I Never Watched It Either

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Live Aid was thirty years ago this week. Joyce Millman from The Mix Tape shares her story.

“Oh sure, Joan, this was just like Woodstock — if Woodstock had been held in a football stadium on I-95 instead of a sleepy hamlet, or if Woodstock had been partially underwritten by Pepsi, Chevrolet and AT&T. This was just like Woodstock, except that if you weren’t there, you could watch it on TV, and if you were there, you could look forward to reliving it through the magic of your VCR.”

I remember that I watched it but I have very little memory of it. I mostly remember the horrible commentary from MTV hosts, particularly Mark Goodman. No, Sting didn’t change the lyrics on “Driven to Tears” just for this event, idiot.

I only vaguely remember some of the musical performances. There was David Bowie doing TVC 15 and Heroes with Thomas Dolby on keys, that was cool. I had forgotten about the Zeppelin / Phil Collins thing until reading Joyce’s article and I agree it’s best to not discuss it further. I think I might remember Style Council but reading through the performance lists now, it’s mostly a blur of lackluster performances with no spontaneity in either song selection or execution.

Honestly, I think the only performance that still resonates with me  from that day is Queen’s legendary 40 or so minutes. Freddie Mercury cemented his place as one of the greatest live performers of our age to the whole world, and if nothing else was accomplished from the event, that alone made the day worth it.

I also have a tape of Live Aid that I recorded on my VCR. I never watched it.

That’s ok Joyce, I never watched mine either.

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