On July 13th, 1985, i spent the entire day glued to the television set. And i mean Glued. Bathroom breaks were kept to a minimum, and i even tried to ensure i stuck with the “shake it more than once and you’re playing with it” rule – all in an effort to ensure i didn’t miss a second of the show.
The “show” of course was Live Aid, and while its main focus was to help raise funds for the starving in Africa, it also served in opening a particular door for me that, once passed through, would forever alter the man i was to become.
i had initially plunked my skinny white behind down on my folks living room floor – right in front of the TV cart – in the hopes of seeing Judas Priest, and no one else. As mentioned previously, i felt Rob was the Cat’s Meow, and the particular brand of metal that Priest played was at that very moment also “opening doors” of a different sort (fodder for a different story altogether) for the future me as well. i started watching at the beginning of the day simply because i had no idea when Priest would be on, and i simply could NOT miss them – but by the time they did hit the stage, it was too late – my transformation was already underway.
You see, while waiting to see Judas Priest (which by the way, got cut off for a commercial break by my local station – right in the flippin’ middle of “You Got Another Thing Coming”!!!!) i also got to experience bands like Ultravox and Style Council. Artists like Adam Ant and Sade. Institutions like Elvis freakin-Costello. In short, i got to see an entirely New World.
And not just that, but a New World which seemed to be filled with people just like me – people who spoke directly to me with their song. Had i been “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes”? Yes! Had i been longing to see my “Walls Come Tumbling Down”? Yes again!
Honest to Jesus, until that very day, i had no earthly idea that there were others of my kind out there. Until that day, i felt that i would have to spend my life “wedging” myself into some random subset of people while “playing along”, all in the hopes that no one would notice that i didn’t “quite fit in” anywhere. It never once dawned on me that i had actual Tribe of my own out there.
Now, i might use a standard “small town” excuse, but i’m quite sure this lack of knowledge was more out of fear than anything else. Fear of what was “out there” and fear of what was inside of me. But when the World (as brought to you by Live Aid) snuck into my life, i was finally forced to see the truth – forced to see that my fears were not only unfounded, but a little bit ridiculous as well. There were many people like me, and i didn’t need to be alone or “wedge”. i could be who i was, and i was free to start searching out more of my kind.
And so i did. And i have Live Aid to thank for that, and for all the memories and joy that resulted. And i love it still because of that.
“So, what made you think of Live Aid anyway? Wasn’t it like, 8 million years ago?”
Well, more like 30 years, actually.
C and i happened to stumble upon a partial replaying of Live Aid (hell YEAH, the Queen set!!!!!) during VH1 Classic’s homage to the 30th anniversary of MTV. We had never really spoken of it till then, but we quickly realized that this event was equally as important to both of us, and she too, had spent the entire day glued. Tribe again – and this time with a woman i’ve enjoyed marriage with for many years…
We stayed up later than we should have – glued once again – just so we could see Freddy dance across the stage with his patented brand of full blown bravado one more time. And we both were able to relive our joy, this time together instead of alone.
And now i have Live Aid to thank for that, too.