Live Aid Revisited

Every morning, I post the “Today in Duran Duran History” fact for the day.  This morning, this fact discussed the Live Aid event from 1985.  Obviously, this was a significant event in Duran Duran history.  In fact, if we were to write a history book on the band, that day, that event would be considered a massive turning point.  I would compare it to shots being fired, beginning a war.  Tensions had been building and now action had finally been taken.  Much like events in history, the true effect of the event wouldn’t be known for months or even years.  No one knew that day that it would be the final performance of the classic line-up until the Fab 5 reunited about a decade ago.  It would be almost 20 years before they would get back on stage together.  No, most people acknowledged the terribly missed note during A View to a Kill but no one knew that it was the end (for a long time).  Interestingly enough, most people commenting today on this fact aren’t bringing up the significance for Duran Duran.  No, they are talking about where they were on that day.  I’m no different.  I, immediately, thought about my life at that time.

If I go back in time to 1985, I was 10 years old but, like many of us, was a huge Duranie!  My best friend, at the time, and I watched Duran videos all the time and squeed over pictures of John Taylor in magazines like Bop and Tiger Beat.  I was, generally, a happy kid at that time.  Yet, there was a huge black cloud on the horizon.  My family was in the process of moving.  We didn’t move that far–about an hour away from where we were but it was like moving from one world to a totally different world.  When I became a Duranie, I was living in the Chicago suburbs.  I had access to Top 40 radio that played Duran all the time despite constantly making fun of them and I had access to MTV.  While Duran wasn’t super popular in my elementary school (Michael Jackson was king in my neighborhood!), there were enough Duranies around that I felt safe.  That all changed when I moved to a small town.  More to the point, this place didn’t have Top 40 radio and didn’t have MTV.  I felt like I had gone back in time!

On July 13, 1985, my family, including myself, was doing what we always did on weekends that summer, which was to drive to the new house to take boxes and other items that needed to be moved.  My dad was already living there as he was working in the area so he needed supplies.  Plus, it would make the big move easier, or so went the theory.  I so protested this trip.  I, obviously, wanted to be watching Live Aid.  Why couldn’t I stay at my friend’s house?  I asked my mother over and over again.  The response I got was simple:  I had to help the family.  I rolled my eyes, grumbled to myself and felt like I had lost a friend.  It was like an additional kick to the gut.  I couldn’t even watch for Duran!

Interestingly enough, we got back “home” right before Power Station came on!  I didn’t miss them, after all!  I was still upset about being forced to help make this move that I desperately didn’t want to happen, though.  I remember my parents getting Chinese for dinner and I refused to move from the TV, in case Duran came on.  For some reason, my parents didn’t force me away from the screen.  I don’t even think I ate dinner that night.  I think I kept thinking that Duran would make me feel better, but they didn’t.  I almost felt worse after they came on.  I don’t know why.  I could say that I had a sense that something wasn’t right but I doubt it.  My kid brain wouldn’t have been able to move beyond my own thoughts, life, problems.  I probably didn’t even notice Simon’s bum note!

A little over a month later, the big and final move took place.  That, of course, is another day that I’ll never forget in my life.  I was walking around outside when a neighbor girl rode her bike up to me, which was actually very nice.  We started talking and, of course, I asked her if she liked Duran.  Her response, “Who?”  She had never heard of them.  The kids in the neighborhood spent most of their time making and playing game outside or riding their bikes.  They weren’t glued to MTV like I had been.  Now, I can understand how both cultures (and that’s what they were) had their positives and negatives but as a kid, I couldn’t see it.  I missed my best friend and listening to the radio.  I think, at that point, my Duranie-ness grew.  I held on to it for dear life.  As summer turned into fall, I tried to make friends but that didn’t go well.  Neither side wanted to learn about the other person’s interests.  No one wanted to learn about Duran, which I totally couldn’t understand.  Soon enough, this divide between me and my new classmates grew and turned ugly as they found out that I was a religious minority in a small town in which everyone was the same religion (or so it seemed).  The kids used this along with the fact that I wore a lot of black and red along with my black rubber bracelets (I wonder who else was dressing this way in 1985?  Hmm…could it be…John Taylor?!) to make fun of me pretty frequently.

