Thirty years ago today Live Aid took place. Ironically, a couple of months ago I wrote a ghost story/monologue about that mammoth concert.
This was written for the Santa Paula Ghostwalk in Santa Paula, California. It takes place on the Teague-McKevett avocado and lemon ranch. People walk around and encounter ghosts and the ghosts tell these people their stories (incorporating a little local history).
How’s that for a narrow market?
Anyway, here it is. Happy Live Aid Day!
ALL SHE WANTS IS by John Weagly
(Lights up. SIOUXSIE is on stage. She is sixteen and died in 1985. She looks like a mid-1980’s teenager trying to look like a combination of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. She addresses the audience.)
July 13, 1985. Live Aid. Dozens and dozens and dozens of rock and roll superstars. Like, the biggest concert of my generation. The defining moment of my young life!
And my sister wanted to go to McDonald’s for lunch. I couldn’t believe it. We should’ve stayed home and had something delivered! I was all like “What’s your damage!”
I was sixteen years old. It was the summer between junior and senior year at Santa Paula High. Go Cardinals! I was way into Duran Duran. My favorite song was “Rio.” Or was it “New Moon on Monday?” Or maybe their new one, “A View To A Kill.” It was so hard to choose, almost as difficult as picking who was the cutest! Simon Le Bon, Andy Taylor, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor – they were so totally rad, each and every one and I totally loved them all!
My family was in avocadoes, and every now and then, lemons. Picking. Harvesting. Packing. We lived in that bungalow right over there. My Mom also worked at the Aviation Museum. I always thought that when I got old enough, I’d like to work at the train depot. I was there when Dennis DeYoung of Styx filmed the video for his solo hit “Desert Moon.” I wasn’t in the video, but I watched them working on it. Dennis even winked at me in the crowd – it was so awesome!
Live Aid was so huge that it took place on two continents. Half of the performances were at Wembley Stadium in London and the other half took place at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. It was, like, all put together to raise money for Ethiopia. Queen. The Thompson Twins. Adam Ant. Madonna. The Hooters. REO Speedwagon. The Cars. Hall and Oates. Phil Collins at both locations! More bands and more singers and more magic! And, of course, Simon, Andy Nick, John and Roger.
This was the second Saturday of the month. Tina, my sister, got to choose where we had lunch. I chose the first Saturday, Mom chose the third, Dad chose the fourth. It was, like, this gnarly family thing my parents came up with. Whenever they asked me where I wanted to go, I was always like “Duh – Foster’s Freeze!”
ABC and MTV were showing Live Aid all day. On the way to McDonald’s I was totally wiggin’ out. I was like – “We’ve got to get home in time for Duran Duran. I’ve got to see Duran Duran.” We pulled into the parking lot and it seemed like everyone in Santa Paula was at the Golden Arches. The lines were moving soooo slow! When we finally got our food and sat down, my family ate like it was just any other day, taking their time, acting like there wasn’t a chance that I could totally miss the defining moment of my young life.
I was wolfing down my Big Mac combo. Every now and then between these enormous, grody bites I’d say, “We’ve gotta get bookin’. We have to get home in time to see Duran Duran.” Toward the end of the meal, when it looked like we were in the clear, I inhaled when I should’ve swallowed.
The defining moment of my young life.
It wasn’t a bite of a Big Mac that got me. It was the fries. Do you know how many McDonald’s French fries you have to shove in your mouth in order for them to be a hazard? I do. Pretty bogus.
Goodbye Santa Paula. Goodbye Duran Duran. Goodbye life.
That was it for me. I came back here because this was home. On cold, dark nights when the wind is just right, you might hear me softly singing “Hungry Like The Wolf” among the avocado trees.
I never saw Duran Duran’s performance at Live Aid. I hope it was awesome. I hope they totally played “Rio.”