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Welcome to my Live Aid day...
To have been just one of 74,000 people at Wembley Stadium "For Just One Day" was the most awesome feeling in the world, considering that nearly one third of the world's population tuned in to watch it on TV in 160 countries!

The day the music changed the world

The most ambitious, successful concert of all time with the worlds biggest names in music. The event cost $4m, took only a few week to organise and went on to raised over $200m for famine relief, and all the artists performed for free. At one point it was reported that 95% of the worlds TV's were tuned in to Live Aid and the American call center for donations crashed when over 700,000 pledge calls all came at the same time. It was also one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time with over 190 TV and 2000 Radio broadcasting stations.

Incredible statistics when you consider that this event occurred in a time before the Internet, mobile phones, e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, social networking and blogging. For just one day through music and an worthy cause, much of the world actually felt connected. Needless to say that the greatest fund raising concert on earth in 1985 was the start of all the "Relief" fund raising events of today.

The build up to the big day

My closest friend Robin Nixon (Bob - who is also a mutual Bowie fanatic) wasted no time in securing his ticket for the day (though he could only get one), whilst I struggled like hell to get hold of another. These sold like hot cakes and became like gold dust. I did however have one trick up my sleeve. After wasting what seemed like an eternity in futile efforts trying to get a concert ticket, I resorted to my trump card. Both my Nan and my Aunt had spent the best part of their lives working in London theatres and they were like the mafia with their connections. If they couldn't get me a ticket, no one could. Unbelievably, day after day after day, the only reports I received were "Steve, you're simply asking for the impossible!", my heart sank. What was I to do? Surely Bob and I were destined to go together?
Live Aid 1985 Ticket by Steve Stachini JFK247
With only a few days left until the event I got the call... a close friend of my Aunt (Ken) pulled all the strings and managed to get one ticket. I was indebted to him! But he would take no more money from me than its face value though I was willing to pay the earth for it. Thanks Ken!

That very same day I have my first proper job interview. I got the job and was asked to start straight way, "sorry" I said, "but I'm off to Wembley". My new employer looked a bit shocked, "OK then can you start Monday?" - "Nope! sorry, I plan to spend a week with my best friend after the concert how about the week after?". I thought I was going to be sacked after only just getting the job, but they agreed to the following week. The naivety of youth, or was I just so pumped about going to Live Aid? Bob and I were in our last year of school and the term ended on Friday the 12th of July the day before the concert, so we both thought "sod that!" and skipped the last couple of days and headed off to his place in Croydon.

And so the day began

If memory serves me correct, I believe we had very little sleep (if any) the night before and we set off from Bob's house at about 5.30am Once we arrived at Wembley we searched for our gate entrances as we had different gate numbers on our tickets and then we simply roamed around waiting for the gates to open at 10am

We were both so tempted to sell our tickets as we could have got £400 each for them. People, desperate to persuade concert goers to relinquish their tickets for a bundle of cash and in 1985 £400 was a lot of money.
That's when it truly dawned on us then that if others were willing to pay such a huge amount of money to scalp a ticket, then we must be attending something even bigger, a once in a life time musical event. And how right we were!
So the gates promptly opened, a rush of adrenaline, the surge of the crowds, the anticipation of where to go, praying that I could keep my ticket, where was my ticket? Panic, confusion, excitement and where the hell was Bob? It was all so manic and chaotic. Fortunately it didn't take long to hook up with Bob and we made our way right to the front of the stage, until we realised that a much better view could be obtained by moving some twenty meters or so back. That was it, we had staked our claim, this is where we were staying! And at two minutes past twelve it kicked off with Rocking All Over The World by Status Quo.
Live Aid 1985 Crowd 2 by Steve Stachini JFK247
Live Aid 1985 Bowie and Lennox by Steve Stachini JFK247
Live Aid 1985 Queen by Steve Stachini JFK247
Live Aid 1985 U2 by Steve Stachini JFK247

