collins to Heathrow Airport to catch his flight. Aside from his own set at both venues, he also played the drums for Eric Clapton, and played with the reuniting surviving members of Led Zeppelin at JFK. On the Concorde flight, Collins encountered actress and singer Cher, who claimed not to know anything about the Live Aid concerts. Upon reaching the US however she did attend the Philadelphia concert and can be seen performing as part of that concert's "We Are the World" finale.
An official book was produced by Bob Geldof in collaboration with photographer Denis O'Regan.
"It's twelve noon in London, seven AM in Philadelphia, and around the world it's time for: Live Aid ...." Richard Skinner opening the show.
The concert was the most ambitious international satellite television venture that had ever been attempted at the time. In Europe, the feed was supplied by the BBC, whose broadcast was opened by Richard Skinner, co-hosted by Andy Kershaw, Mark Ellen, and David Hepworth, and included numerous interviews and chats in between the various acts. TheBBC's television sound feed was mono, as was all UK TV audio before NICAM was introduced, but the BBC Radio 1 feed was stereo and was simulcast in sync with the TV pictures. Unfortunately, in the rush to set up the transatlantic feeds, the sound feed from Philadelphia was sent to London via transatlantic cable, while the video feed was bounced the much longer distance via satellite, which meant a gross lack of synchronisation on British television receivers. (Though there is no actual evidence of this when watching the original broadcasts, part of The Who's performance appeared on UK screens with the sound directly from Wembley, but with the video feed taken from the American feed after the video footage had been passed via satellite, converted from PAL to NTSC and vice versa, back to the UK, leading to the video feed of this performance being delayed behind the audio feed by around 3 seconds on the UK TV feed. The UK video feed was switched to a direct video feed from Wembley after around a minute of the concert returning after another technical fault during The Who's performance). Due to the constant activities in both London and Philadelphia, the BBC producers omitted the reunion of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from their broadcast. The BBC, however, did supply a 'clean feed' to various television channels in Europe.
ABC was largely responsible for the US broadcast (although ABC themselves only telecast the final three hours of the concert from Philadelphia, hosted by Dick Clark, with the rest shown in syndication through Orbis Communications, acting on behalf of ABC). An entirely separate and simultaneous US feed was provided for cable viewers by MTV, whose broadcast was presented in stereo, and accessible as such for those with special receivers of the time, as there were very few stereo sets in the summer of 1985, and few television stations were able to broadcast in stereo. While the BBC telecast was run commercial-free (as it is a public broadcaster), both the MTV and syndicated/ABC broadcasts included advertisements and interviews. As a result, many songs were omitted due to the commercial breaks, as these songs were played during these slots.
The biggest caveat of the syndicated/ABC coverage is that the network had wanted to reserve some of the biggest acts that had played earlier in the day for certain points in the entire broadcast, particularly in the final three hours in prime time; thus, Orbis Communications had some sequences replaced by others, especially those portions of the concert that had acts from London and Philadelphia playing simultaneously. For example, while the London/Wembley finale was taking place at 22:00 (10:00 pm) London time, syndicated viewers saw segments that had been recorded earlier, so that ABC could show the UK finale during its prime-time portion.
The ABC Radio Network broadcast the American domestic feed of the concert, and later broadcast many of the acts that were missing from the original live radio broadcast.
At one point midway through the concert, Billy Connolly announced he had just been informed that 95% of the television sets in the world were tuned to the event, though this can of course not be verified. In 1995, VH1 and Much Music aired a re-edited ten-hour re-broadcast of the concert for its 10th Anniversary.
The Live Aid concert in London was also the first time that the BBC outside broadcast sound equipment had been used for an event of such a scale. In stark contrast to the mirrored sound systems commonly used by the rock band touring engineers, with two 40–48 channel mixing consoles at the Front of house, and another pair for monitors, the BBC sound engineers had to use multiple 12 channel desks. Some credit this as the point where the mainstream entertainment industry realised that the rock concert industry had overtaken them in technical expertise.
Memorable moments at Wembley Stadium
The Coldstream Guards band opened with the "Royal Salute", "God Save the Queen". Status Quo started their set with "Rockin' All Over the World", also playing "Caroline" and fan favourite "Don't Waste My Time". This was to be the last appearance by the band to feature bassist and founder member Alan Lancaster, and drummer Pete Kircher who had joined the band three years earlier.
Queen galvanised the stadium with some of their greatest hits, in which lead singer Freddie Mercury at times led the entire crowd of 72,000 in thundering unison refrains. In their 20 minute set the band opened with "Bohemian Rhapsody" and closed with "We Are the Champions". They extensively rehearsed their performance at London's Shaw Theatre.Prior to their taking the stage, Queen's sound engineer covertly switched out the limiters that had been installed on the venue's sound system so the performance would be louder than the others. Queen's performance on that day has since been voted by more than 60 artists, journalists and music industry executives as the greatest live performance in the history of rock music. Mercury and fellow band member Brian May later sang the first song of the three-part Wembley event finale, "Is This The World We Created...?".
Bob Geldof himself performed with the rest of the Boomtown Rats, singing "I Don't Like Mondays". He stopped just after the line: "The lesson today is how to die" to loud applause with the lyrics taking on a whole other meaning. He finished the song and left the crowd to say the final words.
Elvis Costello appeared singing a simple but touching version of The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", which he introduced by asking the audience to "help [him] sing this old northern English folk song".
U2's performance established them as a pre-eminent live group for the first time – something for which they would eventually become superstars. The band played a 14-minute rendition of "Bad", during which lead vocalist Bono jumped off the stage to join the crowd and dance with a girl. The length of their performance of "Bad" limited them to playing just two songs; the third, "Pride (In the Name of Love)", had to be ditched. In July 2005, the girl with whom he danced revealed that he actually saved her life at the time. She was being crushed by the throngs of people pushing forwards; Bono saw this, and gestured frantically at the ushers to help her. They did not understand what he was saying, and so he jumped down to help her himself.
Another moment that garnered a huge crowd response was when David Bowie performed "Heroes" and dedicated it to his son, as well as "All our children, and the children of the world".
The UK reception of the US feed failed several times and was dogged throughout the US concert by an intermittent regular buzzing on the audio from the US (see the JFK Stadium section for more detail) and also failed during their relay of Japan's concert, which blacked out most of Off Course's song "Endless Nights".
In addition, the transatlantic broadcast from Wembley Stadium suffered technical problems and failed during The Who's performance of their song "My Generation", immediately after Roger Daltrey sang "Why don't you all fade..." (the last word was cut off when a blown fuse caused the Wembley stage TV feed to temporarily fail). The Who were playing withKenney Jones on drums, who was still an official member of The Who at this time, although this was their first performance since they'd officially disbanded after their 1982 'farewell' tour. The Who's performance included an at times chaotic but still blistering version of "Won't Get Fooled Again", which was extremely popular with the audience in Wembley Stadium. The band's performance was described as "rough but right" by Rolling Stone magazine, but they would not perform together again until the 1988 BPI Awards.
While performing "Let it Be" near the end of the show, the microphone mounted to Paul McCartney's piano failed for the first two minutes of the song, making it difficult for television viewers and the stadium audience to hear him. During this performance, the TV audience were better off, audio-wise, than the stadium audience, as the TV sound was picked up from other microphones near Paul McCartney as a disappointing, but preferable choice to no sound at all from Paul. The stadium audience, who could obviously not hear the electronic sound feed from these mikes, unless they had portable TV sets and radios, completely drowned out what little sound from Paul could be heard during this part of his performance. As a result, organiser and performer Bob Geldof, accompanied by earlier performers David Bowie, Alison Moyet, and Pete Townshend, returned to the stage to sing with him and back him up (as did the stadium audience despite not being able to hear much), by which time, Paul's microphone had been repaired.
At the conclusion of the Wembley performances, Bob Geldof was raised heroically onto the shoulders of The Who's guitarist Pete Townshend and Paul McCartney – symbolising his great achievement in unifying the world for one day, in the spirit of music and charity.
Memorable moments at JFK Stadium
At the very beginning of the televised portion of the Philadelphia concert,Joan Baez announced to the assembled crowd (and the viewing audience) that "this is your Woodstock, and it's long overdue", before leading the crowd in "Amazing Grace" (paired with a couple of verses of "We Are the World").
When Madonna got on stage, despite the 95°F ambient temperature, she proclaimed "I'm not taking shit off today!" referring to the recent release of early nude photos of her in Playboy and Penthouse magazines.
During his opening number, "American Girl", Tom Petty flipped the middle finger to somebody off stage about one minute into song. Petty stated the song was a last minute addition when the band realised that they would be the first act to play the American side of the concert after the London finale and "since this is, after all, JFK Stadium".
When Bob Dylan broke a guitar string, Ronnie Wood took off his own guitar and gave it to Dylan. Wood was left standing on stage guitarless. After shrugging to the audience, he played air guitar, even mimicking The Who's Pete Townshend by swinging his arm in wide circles, until a stagehand brought him a replacement. Although this moment was left off the DVD, the performance itself was included, featuring footage focusing solely on Keith Richards.
