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Remember where you were? The moments we'll never forget from Live Aid, 30 years on...

Bono danced in the mud, Geldof swore at everybody and Phil Collins did the most 1980s thing ever.
Jul 13th 2015, 8:01 AM 32,273 53

(A version of this article was originally posted on Saturday morning. Today marks the 30th anniversary of the massive charity concerts). 

WHETHER YOU WERE alive at the time or not – there’s every chance you’re aware of Live Aid: how big it was, who performed, how ‘nobody had seen the like of it before’.

Large-scale charity gigs had, of course, been held previously – notably, the likes of the George Harrison-helmed Concert for Bangladesh.

But this was something different. Something much, much bigger.

Pretty much every major music star you could think of was involved somehow – and more than 170,000 people watched the marathon dual concerts live in London’s Wembley Stadium, and at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.

Almost 2 billion people were watching on TV across 150 nations 30 years ago – on 13 July 1985.

LIVE AID WEMBLEY 1985 Source: Joe Schaber

You may have been there. You may have hazy childhood memories of people talking about something called ‘U2′ and not being entirely sure what that meant. Or you may have been born in the 1990s, and only heard the story told via endless repeats of Reeling In The Years and other nostalgia programmes.

Either way – how many of these Live Aid moments do you recall?

And were you (too) worried Bono would never make it back on the stage?

Bob Geldof swears at everybody 

People are still convinced that Geldof, the main force behind the massive event, implored the world to “give us your fucking money” in a BBC broadcast.

He got angry, sure. He banged the table. But he actually told the presenter to “fuck the address” and to give out the phone number instead. (An important distinction. Never a good idea to insult the viewers).

Source: ScallywagsTV2/YouTube

Queen: The greatest performance ever? 

Freddie Mercury and co had 20 minutes to wow the crowd at Wembley – and whether you’re a fan of the band or not, it’s impossible to deny the power of their performance.

This was Dave Grohl’s take on the moment: “Queen smoked ’em. They just took everybody. They walked away being the greatest band you’d ever seen in your life, and it was unbelievable.”

Source: dylbiebee/YouTube

Bono goes missing

This was Larry’s take on it, years later: ”It was kind of excruciating. We didn’t know whether we should stop, we didn’t know where he was, we didn’t know if he had fallen.”

Coming on stage between Bryan Adams and the Beach Boys, U2 thought they’d screwed-up, after Bono went AWOL in the mud to dance with a girl from the crowd. The rest of the lads were left on stage, heroically trying to fill-in a (very) elongated of ‘Bad’.

The performance, however, only served to cement their live reputation.


Phil Collins, Concorde

Is there a more 1980s combination than Phil Collins and Concorde?

The Genesis frontman followed Sting on stage in London –  then, at 4pm, left to fly via Concorde to Philadelphia to join the US leg of the gig. (The audio link-up to the plane, mid-flight, was a little fuzzy).

Source: 9videostar9/YouTube

Simon Le Bon’s false note

Poor Simon (2 min 50 secs).

Source: HitmanXP/YouTube

‘The lesson today is how to die’

Taking to the stage with the Boomtown Rats (who were, by the way, long past their heyday at this stage) Geldof created an electrifying moment, leaving a long pause after the lyric, with his fist in the air.

The moment gave a whole new meaning to the classic line from ‘I Don’t Like Monday’s’ and underscored the entire reason for the concert being held in the first place.

Source: MusicIsLife32294/YouTube

The Cars ‘Drive’ and the footage from Ethiopia

Heartbreaking footage of the Ethiopian famine was broadcast to the crowd (and around the world) set to the US band’s hit from the previous year.

The segment silenced the crowd – and the song was later re-released to raise funds for the charity effort, raising over £150,000.

Source: craigblumus/YouTube

David Bowie and Mick Jagger

And the campest thing ever to happen.

Source: emimusic/YouTube

Jagger strikes again 

Poor Tina Turner had to finish their duet in a leotard after the Rolling Stones frontman yanked her dress off…

Source: RollingStones50yrs3/YouTube

Let it Be: unplugged

It should have been one of the highlights of the Wembley concert – but Paul McCartney’s mic wasn’t working properly for the first two minutes of the Beatles classic.

The sound was picked up okay by the TV audience, as there were other microphones mounted nearby – but you can hear the cheers, at the moment the sound kicks-in properly in the stadium…

Source: TheBeatlesVEVOHQ/YouTube

The big finish

The Wembley stars (minus Phil Collins) lined the stage for a celebratory version of Do They Know It’s Christmas, to bring down the curtain.

Listen out for Bono taking-over at the end, and changing the lyrics…

Source: RollingStones50yrs3/YouTube

Read: Bono hits out at world leaders on Ebola, as stars arrive for latest ‘Band Aid’ session >

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Daragh Brophy


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