The days line up went like this

  • 12.02 : Status Quo
  • 12.19 : Style Council
  • 12.44 : Boomtown Rats
  • 13.00 : Adam Ant
  • 13.06 : INXS
  • 13.16 : Ultravox
  • 13.34 : Loudness
  • 13.47 : Spandau Ballet
  • 13.51 : Bernard Watson
  • 14.02 : Joan Baez
  • 14.07 : Elvis Costello
  • 14.10 : The Hooters
  • 14.15 : Opus
  • 14.22 : Nik Kershaw
  • 14.32 : The Four Tops
  • 14.38 : B.B. King
  • 14.45 : Billy Ocean
  • 14.52 : Black Sabbath
  • 14.55 : Sade
  • 15.12 : Run DMC
  • 15.18 : Sting
  • 15.27 : Rick Springfield
  • 15.35 : Phil Collins
  • 15.45 : REO Speedwagon
  • 15.50 : Howard Jones
  • 15.58 : Autograph
  • 16.03 : Bryan Ferry
  • 16.15 : Crosby, Still & Nash
  • 16.24 : Udo Lindenberg
  • 16.26 : Judas Priest
  • 16.38 : Paul Young - Alison Moyet
  • 17.00 Linkup Wembley UK - JFK USA
  • 17.02 : Bryan Adams
  • 17.20 : U2
  • 17.40 : The Beach Boys
  • 18.00 : Dire Straits & Sting
  • 18.26 : George Thorogood & the Destroyers / Bo Diddley / Albert Collins
  • 18.44 : Queen
  • 19.03 : David Bowie / Mick Jagger
  • 19.07 : Simple Minds
  • 19.22 : David Bowie
  • 19.41 : The Pretenders
  • 20.00 : The Who
  • 20.20 : Santana / Pat Metheny
  • 20.50 : Elton John
  • 20.57 : Ashford & Simpson / Teddy Pendergrass
  • 21.05 : Elton John / Kiki Dee / Wham!
  • 21.30 : Madonna
  • 21.48 : Freddie Mercury / Brian May
  • 21.51 : Paul McCartney
  • 21.54 : McCartney / Bowie / Pete Townshend / Alison Moyet / Bob Geldof
  • 21.56 UK Finale from Wembley
  • 22.14 : Tom Petty
  • 22.30 : Kenny Loggins
  • 22.49 : The Cars
  • 23.07 : Neil Young
  • 23.43 : The Power Station
  • 00.21 : The Thompson Twins
  • 00.39 : Eric Clapton
  • 01.04 : Phil Collins
  • 01.13 : Robert Plant /Jimmy Page / John Paul Jones
  • 01.47 : Duran Duran
  • 02.15 : Patti LaBelle
  • 02.50 : Hall & Oates / Eddie Kendricks / David Ruffin
  • 03.15 : Mick Jagger
  • 03.28 : Mick Jagger / Tina Turner
  • 03.39 : Bob Dylan / Keith Richards / Ron Wood
  • 03.55 US Finale

Time to enjoy the music

For Bob and I, we still had some seven hours to wait for our man Bowie but hey, we could suffer a line up like this and listen all day - Oh! Yeh... We did! Honestly there are no words that could express the thrills and participation of such a musical extravaganza: amazing, phenomenal and out of this world, doesn't even come close to describing it.
Live Aid 1985 Princess Di by Steve Stachini JFK247
Live Aid 1985 Bowie in Blue by Steve Stachini JFK247
Live Aid 1985 Finale by Steve Stachini JFK247
Due to the heat of the day, many people like us were stripping off and making collective piles of clothing along with hoards of shopping bags full of food and dink which many brought with them, including us. After being to a Bowie concert before in similar heat, we were expecting fire cannons to water down the whole of the crowd and keep us cool but oh no. The guys at the front of the stage had two garden hoses which squirted water about 10m at the most... pathetic! It got to the point that they resorted to filling up water bottles and randomly throwing them into the crowds to pass around... still pathetic! Fortunately there were only a handful of people who passed out due to the heat and I dare say a few were knocked out by the bombardment of full water bottles.

Stars of the show

Bowie, Queen and U2 stole the day

There is absolutely no doubt that apart from David Bowie (for Bob and me) the stars of the show had to go to Queen and U2. Nobody brings an audience alive better than Freddie Mercury. He quite literally had the world in his hands as he got us all to mimic his famous musical chants, as if he was practicing the notes on a scale.

Simply magical!
U2 grabbed the hearts of the crowd when Bono got a young lady up on stage, took a walk in to the audience, performed a mesmerizing 14 minute rendition of Bad and kept us all enthralled and singing as if we were hypnotised. This performance established them as a eminent live group for the first time and seriously launched their career. An award winning segment from U2 which wells up my eyes as emotions of that day come flooding back.

David Bowie

Queen

The twist in the tale

Obviously at some some points during this marathon event we needed to take the odd break, to stretch our legs, go to the toilet and get refreshments, especially as by this point we had no chance of finding our groceries among the now huge mound of everyone's belongings. Whilst in the doughnut ring of Wembley Stadium we would occasionally see an entourage of security surrounding one of the performers, shuffling them from A to B.
However, we always found ourselves saying things like "Oh, it's only Howard Jones" or "What the hell does Nik Kershaw need security for?"

Then, as if in a movie scene, there were these two visions in blue facing us and the rest of the people walking around were taking no notice at all. They weren't superstars of the musical world but they were singers, just freely ambling along, undisturbed. Why were they so important to us? Well, they were the backing girls for David Bowie! We had to cease the moment and go and chat to them even if only for a few minutes, we were elated.
To explain, it was never made public knowledge as to where everyone was going for the Live Aid after party and TV interviews, a much guarded secret for obvious reasons. So, we asked the girls and much to our surprise, they told us, a place called "Legends" in central London. Never before had our timing to relieve ourselves at Wembley been so opportune, what a result, if they were telling us the truth that is. After this brief uplifting encounter we returned to the show.