During their duet on "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll", Mick Jagger accidentally ripped away part of Tina Turner's dress, leaving her to finish the song in what was, effectively, a leotard.
The JFK portion included reunions of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the original Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne, and surviving members of Led Zeppelin, with Phil Collins and Chic member Tony Thompson sharing duties on drums (although they were not officially announced by their group name from the stage, but were announced as Led Zeppelin on the VH1 10th Anniversary re-broadcast in 1995). Because of Robert Plant's hoarse voice, Jimmy Page's struggling with an out-of-tune guitar, lack of rehearsal with two drummers and poorly functioning monitors their performance was called by them as "sub-standard" and they blocked all the possible broadcasts since then.
Teddy Pendergrass made his first public appearance since his near-fatal car accident in 1982 which paralysed him. Pendergrass, along with Ashford & Simpson, performed "Reach Out and Touch".
Also, Duran Duran performed a four-song set. The five original band members would not perform together publicly again until 2003. Their set is also memorable for an incredibly weak, off-key falsetto note hit by frontman Simon Le Bon during "A View to a Kill". The error was trumpeted by some media outlets as "The Bum Note Heard Round The World", in contrast to Freddie Mercury's powerful, sustained note during the a cappella section of Queen's Wembley set, which was dubbed as "The Note Heard Round The World". Simon later recalled that it was the most embarrassing moment of his career.
The UK TV feed from Philadelphia was dogged by an intermittent regular buzzing on the sound during Bryan Adams' turn on stage and continued less frequently throughout the rest of the UK reception of the American concert and both the audio and video feed failed entirely during that performance and during Simple Minds's performance.
Phil Collins, who had performed in England earlier in the day, began his set with the quip, "I was in
Throughout the concerts, viewers were urged to donate money to the Live Aid cause. Three hundred phone lines were manned by the BBC, so that members of the public could make donations using their credit cards. The phone number and an address that viewers could send cheques to were repeated every twenty minutes.
Nearly seven hours into the concert in London, Bob Geldof enquired how much money had been raised; he was told £1.2 million. He is said to have been sorely disappointed by the amount and marched to the BBC commentary position. Pumped up further by a performance by Queen that he later called "absolutely amazing", Geldof gave an infamous interview in which he used the word 'fuck'. The BBC presenter David Hepworth, conducting the interview, had attempted to provide a list of addresses to which potential donations should be sent; Geldof interrupted him in mid-flow and shouted: "Fuck the address, let's get the numbers!" It has passed into folklore that he yelled at the audience, "Give us your fucking money!" although Geldof has stated that this phrase was never uttered. Private Eye magazine made great capital out of these outbursts, emphasising Geldof's accent which meant the profanities were heard as "fock" and "focking". After the outburst, giving increased to £300 per second.
Later in the evening, following David Bowie's set, a video shot by the CBC was shown to the audiences in London and Philadelphia, as well as on televisions around the world (though notably neither US feed, ABC or MTV chose to show the film), showing starving and diseased Ethiopian children set to the song "Drive" by The Cars. (This would also be shown at the London Live 8 concert in 2005.) The rate of giving became faster in the immediate aftermath of the moving video. Ironically, Geldof had previously refused to allow the video to be shown, due to time constraints, and had only relented when Bowie offered to drop the song "Five Years" from his set as a trade-off.
As Geldof mentioned during the concert, the Republic of Ireland gave the most donations per capita, despite being in the threat of a serious economic recession at the time. The single largest donation came from the ruling family of Dubai. They donated £1m in a phone conversation with Geldof.
The next day, news reports stated that between £40 and £50 million had been raised. Now, it is estimated that around £150m has been raised for famine relief as a direct result of the concerts.
Bruce Springsteen failed to appear at the Wembley Live Aid concert despite his huge popularity in 1985, later stating that he "simply did not realise how big the whole thing was going to be". He has since expressed regret at turning down Geldof's invitation stating that he could have played a couple of acoustic songs had there been no slot available for a full band performance.
Michael Jackson also refused to take a part in the whole event. Prince did not play, but did send a pre-taped video of an acoustic version of "4 the Tears in Your Eyes", which was played during the concert. The original version appears on theWe Are the World album, while the video version was released in 1993 on Prince's compilation The Hits/The B-Sides. He wrote the song "Hello" about the criticism he got for turning it down.
