I received a curious package in the mail the other day. My best friend sent me a package with the words Happy Birthday written on the back of it. My birthday was in January. My best friend and I are six months to the day apart in age and when we were kids we celebrated half birthdays. I know she knows when my birthday is but it has been years, actually decades since we actually did more than call to wish the other Happy Birthday.
So I was pleasantly surprised to receive this package. Inside the envelope was a copy of Live Aid. A set of four DVDs worth of footage from that event 24 years ago. I was 19 when the event was televised live on July 13th 1985. According to Joan Baez Live Aid was my generation’s Woodstock.
I suppose to some degree it was. However as children of the 80’s my generation was far too self involved to really understand that assessment. We were much more concerned with big hair and brightly colored pants to be too concerned with world hunger. Luckily Bob Geldoff wasn’t.
Don’t worry I’m not going to go all political on anyone.
I do remember where I was when the concerts were televised that day in July. I was lying on my bosses bed with a few other co-workers. We had just wrapped up working a string of two week long festivals selling balloons. We had actually watched several of the bands who performed for Live Aid at the festivals we were working. Selling balloons doesn’t sound all that hard, and it isn’t, but there were many long nights and lots of partying involved. By the time the concert was being aired we were all wiped out.
I loved the 80’s. Coming of age at that particular time was a lot of fun and the economic world we lived in was not much different than it is today. I’m looking forward to this generations contribution to their decade. I hope big hair comes back as well as shoulder pads. The music was fun and not nearly as depressing as the music that was ushered in by Curt Cobain and all his depressed buddies. Today’s music seems to be beginning to climb out of depressing lyrics but there are still a lot of depressed artists around. Would someone please get The Frey’s lead singer some Zoloft?
If you haven’t seen Live Aid since it originally aired do yourself a favor and rent the videos. Looking at the styles we wore at that time is worth the price alone. The artists, most of them, are young and while probably fired up on a lot of coke, since it was cheaper than pot in the 80’s, look vibrant. Of course we now have that wonder that is Botox so all of the artists with the exception of Madonna, Ozzy Osbourne and Michael Jackson, look the same today. Their hair was a bit longer but really they look the same.
Bono was still not too cool for the rest of us and you can actually see his eyes since he hadn’t adopted the permanent shades yet. Sting looked as though he bathed and Kenny Rogers still looked like Kenny Rogers.
I suspect at some point today’s crop of pop stars will have something like Live Aid. They have to and soon. The 90’s had Lilith Fair, we had Live Aid, the boomers had Woodstock. Hanna Montana has a little over a year to pull something big together. I’d like to make snarky comments about the current crop of pop stars and that they have little to no talent but they are no different than the group that performed that day in 1985. Remember Hall and Oates, Huey Lewis, Simple Minds? All these guys were probably just as contrived as the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus. It’s all about money baby.