The rest of the evening just seemed to fly and before we knew it, 10pm was fast approaching. Despite having the best music experience ever Bob and I started to feel somewhat deflated as we just didn't want the day to end.
Live Aid 1985 Finale 2 by Steve Stachini JFK247

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

After some debate as to whether the visions in blue had told us the truth or not, we decided to say our farewells to the UK Live Aid finale from a distance, on the stairs, ready for a quick getaway and run to the tube like idiots, heading for central London. What the hell, an adventure sounded better than going home!

The night was young

David Bowie's backing girls gave us an indication that the Legends club was somewhere among the back streets of the Regent area of London. Jesus that's a lot of ground to cover. Nonetheless, we searched high and low, ambled aimlessly, asked many people for directions, walked for bloody miles, stopped for some food until eventually we found it. The time was now pushing on 1am and as we had lost all our clothing at Wembley, other than our jackets, we were now feeling the cold.
Regent Street and Soho at night by Steve Stachini JFK247
As we turned down a side street where cars had no access, we saw only half a dozen or so people stood outside Lengends and in front of the main entrance was one very dapper looking security guy and only a tiny L shaped barrier no more than 3m by 5m. Was this really the place where all the stars were going? As soon as we saw Sade looking as stunning as ever in a long white slim fit dress, walk up the road towards us, we knew, yes... this was the place and our only mission was to catch Bowie on the way in, or if he was already there, to catch him on the way out. We were in for a long night and only the excitement kept us warm.
It was true, no one new about this place otherwise we would have been stood in a screaming crowd of people, but there were no more than twenty of us at any given time and Bob and I stayed all night. There was some entertainment for a while as a guy on roller skate was going up and down the road playing a saxophone, pretty cool. The weather turned and started to rain. With very little clothing on, freezing cold, still no sleep since Thursday night, and only our pathetic Bowie banner draped over our heads for protection, we were still determined to stay. We had seen endless TV celebrities and many bands and artists arrive and depart the club and we spoke to the odd ones here and there, but still no Bowie!
Bob try his hardest to persuade an employee who had finished his shift at the club to sell or trade his uniform so that at least one of us could get in, but this guy wasn't having it. Valiant effort Bob! Daylight broke, and a few hours later the last of the guests left, the club locked up and no Bowie. Little did we know that he had flown back to New York after the concert. Though disappointed at not seeing our man, Bob and I were still buzzing as we felt privileged to be among only a few who can say that our Live Aid experience continued right through to Sunday. With so much to talk about we headed back to Bob's house and by the time we got home it must have been about 4pm. Our Live Aid adventure now over but never to be forgotten and very unlikely to ever be repeated.
Regent Street at night by Steve Stachini JFK247
Mega Rock At Wembley by Steve Stachini JFK247

The icing on the cake

A few weeks had gone by, Bob was planning his artist future and preparations to try and make it big in New York and I was working in my new job at a convalescent home in Hythe (bit of a contrast), when he contacted me and told me to rush out and buy the magazine Mega-Rock.

This was the only official Live Aid publication full of photos of the stars. No editorials nor write ups of any kind, just photos and the only photos of the public within this magazine were in the center fold (at the top of this page).
Robin Nixon and Steve Stachini at Lengends - Live Aid 1985 In one of only six photos of the public, there was me and Bob leaning on the barrier outside the Legends club, drenched from the rain with our Bowie banner over our heads. Could life at that time for two sixteen year olds be any more perfect? No way...
- Love you Bob & always missing you!

Robin Nixon & Steve Stachini - In 1985 felt like Heroes - Just for one day

This page is dedicated to these two young boys who formed a bond greater than any other and stronger than even they could have imagined. Robin is a life long friend and despite the distance between us and the spasmodic contact, will always remain as the friend closest to my heart. I don't mind admitting that quite a tears were shed as I wrote this page, for the longing to return to that day, for the memories, for the lost years, for the emptiness and pain inside of missing my soul brother Robin Nixon...
Watch Live Aid 1985 now.

Thanks Helena and Tessa for talking to us... Live Aid 1985 Helena Springs and Tessa Niles by Steve Stachini JFK247
Thanks for taking the time to read one of the most treasured, memorable experiences of my life. And an extended special thanks to Tessa Niles and Helena Springs (Bowie's backing singers) for making it absolutely phenomenal.

Live Aid 1985 - Part 2

Live Aid 1985 - Part 3

Live Aid 1985 - Part 4

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