Billy Joel, Boy George, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Tears for Fears, and Stevie Wonder, along with Huey Lewis and the News and Paul Simon, were all included in the initial promotional material for the Philadelphia concert, but failed to appear at the show itself. Simon and Lewis both accepted requests to play the Philadelphia concert but later issued press statements stating they had chosen not to appear after all, citing disagreements with promoter Bill Graham. The final poster for the Philadelphia show features the acts Peter, Paul and Mary and Rod Stewart (who also featured in the Philadelphia concert programme). Peter, Paul and Mary were to have joined Bob Dylan for a rendition of "Blowing In The Wind" since they had a tremendously successful version in the 1960s - but Dylan called the organizers a few days before the show saying that he would play with Ron Wood and Keith Richards instead (ironically, Bill Wyman apparently told Geldof before not to approach the Stones because ‘Keith doesn’t give a f***’). Stewart was not touring at the time and was ultimately unable to put together a band in time for the concert as was Billy Joel who actually didn't like the idea of performing solo in front of such big stadium audience. Geldof claimed Stevie Wonder eventually agreed to appear, but then he phoned me up and said, ‘‘I am not going to be the token black on the show".
Cliff Richard was unable to perform as he was committed to a gospel charity concert in Birmingham.
Regarding Tears for Fears' absence, band member Roland Orzabal remarked that Bob Geldof "gave us so much gip for not turning up at Live Aid. All those millions of people dying, it was our fault. I felt terrible. I tell you, I know how Hitler must have felt." The group made up for their absence by donating the proceeds from several shows of their world tour that year, and also contributed a re-recording of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" (entitled "Everybody Wants to Run the World") for Geldof's Sport Aid charity event in 1986. The single reached the Top 5 in the UK, even though the band's original version had been a hit only a year earlier.
Cat Stevens wrote a song for the Live Aid concert, which he never got to perform – had he done so, he would have made his first public concert appearance since converting to Islam and changing his name to Yusuf Islam. However according to the official book that was released after the event, he arrived at Wembley Stadium on the day without prior warning, and Geldof was unable to fit him into the schedule.
Liza Minnelli, Yoko Ono, and Cyndi Lauper were tapped to present at JFK Stadium, but backed out. Lauper did appear in a commercial for the "Live Aid Book" that aired during the concert. According to Joan Baez, she had "a mysterious abdominal surgery that she never discusses."
A reunited Deep Purple were also due to appear from Switzerland via satellite, but pulled out after guitarist Ritchie Blackmore refused to take part in the event. Eurythmics were scheduled to play Wembley but cancelled after Annie Lennox suffered serious throat problems. Deep Purple (minus Blackmore, who left the band in 1993) appeared at Geldof's Live 8 sequel 20 years later, performing at the Toronto leg of the event while Annie Lennox appeared at the London and Edinburgh Live 8 concerts.
Frank Zappa was invited to perform, but refused because he believed that the money raised by Live Aid did not address the core problems facing the developing world and instead aided the developed world by providing ways to get drugs, calling the concert "the biggest cocaine money laundering scheme of all time."
A sighting of George Harrison arriving Wednesday night at Heathrow Airport led to widespread speculation that a reunion of the three living Beatles was in the works. He was approached by Geldof to join Paul McCartney at "Let it Be", answering‘Paul didn’t ask me to sing on it (Let It Be) ten years ago, why does he want me now? Frustrated by a bombardment of Beatles reunion questions, Geldof said: "It's just something you have to answer. I find it silly that with all these acts and the real purpose of the concert that the one thing people suddenly get caught up over is, 'Are the Beatles going to reform?' Who cares? Besides, they can't reform--or haven't people read the papers the last five years?"
The Kinks offered to play, but the organizers refused because they didn't think they were famous enough. Bill Graham is also said to have turned down Foreigner and Yes because there was no free space on the bill for them. For the same reason Marillion didn't play at the Wembley Stadium, although their lead singer, Fish, was able to participate in the "Do They Know It's Christmas" finale as were Justin Hayward and John Lodge from The Moody Blues, Stewart Copeland fromThe Police and the members of Big Country. On the other hand, Lionel Richie, Harry Belafonte, Dionne Warwick, Sheena Easton and Cher all showed up at the JFK finale performing "We Are The World".
Diana Ross, Van Halen, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Smiths, Talking Heads and Donna Summer also refused, for unknown reasons. Depeche Mode, one of the most successful English bands of the 1980s, was not invited. Alan Wilder, one of the DM members at the time said: "I doubt very much that we would have accepted the invitation, had we been asked. My personal view is that giving to 'chariddy' should be a totally private gesture, out of which no personal gain should be made. Inevitably, nearly all the artists who took part in Live Aid achieved a considerable rise in record sales and being the cynic I am, I wonder just how much of the profit gained from those sales actually ended up going to Ethiopia."
In one of recent interviews Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton expressed his regrets about the band not being asked to perform at the event: "I think that was a tragic, tragic decision. It could've been and it should've been the turning point for Phil (Lynott). And I think that really did Phil in quite a lot, that we were never asked to play. I mean Phil, had a few problems at the time, but at the end of the day, if he would've been asked to play Live Aid, that would've been a goal for him to clean himself up to do that gig. We were all very upset of the fact that we weren't asked to do it. Because as you say, it was Geldof and Midge who Phil knew very well. I was surprised that we weren't asked to do that. That would've been the turning point, you know, definitely. I don't think Phil ever forgave Bob and Midge for that really."
Neil Peart, drummer of the Canadian rock band Rush said about the whole Live Aid idea: "Geddy (Lee) was involved with the 'Northern Lights' charity record here in Canada, although Rush weren't invited to participate in the 'Live Aid' event -- mainly because if you look at the guest list, it was very much and 'in-crowd' situation. We didn't refuse to take part because of any principles. Mind you, I wouldn't have been happy being part of this scenario. Those stars should have shut up and just given over their money if they were genuine. I recall that 'Tears For Fears,' who made a musical and artistic decision to pull out of the concert, were subsequently accused of killing children in Africa -- what a shockingly irresponsible and stupid attitude to take towards the band. But I have nothing bad whatsoever to say about Bob Geldof; he sacrificed his health, his career, everything for something he believed in. But others around him got involved for their own reasons. Some of those involved in 'Northern Lights' were actually quoted as saying that their managers told them to get down to the recording sessions because it would be a good career move! What a farce!"
Performers and setlists
London Wembley Stadium
Coldstream Guards"Royal Salute"
"God Save the Queen"12:00
Status Quo"Rockin' All Over the World"
"Don't Waste My Time"12:02
The Style Council
"You're the Best Thing"
"Big Boss Groove"
"Walls Come Tumbling Down"12:19
The Boomtown Rats"I Don't Like Mondays"
"Drag Me Down"
"For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"12:44
Adam Ant" Vive Le Rock"13:00
Ultravox"Reap the Wild Wind"
"Dancing with Tears in My Eyes"
"One Small Day"
Spandau Ballet"Only When You Leave"
All You Need Is Love"14:07
"Wouldn't It Be Good"14:22
Sade"Why Can't We Live Together"
"Your Love Is King"
"Is It a Crime"14:55
Sting Phil Collins Branford Marsalis
"Roxanne" "Driven to Tears" "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" "Message in a Bottle"
"In the Air Tonight"
"Long Long Way to Go"
"Every Breath You Take" 15:18
Howard Jones" Hide and Seek" 15:50
Bryan Ferry David Gilmour (on guitar)
"Boys And Girls"
"Slave to Love"
"Jealous Guy" 16:07
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" (intro) "Come Back and Stay" "That's the Way Love Is" (with Alison Moyet) "Every Time You Go Away" 16:38
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" "Bad" (with snippets of "Satellite of Love", "Ruby Tuesday",
"Sympathy for the Devil" and "Walk on the Wild Side") 17:20
"Money for Nothing" (with Sting)
"Sultans of Swing"18:00
"Bohemian Rhapsody"/"Radio Ga Ga" "Hammer to Fall" "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions" 18:44
David Bowie Thomas Dolby
(on keyboards)" TVC 15" "Rebel Rebel" "Modern Love" "Heroes" 19:22
"My Generation"/ "Pinball Wizard" "Love, Reign o'er Me" "Won't Get Fooled Again" 20:00
"I'm Still Standing" "Bennie and the Jets" "Rocket Man" "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (with Kiki Dee) "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (with George Michael) "Can I Get a Witness" 20:50
Freddie Mercury Brian May
"Is This the World We Created?" 21:48
Let It Be" (with backing vocals for the ending by Bob Geldof, David Bowie, Pete Townshend& Alison Moyet) 21:51
Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas? "21:54
- Noel Edmonds introduced Sting, Phil Collins and Branford Marsalis
- Jack Nicholson introduced U2
- Mel Smith & Griff Rhys Jones introduced Queen
- Jack Nicholson introduced The Who
- Billy Connolly introduced Elton John
Philadelphia JFK Stadium
"All I Really Want to Do"
Joan Baez"Amazing Grace"/"We Are the World" 9:02
The Hooters "And We Danced"
"All You Zombies"9:12
"Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)"
"It's the Same Old Song"
"Reach Out I'll Be There"
"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)"9:33
Black Sabbath "Children of the Grave"
Run–D.M.C. "Jam Master Jay"
"King Of Rock"10:12
"State of the Heart"
"Human Touch" 10:30
"Can't Fight This Feeling"
"Roll With the Changes"10:47
Crosby, Stills and Nash"
No places assigned