By 1986, I was pretty lonely as I didn’t have a lot of friends in my new town and my best friend from home had decided that Duran was done.  By now, we knew that Roger and Andy left the band.  It seemed to me that my feelings of dread on Live Aid were justified.  Going back to the original analogy of how Live Aid was a turning point, it definitely was.  It was for me and for the band.  On July 13th, 1985, no one really knew what exactly was going to happen, but what did happen was significant.  My life was changed and the band member’s lives changed, too.  Thus, not a year goes by that I don’t remember that fateful day.  I’m relieved I made it through this not-so-happy time in my life and I am so glad that the band was able to go on as well.

What about the rest of you?  Is this a fateful day for you?  Are there other days in Duran history that have personal meaning?  I love to hear your stories!


8 thoughts on “Live Aid Revisited”

  1. I am so sorry that this day is attached to such a sad memory Amanda. I feel for what you went through. Moving is tough enough as a child but moving the day of Live Aid seems so unfair. I have to wonder if things with the new kids might have been a little different for you if everyone was just a few years older in 1985 (say 13, 14, or 15 years old)? Maybe the other kids would have developed more of a taste for 80's British music? Then again, if the new neighborhood didn’t have MTV in 1985 – I can see how they were definitely behind musically.

    As for my experience, I was glued to MTV ALL day on July 13, 1985 (like so many other people). I remember getting up early because the Wembley concert started at 12noon London time but it was only 7am East Coast Time. I was 15 years old and had my two cousins visiting for the summer and they were Duranies like me. Plus, my best friend who lived up the street was a Duranie. So, we were all excited and glued to the tv, not wanting to miss the Power Station or Duran. Not to say that I didn’t love just about all the other acts performing that day as well. It was just amazing to me and I felt like I was participating in something even though I wasn’t actually physically at the concert in Philly or London. Looking back, I don’t know how my parents put up with us in front of the tv all day – for 16 hours! Because back then, I think we only had one tv in our house – in the living room. Well, actually, my parents had a small black & white tv in their room and that was it. And, on hot summer days my Mom was always trying to get us out of the house. But, I guess she knew how important this music passion of mine was. And by then, MTV ruled – period.

    Anyway, my two cousins, best friend, and I had just seen the Power Station in concert at Jones Beach about a week before Live Aid. So, we were all still high on that experience. That summer kicked off the beginning of my many teenage concert adventures. It was the best of times. On the other hand, my parents were going through an ugly divorce. I truly believe the main reason I was able to cope with the turmoil caused by the divorce was because of the escape Duran Duran provided me. I immersed myself into all things Duran – it was one of the main things that made me happy (and still is)!

    -Long Island Duranie turned CA girl

  2. Yeah, I absolutely agree that part of the problem was how young we all were. On the other hand, I enjoyed reading about your Live Aid experience! I love that you were able to watch it with other Duranies and that you were able to have many fabulous concert adventures! As it should be!


  3. I really don't have a lot of memories from Live Aid. I remember it being on the TV that day, and I remember sitting outside in the backyard tanning (I was in that teenage stage…and for some reason I recall the scent of Sun In from that day – I was really into lightening my hair with that stuff back then since my parents wouldn't allow me to dye it, so I must have been doing that too. Anyway, I had the TV on loud enough to hear it outside, and I'd go running in every so often to see whomever was playing. The only thing I really do remember clearly from that day was seeing Duran on there. They just seemed off, and it wasn't because of that ONE note. I remember standing there watching and saying to my mom that something wasn't right. Little did I know how right I was. Bizarre. Another thing I remember was being disgusted at how big of a deal people were making out of U2 at the time. Silly.

    I just had to ask the Long Island Duranie turned CA girl where she lives in CA. Every day I see Duranies that say they live here and whatnot and yet I know almost no one out here that I would actually recognize from shows. (Perhaps that's because I tend to avoid the CA shows??? LOL) I know a few, but we don't typically get together. Perhaps it's time to change that and have a Duranie party next year while the band is recording. Hmm.


