Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gen X and Live Aid (Week 20 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Project)

"It's twelve noon in London, seven AM in Philadelphia, and around the world it's time for: Live Aid...."

- Richard Skinner (British Radio and TV Broadcaster) opening the show

Many Gen Xers remember Live Aid as a monumental event that took place on July 13, 1985.  The concert  was a collaborative effort between JFK stadium in Philadelphia and Wembley stadium in London, along with acts happening in other parts of the world like the INXS performance in Australia.  I remember the buzz going around my sleepy, small-town neighborhood about the event, though at the time I could not have imagined how big it all was.  I did not know that weekend would hold "the day music changed history."

I was just an elementary school kid who hadn't really gotten into music yet - I could recognize a couple of Top 40 songs from the radio, but that was about it. By the end of the day though, things had changed - I had been introduced to the best bands of the decade, along with the concept of social consciousness.  Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats had organized "the greatest live concert ever staged." Roughly $283 million was raised for the famine in Ethiopia at the time.
I will never forget that day.  Around 2 billion of us were watching this broadcast.  Gen X watched this together from both sides of the Atlantic and countries around the world.  I spent the day learning who different bands were.  I also worked on figuring out all the male singers with blond hair - Sting, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Bryan Adams....

Broken-up bands reunited even if just for one day, but when the day was over Duran Duran had split.  Queen's set was considered by many to be the best performance in rock history.  The feed was supplied by the BBC, ABC, MTV, and the radio.  Any musician you can think of from that era was there, meant to be there, or helped to write some of the music.  Fuses blew, cords came loose, a generator broke down, but the show went on.

Clips I decided to watch of Live Aid this week included:

 1)  Bono saving the life of a girl about to be crushed by a massive wave of  people pushing forward toward the stage - they were performing Bad, and everyone thought he had just picked her to dance with him.

2) Cyndi Lauper's commercial to get people to buy the Live Aid book - unlike now when you can go online and look at info. and photos of an event immediately, back then you had to drive to a book store, bring the book home, open it, and actually turn the pages....

3) Simple Minds singing Don't You Forget About Me - What could possibly be a more iconic Gen X moment than this?

Older Gen Xers will remember Live Aid as something they looked forward to for weeks - it was a day they took off to stay glued to the TV.  If they couldn't get the day off, they listened to Live Aid from radios as they worked at their minimum wage summer jobs.  Younger Gen Xers like myself may remember Live Aid as the Saturday we put our cartoons and toys aside to open our eyes to the larger world around us.

(c) 2011 photo and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

No comments: