All morning I’ve seen tweets and Facebook messages referring to Live Aid because today is the thirtieth anniversary. Thirty YEARS ago. Is that even possible??
I suppose in some ways, yes, it does feel like it’s been thirty years. It really kind of feels like a lifetime ago in some respects. The year was 1985. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I spent the day running between the backyard of my home, where I was trying to perfect my tan (back then, I didn’t think twice about skin cancer) and my living room, where I had the TV turned up loud enough so I could hear who was playing. I didn’t want to miss Duran Duran.
Historically, there had never been a show like it. Live Aid was about something much bigger than the music. I don’t believe there has been a show like it since. Whether it’s chalked up to the music of the time, the world, or just that particular generation, Live Aid was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of gig. For the lion’s share, most bands look back on Live Aid as this sort of strange, surreal experience; but many also seem to have found a sense of pride in having been a part of something so beyond themselves. I don’t get the sense that it was an experience that any of them were able to fully appreciate at the time, with comments regarding firm set-limits to testimonials describing the glitterati-enlaced talent waiting and mingling backstage. Even as a fan, to read oral-histories such as the one Lyndsey Parker penned for Yahoo! Music can feel a bit surreal.
For me, Live Aid represents an end to my glory days as an 80s music loving teen. Music was forever changed. Duran Duran didn’t play another show as the Fab Five until 2003. Like John Taylor, I rather miss the days where music was about living life to excess: hedonism and narcissistic as it may have been. After Live Aid, it stopped being about having fun for the sake of having fun. All of the sudden it became about “the greater good” to a large extent. While I am not one to mock the trials and tribulations of the world…there is something to be said for escapism. That’s probably why to this day I still look to Duran Duran for my escape and fun.
And Martha (Quinn)? Believe me, we ALL heard that bum note. For the Duranies out there, it was the final punctuation mark on a remarkable moment in our lives. Of course we forgave Simon, and at the time I don’t think many of us realized the eventual significance of the moment..but it stood as that final capstone for so many years, it is difficult not to equate one with the other. I don’t think the band has necessarily perpetuated the memory of that note as much as it’s been in the lore and/or canon of this fandom ever sense. That note came to be known as marking an end, and a new beginning.