  4. Apart from the first act appearing at Wembley Stadium, I missed seeing Live Aid entirely. My family was attending a church picnic and I remember how I begged and pleaded to be excused from it just this once (the picnics happened every year; Live Aid was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Preferring Live Aid over a picnic seemed like a reasonable choice, no?). My cries fell on deaf ears. I had to go with my parents…end of discussion. I grudgingly went along and was in a sour mood for the whole day (Apparently, I wasn't the only one. A group of kids huddled inside a car, desperately trying to tune into any public radio broadcast of the event or at least get news updates about it). Live Aid was the biggest communal event for the MTV generation, featuring a kaleidoscope of top talent from 30 years worth of pop music…and I wasn't a part of it. So July 13th, 1985 carries–in part–the memory of being a big day of RESENTMENT. That feeling has eased somewhat now that the Live Aid highlights are available to view on DVD but it's never going to be the same as watching it live. I had already missed seeing DD the previous year during the Sing Blue Silver tour so missing out on them AGAIN really hurt. I believe those two disappointments strengthened my resolve in seeing the band perform live (it took me 18 years to finally achieve my goal but anyway…).

    The day also marked the end of an era–specifically, the magically innovative, fun, optimistic part of the decade that early 80s music represented. The rock n' roll baton was being passed and soon radio formats shifted to “conscience/protest rock”, hair metal bands, rap/hip-hop and a lot of overproduced, dance sparkly shit (read: Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, New Kids on the Block). Ugh. With the exception of Paul Simon's “Graceland”, Peter Gabriel's “So” and U2's “The Joshua Tree” albums (I'd thrown in Enya's “Watermark” in the list too, although somewhat lesser in impact), I couldn't stand the latter part of the 80s. It was like the feeling you get when you watch your pristine neighbourhood slowly turn into the slum part of town. Disheartening. I would also have to point out it was a very low period for me because of some personal issues (will not disclose about it here). It was during this difficult time that I would look back at July 13th, 1985 wistfully with FONDNESS. “Ah, the good ol' days!”. Funny, eh?

    I think the best word to describe my feelings about that eventful day would be BITTERSWEET. Yeah, that would be more accurate.

  5. I can relate to your story very much. I am not sure of the exact dates but I too had to move away from my Duranie BFF due to a crisis in my family right as I was starting middle school. It was one of the hardest times I had to go through & I too eventually lost touch with my dear BFF. Duran's music, I truely believe kept me sane through this time period. I believe that their music gave me the escape from reality that I so needed at that time. My story does have a happy ending as my Duranie BFF and I were reuinted about 2 yrs ago thanks to FB & we even got to meet the guys together!!! An amazing experience to say the least!!! Thanks for sharing your story….I can relate on many levels!

  6. What's funny about this all is I don't even remember knowing about Live Aid until the day of the show. For me, it was like 'someone' just RANDOMLY decided to air this gargantuan monster of a tv special around the world, spur of the moment. I had NO clue. NONE.

    It wasn't until one of my friends (who didn't even like Duran) informed me they were going to be on that I knew about it. My other friends (who I watched Live Aid with) were all waiting for the likes of Van Halen and such to watch. And yea sure they were okay (Van Halen…and my friends too I guess LOL) but I was dying to see Duran!

    I remember being so excited and “shushing” the room as they came on. I was not going to miss a MOMENT of this spectacular! I remember thinking to myself that they'd all see just how great Duran was, and then they'd understand….and then came “the note”. Welllll maybe not. They teased me about it for the rest of the summer about Duran's technical difficulties. However, these were also the same friends who (if memory serves) about a month later cheered with me when the news reported that Simon was safe and sound when the Drum's accident occurred during the Whitbread race.

    I agree that I think we all knew that it was pretty obvious even to our prepubescent teen eyes that things were not good in the Duran camp. But I'm glad they persevered, evolved and are still around.

    Kendra 🙂

  7. Rhonda – I live in San Diego but actually might be moving to Orange County within the next month. Is that where you are located? In CA, I have only seen Duran play in San Diego. Although I saw John Taylor on his solo tour in SD, Orange County, and LA back in 1998. A California Duranie get together would be great! I don't know any local Duranie's myself (as I'm new to the whole Twitter/Message Board thing).

    -Long Island Duranie turned CA girl

  8. I'm in southern OC actually. Near Mission Viejo…so we're fairly close! Most of my friends live at least 1000 miles away from me, if not 2500 in the case of Amanda, and so I find myself traveling most of the time for shows and things. That said, it'd be great to have some sort of a get together here for those of us who live in this area. I'll have to work on that for next year. 🙂 -R

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