Saturday, September 30, 2023

Live Aid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain, 7-13-1985, Part 1: Status Quo, the Style Council, the Boomtown Rats, Adam Ant, and Ultravox

A couple of days ago, I finished posted the Philadelphia portion of Live Aid. Now it's time for the British portion (with all British or Irish musical acts), which took place in Wembley Stadium, London.

The basic idea was to have the concerts in Philadelphia and London happen simultaneously, with the acts in one city filling in the music-free gaps while the stage was getting prepared for the next act in the other city, and then vice versa. However, there was a five hour time zone difference. So the London concert began at noon, London time, while it was still seven A.M. in Philadelphia. The London concert ran ten hours, ending around 10 P.M., London time. However, only about five and a half hours of that contained music from London, since there was down time between sets and speeches and so on. The Philadelphia concert began at 9 A.M., Philadelphia time, and kept going until 11 P.M., Philadelphia time. However, that meant it ended at about 7 P.M., London time. So the last two hours were in London only.

Anyway, I explained the basics about Live Aid in my write-up for the first album of the Philadelphia show. Please refer to that if you want to know more about the concert in general. There's a Wikipedia link there as well. For this write-up, I'm only going to discuss the acts that played this part of the concert.

The London concert began with Status Quo. They seem to be one of the acts that wasn't liked by organizer Bob Geldof and the other insiders who decided who got to play. But they were so very popular in Britain that they were allowed to play anyway. Geldof even told the band's lead singer Frank Rossi, "It doesn't matter what the f-ck you sound like, just so long as you're there." Rossi says he replied, "Thanks for the f-ucking honesty, Bob."

The next band was the Style Council. They weren't hugely popular on their own, but it was lead singer Paul Weller's successor band to the Jam, which were more popular, and probably explains why they got a time slot.

The Irish band the Boomtown Rats came next. Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof was the lead singer, so it's no surprise they were included. Their popularity was waning at the time, and they broke up a year later.

Adam Ant was next. Ant shared the same manager as the Police, which was led by Sting, and broke up in 1983. Geldof later wrote in a book, "I thought [Ant] was a bit passe. But then so were the Boomtown Rats, and each represented a certain piece of pop history, so I agreed. I also thought that might entice him to encourage Sting, or perhaps all three of the Police." Ant was only allowed to perform one song. Ant was understandably upset when he later found out what Geldof said about him, and criticized the concert. (Geldof was successful in getting Sting to play, but the hoped for Police reunion didn't happen.)

In my opinion, this is a case in point why it was a bad idea that the decision on who to include was left to Geldof and maybe some other insiders. It was too important of an event to be left to the whims of which acts Geldof personally liked. But oh well, obviously what's done is done.

Ultravox was the final act for this part of the London concert. It's not surprising they played, since the band's lead singer was Midge Ure, and he was involved in organizing the concert along with Geldof.

I ran into many of the same problems with the London concert that I had with the Philadelphia concert. For instance, although all the music is here, sometimes the introductions were lost. Luckily, for this part of the show, I do have all of the introductions, but that's sometimes not the case for the other parts. Another problem was that the cheering at the ends of songs was sometimes cut off. So, like I did with the Philadelphia show, I patched in more cheering at times. 

This album is an hour and eight minutes long.

001 talk (Tommy Vance)
002 talk (Richard Skinner)
003 Rockin' All Over the World (Status Quo)
004 talk (Status Quo)
005 Caroline (Status Quo)
006 talk (Status Quo)
007 Don't Waste My Time (Status Quo)
008 talk (Tommy Vance)
009 You're the Best Thing (Style Council)
010 Big Boss Groove (Style Council)
011 talk (Style Council)
012 Internationalists (Style Council)
013 Walls Come Tumbling Down (Style Council)
014 talk (Tommy Vance)
015 I Don't Like Mondays (Boomtown Rats)
016 Drag Me Down (Boomtown Rats)
017 Rat Trap (Boomtown Rats)
018 talk (Harvey Goldsmith)
019 Vive le Rock (Adam Ant)
020 Reap the Wild Wind (Ultravox)
021 Dancing with Tears in My Eyes (Ultravox)
022 One Small Day (Ultravox)
023 Vienna (Ultravox)

I kept the same cover art format as for the Philadelphia show, except I replaced "Philadelphia" at the top with "London." I also kept the same format of using four small photos of the acts instead of one big one. In this case, that's Frank Rossi, lead singer of Status Quo, at the top left, Paul Weller, lead singer of the Style Council, at the top right, Bob Geldof, lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, at the bottom left, and Midge Ure, lead singer of Ultravox, at the bottom right. I didn't have room for a fifth act, so Adam Ant got the cut, since he only performed one song.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Another Album Deleted

A couple of months ago, I had some trouble when four albums I'd posted all got deleted around the same time. Since then, I haven't had any more troubles. That is, until today. A Nina Simone live album I'd posted a couple of weeks ago was taken down. I hold you downloaded it while you still could. I was going to post more of her music eventually, but I guess I won't be doing that now.

Live Aid - JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, 7-13-1985, Part 7: Hall & Oates with Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin, Mick Jagger & Tina Turner, and Bob Dylan with Keith Richards & Ronnie Wood

I was hoping to post this at the same time as the others, but I got too busy. Anyway, this is the final part of the Philadelphia portion of Live Aid. The London portion will soon follow.

The biggest acts were saved for the end of the concert. First up was Hall and Oates, who were probably at the peak of their popularity in 1985. But more than half of their set was dominated by their guests, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, both former lead singers for the Temptations. (The actual Temptations were still in existence and even had a big comeback hit in 1985 with "Treat Her like a Lady," so I wonder if they were passed over in favor of Ruffin and Kendricks.) Either Ruffin or Kendricks sang lead vocals on the last four songs, which were all Temptations classics from the 1960s. Note that Hall and Oates had started touring with Ruffin and Kendricks earlier in the year, and put out a live album with them later in the year.

Next up was Mick Jagger, lead vocalist for the Rolling Stones. In my opinion, he was clearly a substitute for having all of the Rolling Stones play. But around this time the Rolling Stones were having a rough patch, and almost broke up. Apparently, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, the guitarists for the Stones, didn't want to miss out on Live Aid entirely. So they backed Bob Dylan instead. It's telling how badly the Rolling Stones must have been getting on with each other that they didn't even make a guest appearance for Jagger's set, but played on the one immediately after instead.

Jagger had just put out his first proper solo album earlier in the year, "She's the Boss." It's unfortunate in my opinion that he performed a couple of songs from that during his set, "Lonely at the Top" and "Just Another Night." They're decent songs, but they don't seem worthy of the second to last act for the US version of Live Aid. At least he did play one Rolling Stone classic, "Miss You." Then he was joined by soul singer Tina Turner. They did "State of Shock," which is a song Jagger had done the year before with Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jacksons. Then they did another Stones classic, "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)." Jagger rarely dueted with Turner, and I think these two songs by them may have been unique to this concert.

The last act was Bob Dylan. I'm glad they gave him the respect he deserved by giving him the most prestigious time slot, even though I'm sure his 1980s record sales were smaller than many of the acts that went on before him. It's interesting that the first two of the three songs he played were lesser known ones from his deep discography. But both obviously were selected with the Live Aid theme of helping the Ethiopian famine in mind. The first song, "The Ballad of Hollis Brown," was especially apt, as it told of a 1930s Midwest farmer that face crop failure and disaster. He finished with a crowd pleaser and all time classic, "Blowin' in the Wind." Unfortunately, while Dylan performed well, Richards and Wood didn't add much, mostly just strumming their guitars, probably with little to no practice beforehand.

Dylan caused some controversy, due to a comment he made between songs. He said: "I hope that some of the money... maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe... one or two million, maybe ... and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks." 

This pissed off organizer Bob Geldof, who later said: "He displayed a complete lack of understanding of the issues raised by Live Aid. ... Live Aid was about people losing their lives. There is a radical difference between losing your livelihood and losing your life. It did instigate Farm Aid, which was a good thing in itself, but it was a crass, stupid, and nationalistic thing to say." 

However, as Geldof points out, Dylan's comment did inspire the Farm Aid concert, which took place later that year and directly benefited US farmers. Furthermore, Farm Aid has become a yearly concert that continues to this day (as I write this in 2023). Over time, all those Farm Aid concerts have raised way more money for charity than Live Aid ever did. So if Dylan's comment helped cause all that, then I say kudos to Dylan. 

After that, there was a big finale with all the stars on stage, like these kinds of shows usually end. And naturally, the song they sang was "We Are the World," the charity single from earlier in the year that helped inspire the concert in the first place. There were some problems with the microphones, so some of the lead vocals weren't heard early in the song. On the DVD release, this was fixed by patching in some vocals from the "We Are the World" single. But I've kept to the untampered version. I don't think it sounds bad, and the patched in vocals prominently featured some people (Kenny Rogers and James Ingram) who weren't actually at the concert.

This album is an hour and six minutes long.

149 talk (Bill Graham)
150 talk (Dionne Warwick)
151 Out of Touch (Hall & Oates)
152 talk (Hall & Oates)
153 Maneater (Hall & Oates)
154 talk (Hall & Oates)
155 Get Ready (Hall & Oates & Eddie Kendricks)
156 Ain't Too Proud to Beg (Hall & Oates, Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin)
157 The Way You Do the Things You Do (Hall & Oates, Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin)
158 My Girl (Hall & Oates, Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin)
159 talk (Bette Midler)
160 Lonely at the Top (Mick Jagger)
161 talk (Mick Jagger)
162 Just Another Night (Mick Jagger)
163 talk (Mick Jagger)
164 Miss You (Mick Jagger)
165 talk (Mick Jagger)
166 State of Shock (Mick Jagger & Tina Turner)
167 It's Only Rock 'n Roll [But I Like It] (Mick Jagger & Tina Turner)
168 talk (Bill Graham)
169 talk (Jack Nicholson)
170 talk (Bob Dylan)
171 The Ballad of Hollis Brown (Bob Dylan with Keith Richards & Ronnie Wood)
172 talk (Bob Dylan)
173 When the Ships Comes In (Bob Dylan with Keith Richards & Ronnie Wood)
174 talk (Bob Dylan)
175 Blowin' in the Wind (Bob Dylan with Keith Richards & Ronnie Wood)
176 We Are the World (USA for Africa)

As with most of the albums in this series, I have four pictures from the concert making up the cover. On the top left is Hall and Oates with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, on the top right is Tina Turner and Mick Jagger, on the bottom left is Ronnie Wood, Bob Dylan, and Keith Richard, and on the bottom right is a portion of the large group of people on stage for the finale. If you look closely, you can see Lionel Richie and Dionne Warwick, both of whom were not given their own sets earlier in the concert.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Live Aid - JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, 7-13-1985, Part 6: Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Duran Duran, and Patti LaBelle

This is Part 6 of the Philadelphia portion of the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert. This one is notable for including a couple of big reunions. There's just one part to go after this. But then the London portion of Live Aid will follow.

Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980 when their drummer John Bonham died. They reunited for the first time for Live Aid. To fill Bonham's spot on drums, they used two drummers: Phil Collins and Tony Thompson (who was drummer for Chic, and then the Power Station). The set was considered something of a fiasco. Here's what the Wikipedia entry on Live Aid has to say about it:

"The performance was criticized for Plant's hoarse vocals, Jimmy Page's intoxication and out-of-tune guitar, a lack of rehearsal, and poorly functioning monitors. Plant described the performance as 'a f-cking atrocity for us ... It made us look like loonies.' Page later criticized Collins' performance, saying: "Robert told me Phil Collins wanted to play with us. I told him that was all right if he knows the numbers. But at the end of the day, he didn't know anything. We played "Whole Lotta Love," and he was just there bashing away cluelessly and grinning. I thought that was really a joke.' Collins responded: 'It wasn't my fault it was crap... If I could have walked off, I would have. But then we'd all be talking about why Phil Collins walked off Live Aid – so I just stuck it out... I turned up and I was a square peg in a round hole. Robert was happy to see me, but Jimmy wasn't.'"

Although there never has been any official album of Live Aid, a four DVD collection of video footage from the concert was released in 2004. Led Zeppelin was so upset at their performance that they didn't allow any of it to be used for the DVD. And they've avoided putting any of it on their own releases.

Personally, I don't think it's THAT bad. Yeah, it was a subpar performance, and the drumming didn't help, but I watched it live as a kid and I was very excited that Led Zeppelin reunited at all. They would reunite for another short set in 1988, which they also were disappointed with. Then they did a full show in 2007, which went well and eventually was released as an official live album.

The Led Zeppelin reunion was followed by a reunion of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY). Crosby, Stills and Nash did a set earlier in the show, then Neil Young had done a set. Their reunion set only lasted two songs, but it was better than nothing. The last time CSNY appeared on stage together was back in 1974. Young drifted away from the others mainly due to the serious drug addiction of David Crosby, which got really bad in the early 1980s when he became addicted to crack. At the time of Live Aid, Crosby was still in a bad way. I remember watching the reunion and being disturbed by how awful he looked. However, I suppose Young allowed the reunion because Live Aid was such a big deal.

It turned out 1985 was the lowest point for Crosby. He was arrested twice that year for drug and gun charges. He ended up serving nine months in prison later in 1985 going into 1986. During that prison time, he was able to quit drugs, and turned his life around. That led to another CSNY reunion in 1986, two shows in 1987, and then a new CSNY studio album in 1988, with lots more collaboration after that.

Duran Duran was super popular in 1985, explaining why they were billed even after big reunions by Led Zeppelin and CSNY. It would turn out to be the final time the five original band members would publicly perform together until 2003. Musically, the most notable thing about their set was a really bad note sung by lead singer Simon Le Bon during the song "A View to a Kill." This was dubbed "The Bum Note Heard Round the World" by various media outlets. Le Bon later said it was the most embarrassing moment of his career.

Personally, I don't think it was so terrible. It was only one note that lasted a second or two. But to spare you from having to hear it, I've done an edit to remove it. Since it took place during a chorus, I patched in a bit from a different chorus in the song, so it sounds fine now. That's why that song has "[Edit]" in the title.

The last act in this part of the song was soul singer Patti LaBelle. I must say I'm mystified why LaBelle got such a long set time - one of the longest of the whole concert - and why her set time was so prominent, late in the show. She sang lead vocals on "Lady Marmalade," which was a Number One hit in the US by the band LaBelle back in 1974. But she didn't even sing that song for Live Aid. Her solo career had only moderate success up until this point, with one gold album. (She would have a big hit record in 1986, but that was still a year into the future.) It's doubly strange when you consider all the musicians who weren't even allowed to perform at Live Aid because they weren't popular enough. For instance, soul singer Dionne Warwick, who sold way more records that LaBelle ever did, and had big hits in the early 1980s, was only allowed to introduce an act later in the show (Hall and Oates), and not sing at all.

But it is what it is. If I could wave a magic wand and change Live Aid, I think I could have made a lot of changes to make it an even better concert, especially including more famous musical acts who were willing and even eager to play, but this is what we have. LaBelle certainly did a fine performance. It's just strange that she got to play six songs when other acts much more famous than her only were allowed two or three.

This album is an hour and 12 minutes long.

120 talk (Phil Collins)
121 talk (Led Zeppelin)
122 Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin)
123 talk (Led Zeppelin)
124 Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
125 talk (Led Zeppelin)
126 Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
127 talk (Bill Graham)
128 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
129 Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
130 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
131 Daylight Again - Find the Cost of Freedom (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
132 talk (Chevy Chase)
133 A View to a Kill [Edit] (Duran Duran)
134 talk (Duran Duran)
135 Union of the Snake (Duran Duran)
136 talk (Duran Duran)
137 Save a Prayer (Duran Duran)
138 talk (Duran Duran)
139 The Reflex (Duran Duran)
140 talk (Duran Duran)
141 talk (Bette Midler)
142 New Attitude (Patti LaBelle)
143 Imagine (Patti LaBelle)
144 Forever Young (Patti LaBelle)
145 Stir It Up (Patti LaBelle)
146 Over the Rainbow (Patti LaBelle)
147 Why Can't I Get It Over (Patti LaBelle)
148 talk (Bill Graham)

As with most album covers in this series, I've made room for four pictures, all of them taken at this concert. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin are on the top left, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are on the top right, three members of Duran Duran can be seen on the bottom left, and Patti LaBelle is on the bottom right.

Live Aid - JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, 7-13-1985, Part 5: Neil Young, the Power Station, the Thompson Twins, Eric Clapton, and Phil Collins

This is the fifth part of the Philadelphia portion of the 1985 Live Aid concert. Two more Philadelphia parts will follow.

First up in this part was Neil Young. As I mentioned previously, he would later play a set as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but first he did this solo set. He did the first couple of songs truly solo, with just his acoustic guitar, but he was in full electric band mode by the last song.

The Power Station was a side band by some members of Duran Duran, with Robert Palmer as the singer. In addition to this set, Duran Duran had their own set later in the concert.

There's not much to say about the Thompson Twins set, except that it's worth noting Madonna joined them on backing vocals on one song, while they also helped with backing vocals on one of the songs in Madonna's set.

Eric Clapton was up next. I watched Live Aid as a kid, and I remember being excited that he played "White Room," which he originally did as part of Cream in the 1960s. He almost never played the song as a solo artist until earlier in 1985.

The final artist on this album was Phil Collins. He played a set early in the Live Aid concert in London, then rushed to a helicopter, flew a Concorde to the U.S., then took another helicopter to the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, where he played this set. That made him the only person to play both Live Aid shows. He was a busy guy, because he also played drums for Eric Clapton in the set before this one, then later played drums as part of the Led Zeppelin reunion. Unfortunately though, the two songs he played in his solo set in Philadelphia were the same ones he played in London. Apparently this was because he played alone on piano, and those were the only two songs he knew in that format.

Once again, I was able to find some introductions, and only missed the intro for Neil Young this time. Actor Don Johnson introduced the Power Station. Actress and singer Bette Midler introduced the Thoimpson Twins. Music promoter Bill Graham introduced Eric Clapton. Actor Jack Nicholson assisted Midler in introducing Phil Collins.

This album is an hour and eleven minutes long.

097 Sugar Mountain (Neil Young)
098 The Needle and the Damage Done (Neil Young)
099 Helpless (Neil Young)
100 Nothing Is Perfect (Neil Young)
101 Powderfinger (Neil Young)
102 talk (Bill Graham)
103 talk (Don Johnson)
104 Murderess (Power Station)
105 talk (Power Station)
106 Get It On [Bang a Gong] (Power Station)
107 talk (Bill Graham)
108 talk (Bette Midler)
109 Hold Me Now (Thompson Twins)
110 talk (Thompson Twins)
111 Revolution (Thompson Twins with Madonna, Steve Stevens & Nile Rodgers)
112 talk (Bill Graham)
113 White Room (Eric Clapton)
114 She's Waiting (Eric Clapton)
115 Layla (Eric Clapton)
116 talk (Jack Nicholson & Bette Midler)
117 Against All Odds [Take a Look at Me Now] (Phil Collins)
118 talk (Phil Collins)
119 In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins)

As with most of the other parts in this series, I divided the cover art into four photos taken at the concert. Neil Young is on the top left, the Thompson Twins are on the top right, Eric Clapton is on the bottom left, and Phil Collins is on the bottom right.

Live Aid - JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, 7-13-1985, Part 4: Ashford & Simpson with Teddy Pendergrass, Madonna, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Kenny Loggins, and the Cars

This is Part 3 of the Philadelphia portion of the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert. There are seven parts in total for Philadelphia, so I'm not more than halfway finished. The London portion will follow.

The first act up in this part was the soul duo Ashford and Simpson. For their second and final song, they were joined on stage by soul singer Teddy Pendergrass. This was a very emotionally moving moment for the concert. Pendergrass was injured in a car accident in 1982, and permanently paralyzed from the waist down. His musical career was put on hold for a while. He was still able to sing though, and he put out an album of new material in 1984. But this appearance in Live Aid was his first time on a public stage since the accident.

 Madonna was the next act. She was a very big deal, and a cultural phenomenon, at this time, after becoming a superstar in 1984. The same month of this concert, Playboy and Penthouse magazines published nude photos of Madonna, taken when she moonlighted as an art model in 1978. As a result, she made a jokey comment between songs about how she was going to keep all her clothes on.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came next. They were followed by Kenny Loggins. But he only got to play one song. The last act on this album were the Cars.

As with the other albums in this series, sometimes I was able to include introductions to the acts, and sometimes I couldn't. Madonna was introduced by actress and singer Bette Midler, and Tom Petty was introduced by Don Johnson.

This album is an hour and 11 minutes long.

075 Solid [Edit] (Ashford & Simpson)
076 Reach Out and Touch [Somebody's Hand] (Ashford & Simpson with Teddy Pendergrass)
077 talk (Bette Midler)
078 Holiday (Madonna)
079 Into the Groove (Madonna)
080 talk (Madonna)
081 Love Makes the World Go Round (Madonna)
082 talk (Don Johnson)
083 American Girl (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
084 talk (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
085 The Waiting (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
086 Rebels (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
087 talk (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
088 Refugee (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
089 Footloose (Kenny Loggins)
090 talk (Bill Graham)
091 You Might Think (Cars)
092 Drive (Cars)
093 talk (Cars)
094 Just What I Needed (Cars)
095 Heartbeat City (Cars)
096 talk (Cars)

 There actually were five musical acts in this part, but I only had room for photos taken from the concert of four. The one that got left out is Kenny Loggins, since he only performed one song. Ashford and Simpson, with guest Teddy Pendergrass, is in the top left, Madonna is in the top right, Tom Petty is in the bottom left, and Ric Ocasek of the Cars is in the bottom right.

Live Aid - JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, 7-13-1985, Part 3: George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Simple Minds, the Pretenders, & Santana with Pat Metheny

This is Part 3 of the Philadelphia portion of the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert. As I've explained elsewhere, I'm posting the London portion separately after I finish with Philadelphia.

In retrospect, I'm disappointed about all the musical acts that didn't get to play Live Aid, given how many were very eager to do so. But at least some more got represented by guesting for some of the acts. For instance, George Thorogood had Bo Diddley guest for one song in his set, and Albert Collins guested for another song. I'm sure neither of those acts would have been considered popular enough to appear otherwise.

There was a big problem with the Simple Minds set. Everything was fine until the last song, "Promised You a Miracle." Halfway through the song, the video cut out completely. Apparently, it couldn't be recovered, since none of the concert was professionally recorded (because some acts worried they would be pushed into taking part in an official album eventually). So when the video feed was cut (along with an audio feed for radio stations), all the music was lost, apparently permanently. However, I did my best to fix this problem. I found a live version of the song from 1986 with similar sound quality, and used that to finish it off. That's why that one song has "[Edit]" in the title.

Actually, I could have put "[Edit]" in the titles of many other songs, for this part and the others. In addition to fixing the mixes for all the songs using UVR5, I patched in missing chunks of applause for many of the songs. But I only saved mentioning "[Edit]" in more drastic cases.

Anyway, there's not much to say about the Pretenders set. Although I am surprised that there was no collaboration between Jim Kerr, lead singer of Simple Minds, and Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders, considering the sets of their bands played back to back and the two lead singers got married in 1984. (They would divorce in 1990.)

The last act on this album was Santana. I find it rather odd that they generally played recent album cuts instead of classic hits, but oh well. Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny guested on the last two songs.

This album is an hour and ten minutes long.

054 Who Do You Love (George Thorogood & the Destroyers with Bo Diddley)
055 talk (George Thorogood & the Destroyers)
056 The Sky Is Crying (George Thorogood & the Destroyers)
057 Madison Blues (George Thorogood & the Destroyers with Albert Collins)
058 talk (Joe Piscopo)
059 Ghost Dancing (Simple Minds)
060 talk (Simple Minds)
061 Don't You [Forget about Me] (Simple Minds)
062 Promised You a Miracle [Edit] (Simple Minds)
063 Time, the Avenger (Pretenders)
064 Message of Love (Pretenders)
065 Stop Your Sobbing (Pretenders)
066 Back on the Chain Gang (Pretenders)
067 Middle of the Road (Pretenders)
068 talk (Bill Graham)
069 Brotherhood (Santana)
070 Primera Invasion [Instrumental] (Santana)
071 Open Invitation (Santana)
072 talk (Santana)
073 By the Pool [Instrumental] (Santana with Pat Metheny)
074 Right Now (Santana with Pat Metheny)

As with Part 2, I've divided the cover art so I could post four photos, all from Live Aid. That's George Thorogood on the top left, Jim Kerr of Simple Minds on the top right, Chrisse Hynde of the Pretenders on the bottom left, and Carlos Santana of Santana on the bottom right.

Live Aid - JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, 7-13-1985, Part 2: Crosby, Stills and Nash, Judas Priest, Bryan Adams & The Beach Boys

Here's Part 2 of the Philadelphia portion of the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert. With this part, we generally get to bigger name acts than those in Part 1.

Later on in Live Aid, Crosby, Stills and Nash would reunite with Neil Young for a short Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young set. But first, they did a set just as Crosby, Stills and Nash. 

Next up was the heavy metal band Judas Priest. (I'll bet that was the only time CSN was followed on stage by a heavy metal band!) They were followed by Bryan Adams, then by the Beach Boys. Note that Brian Wilson, the genius who wrote most of the Beach Boys' hits, only occasionally played live with the band. But he did play Live Aid, since it was such a big occasion.

As with all the parts, I had to do a lot of work to get the recording to sound its best, including remixing the balance between vocals and the instruments for all the songs using UVR5. Also, sometimes I was able to find introductions to the musical acts, and sometimes I wasn't. As I explained previously, Live Aid wasn't professionally recorded, so sometimes when DJs talked over the introductions, they were lost. Sometimes, celebrities made the introductions. For this part, actor Jack Nicholson introduced Bryan Adams and Marilyn McCoo of the band the Fifth Dimension introduced the Beach Boys.

This album is an hour and seven minutes long.

027 Southern Cross (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
028 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
029 Teach Your Children (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
030 Suite- Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
031 Livin' After Midnight (Judas Priest)
032 talk (Judas Priest)
033 The Green Manalishi [With the Two-Pronged Crown] (Judas Priest)
034 talk (Judas Priest)
035 You've Got Another Thing Comin' (Judas Priest)
036 talk (Jack Nicholson)
037 Kids Wanna Rock (Bryan Adams)
038 talk (Bryan Adams)
039 Summer of 69 (Bryan Adams)
040 talk (Bryan Adams)
041 Tears Are Not Enough (Bryan Adams)
042 talk (Bryan Adams)
043 Cuts like a Knife (Bryan Adams)
044 talk (Bryan Adams)
045 talk (Marilyn McCoo)
046 California Girls (Beach Boys)
047 Help Me, Rhonda (Beach Boys)
048 Wouldn't It Be Nice (Beach Boys)
049 talk (Beach Boys)
050 Good Vibrations (Beach Boys)
051 talk (Beach Boys)
052 Surfin' U.S.A. (Beach Boys)
053 talk (Bill Graham)

For the cover, I generally noticed there are four big acts per album, so from here on in I'm dividing each cover into four parts so I can show all of them. All the photos are from Live Aid. Crosby, Stills and Nash are in the top left, Rob Halford of Judas Priest in the top right, Bryan Adams in the lower left, and Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys in the lower right.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Live Aid - JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, 7-13-1985, Part 1: Joan Baez, The Hooters, The Four Tops, Black Sabbath, Run DMC, Rick Springfield, REO Speedwagon

Sorry I haven't posted in over a week. It's not because I haven't been working on musical stuff. As part of my recent effort to post some big rock festivals, I decided to tackle one of the biggest and most famous of them all: Live Aid, from 1985. 

Live Aid actually was two concerts: one in London, England, and the other in Philadelphia, U.S.A. Generally speaking, one act would play on stage in, say, London and their performance would be broadcast live to the audience in Philadelphia. When that act finished their set, the next act in Philadelphia would play, and their performance would be broadcast live to the audience in London. In this way, both audiences were entertained by music nearly continuously, without the usual long waits between acts. And for the worldwide audience watching through TV, they also got a nearly continuous stream of music.

Even though that was the case, it basically was two different concerts (on different continents, even), and it works out better for me to present the Philadelphia concert all together, and then present the London concert all together. So here's the first of seven albums that makes up the Philadelphia portion of Live Aid.

I don't want to go into a big, long explanation about Live Aid. I hope most of you know the basics. If not, here's the Wikipedia article about it:

Live Aid - Wikipedia

In short, a massive famine in Ethiopia was big news in 1984 and 1985. Bob Geldof, lead singer for the Irish band the Boomtown Rats, helped bring together a bunch of mostly British music stars for a charity single in late 1984 called "Do They Know It's Christmas." It was a huge hit in late 1984, and all the profits went to charity aimed at bringing food to the famine victims. Then mostly US music stars got together for a similar charity single, "We Are the World." Released in early 1985, it became one of the best selling singles of all time. This then led to the suggestion to put on a benefit concert for the same cause. Geldof again was the main one to put it together, along with Midge Ure of the British band Ultravox. The concert was a huge success in terms of the musical acts involved and the audience. Nearly two billion people watched, in 150 countries, representing about 40 percent of the world's population.

The concert's actual impact on the famine is more debated. About $40 to $50 million was immediately raised, and about $150 by the time the final counting was done. That seems like an impressive amount to me. However, there are questions about how the money was spent. At the time, Ethiopia was ruled by a dictator, Mengitsu Haile Mariam, and it is alleged that he used the food and supplies raised by Live Aid to help regions that supported him, while denying the regions that were against him. The evidence suggests this happened. Huey Lewis and the News didn't perform for fear that the money was misspent, and it seems they had a point.

However, in a bigger sense, I think the concert was a success in accomplishing its goal. Although the actual money raised was misused, the concert also raised awareness worldwide. As a result, many governments that had been ignoring the problem were pushed into taking action. The actions and money spent by these government was far larger than what was directly raised by Live Aid. And while some of this support was also misused by the Ethiopian government, there was so much of it that it was enough to stop the famine later that year. Furthermore, I would argue the concert had a cultural impact worldwide that went beyond that single crisis. It raised hope that people could make a difference through activism, even when governments weren't doing much. Also, there had been some benefit concerts prior to Live Aid, but it gave a renewed push to those sorts of efforts, arguably for decades thereafter.

Anyway, that's my relatively short summary. (I'm a verbose guy!) Now, let's get to the music on this album. The Philadelphia concert began at 9 A.M. local time. It would go on until 11 P.M. That's 14 hours. However, there were only about eight hours of actual music, due to time between sets (usually filled by video footage from London) and speeches and such. 

Generally speaking, the less famous acts went early, and the acts got more famous as the day went on. The acts here definitely are a disparate bunch. For instance, I think it's safe to say this was the one and only time folk singer Joan Baez was on the same bill as the heavy metal band Black Sabbath! 

Actually, that brings up the tricky issue of just who got to play Live Aid and who didn't. This is a very interesting article, listing many big acts that didn't play Live Aid, and why:

Live Aid: 30 huge artists who didn't perform and why - Gold (

In short, there was a lot of favoritism and music politics that went into it. Generally, one either had to be super famous, or deemed cool by Bob Geldof, Midge Uge, Bill Graham, and other key decision makers behind the scenes. An interesting case in point is the Hooters. They were a Philadelphia band, but they weren't very well known at the time. Geldof didn't want to include them, asking "Who the f-ck are the Hooters?" But promoter Bill Graham wanted them, and there was additional pressure from a record company and a local promoter, so they were included. They had just released an album that was starting to break them, but the exposure they got at Live Aid was a huge boost. 

Another controversy was the relative lack of Black performers. For instance, Stevie Wonder didn't take part because he felt there weren't enough other Black acts on the bill. Given all that, it seems curious to me that the Four Tops did play, when many other Black acts that were more popular at the time did not. 

The performance of Black Sabbath was particularly notable because it was a reunion of the original band. Most crucially, Ozzy Osborne was the lead singer. This was his first show with the band since he'd left in 1985. After the concert, Osborne left again. He wouldn't fully rejoin the band until 1997.

Personally, as great as Live Aid was, I get pissed when I think about all the great acts that wanted to play but weren't deemed popular or cool enough, yet the likes of Rick Springfield and REO Speedwagon were allowed to play. For instance, Springfield is basically known for one really big hit, "Jessie's Girl," which he didn't even play at Live Aid. The Kinks, Foreigner, and Yes were just some of the acts that were rejected - all of them had hits in the early 1980s.

Anyway, it is what it is. On a different note, it took me a long time to put these albums together because every single song from the Philadelphia show needed work. (Luckily, the London show was better.) In my opinion, the lead vocals were low across the board, so I had to fix every song using the audio editing program UVR5. On top of that, there was a lot of trouble with the starts and ends of songs. Sometimes, DJs were talking over whatever was happening on stage, so introductions were missed, and sometimes even the starts of songs were missed. Similarly, the applause after the songs were often cut short for more DJ talking. The concert deliberately was not professionally recorded other than what was broadcast, because some artists wanted to be sure their music wouldn't make it onto any live album. As a result, the lost bits generally stayed lost. That means I have the introductions for some acts, but not for others. When it comes to the applause though, I usually was able to patch in some generic applause from elsewhere in the concert to make the missing bits less obvious.

This album is an hour and 14 minutes long.

001 talk (Jack Nicholson)
002 talk (Joan Baez)
003 Amazing Grace (Joan Baez)
004 We Are the World (Joan Baez)
005 talk (Chevy Chase & Joe Piscopo)
006 And We Danced (Hooters)
007 All You Zombies (Hooters)
008 talk (Hooters)
009 Shake Me, Wake Me [When It's Over] (Four Tops)
010 Bernadette (Four Tops)
011 It's the Same Old Song (Four Tops)
012 Reach Out, I'll Be There (Four Tops)
013 I Can't Help Myself [Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch] (Four Tops)
014 talk (Chevy Chase)
015 Children of the Grave (Black Sabbath)
016 Iron Man (Black Sabbath)
017 talk (Black Sabbath)
018 Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
019 King of Rock (Run-DMC)
020 talk (Joe Piscopo)
021 Love Somebody (Rick Springfield)
022 State of the Heart (Rick Springfield)
023 Human Touch (Rick Springfield)
024 talk (Chevy Chase)
025 Can't Fight This Feeling (REO Speedwagon)
026 Roll with the Changes (REO Speedwagon)

The cover photo is of the crowd in the Philadelphia concert. For the other Live Aid albums, I'm going with photos of famous acts. But I wanted one of the crowd, and this album doesn't have any super famous acts.

Oh, and as for the lettering at the top, I used the same font as on all the Live Aid promotional material. But I rotated the logo of Africa turning into a guitar neck 90 degrees so it would better fit the limited space.

Friday, September 15, 2023

The Beatles - The Beatles Uncovered, Volume 3 (1967-1989) (A MIKE SOLOF GUEST POST)

It's time for another Mike Solof guest post. Before I hand over the reins to him, so to speak, note that if you're enjoying his Beatles mixes, he's been posting more of that at the "Albums I Wish Existed" website, which you can find here:

Also, in addition to Mike's below write-up, read the PDF file included in the download for explanations behind each song.


Hey Kids,

It’s Mike here, back for Round 3 of some of my coolest remixes of Beatle tracks culled from over 300 shows I produced for a now defunct Internet station called Beatles-a-rama.

The thing always found most fun (and still do) in working with Beatles tracks, is using the most modern equipment out there to rip the commercially released tracks apart… and then finding out what is hiding in the cracks and crevices of the music. The stuff buried beneath. The stuff you never usually get a chance to hear. Until now!

That’s what this collection is all about.

I’m hoping that the hour of music in volume three will allow you to appreciate the greatest band in the world in a whole new way. There’s a lot more where this came from…


01 I'm Losing You [Mike's Mix] (John Lennon)
02 Cloud Nine [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)
03 Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him [Mike's Mix] (John Lennon)
04 Martha My Dear [No Strings or Brass] (Beatles)
05 In My Car [Mike's Mix] (Ringo Starr)
06 Cheer Down [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)
07 Cleanup Time [Mike's Mix] (John Lennon)
08 Picture Show Life [Mike's Mix] (Ringo Starr)
09 Baby's Request [Mike's Mix] (Paul McCartney)
10 [Just Like] Starting Over [12' Promo] [Mike's Mix] (John Lennon)
11 Got My Mind Set on You [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)
12 Lovely Rita [Mike's Mix] (Beatles)
13 Oh My Love [Acoustic Instrumental Version] [Mike's Mix] (John Lennon)
14 Photograph [Mike's Mix] (Ringo Starr)
15 Just for Today [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)
16 Three Legs [Instrumental Version] [Mike's Mix] (Paul McCartney)
17 That's What It Takes [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)

The cover is another imagining of what the Beatles would look like if all four of them were alive today. Ask Mike where he finds these things, 'cos I don't know.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

A Conspiracy of Hope, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 6-15-1986, Part 5 - Joni Mitchell, U2, & the Police

Finally, this is the last of five parts of the last concert from the 1986 "A Conspiracy of Hope" tour. The biggest name artists were saved for last.

Originally, Pete Townshend of the Who had been announced as one of the final acts for this concert. He hadn't played any of the other dates on the short tour. However, I saw the first one, in San Francisco, and I recall that a video of him performing "Won't Get Fooled Again" in solo acoustic mode was shown to the audience, to great applause. Unfortunately, he had to cancel at the last minute because his father, Cliff Townshend, became gravely ill (and in fact died later that month).

Townshend was replaced by Joni Mitchell. Although she'd had much critical and commercial success in the 1960s and 70s, the 1980s hadn't been good for her. Her talent was still undeniable, but her attempts to modernize her sound with synths and drum machines didn't work at all, and her sales plummeted. For this concert, she only played three songs, and she played them in solo acoustic style. Unfortunately, she avoided playing her classics and instead chose three musically complicated songs that very few people in the audience was familiar with. This did not go over well at all. She was booed and even pelted with objects. Rolling Stone Magazine at the time even called it the worst concert performance of the year.

However, in retrospect, there's nothing at all bad about her performance. In fact, these versions of her recent songs "The Three Great Stimulants" (from her 1985 album "Dog Eat Dog") and "Number One" (then unreleased, from her 1988 album "Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm") are drastically different from the album versions, and sound way better in solo acoustic format, in my opinion. It's just unfortunate that she didn't pander to the crowd's desire for better known songs. Plus, she only played three songs that lasted 15 minutes.

U2 hadn't done much musically since their 1984 album "The Unforgettable Fire." Their blockbuster album "The Joshua Tree" wouldn't be released until a year after this concert. However, their reputation had continued to steadily rise anyway. For instance, their performance in the 1985 Live Aid concert was widely considered one of the highlights. For this concert, they played a surprising number of covers, doing "Maggie's Farm" by Bob Dylan, "Cold Turkey" by John Lennon, "Help!" by the Beatles, and then finishing with "Sun City," helped by Little Steven (who wrote it), Lou Reed, Ruben Blades and Nona Hendrix. Their set was 28 minutes long.

But without a doubt, the most anticipated act of the whole concert was the Police. The Police were one of the biggest musical acts of the early 1980s, but they broke up in 1983, at the peak of their success. They attempted a reunion in 1986, but it didn't go far. Sting played the first three concerts on this tour as a solo act. Then, for the last three, including this one, he reunited with the Police instead. This particular concert would be the last time the Police performed together until 2003, when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (They would have a reunion tour a few years after that.) One month after these concerts, they tried to record another album in the studio, but they couldn't get along. All they managed was a revised version of their hit "Don't Stand So Close to Me." Their set was 31 minutes long.

The Police were joined by Bono, lead singer of U2, for their last song, "Invisible Sun." When the song ended, they handed over their instruments to U2 for the finale, a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released," with everyone singing on stage. Bono put a lot of symbolic importance into the handing over of instruments, since the Police were considered the biggest band in the world at the time, and U2 would be considered the biggest band after their "Joshua Tree" album was released. Bono later said, "It was a very big moment, like passing a torch."

This album is an hour and 22 minutes long.

088 The Three Great Stimulants (Joni Mitchell)
089 Number One (Joni Mitchell)
090 Hejira (Joni Mitchell)
091 MLK - Pride [In the Name of Love] (U2)
092 Bad (U2)
093 Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2)
094 Maggie's Farm - Cold Turkey (U2)
095 Help (U2)
096 Sun City (U2 with Little Steven, Lou Reed, Ruben Blades & Nona Hendrix)
097 Message in a Bottle (Police)
098 King of Pain (Police)
099 Driven to Tears (Police)
100 Every Breath You Take (Police)
101 Roxanne (Police)
102 Invisible Sun (Police with Bono)
103 I Shall Be Released (Everyone)

The cover photo, of Bono and Sting singing "Invisible Sun" together, comes from this exact concert.

A Conspiracy of Hope, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 6-15-1986, Part 4 - Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, & Bryan Adams

This is the fourth out of five albums of the last 1986 "Conspiracy of Hope" concert, near New York City. For a description of the concert in general, check out the write-up for the first volume.

All the musical artists on the first three volumes for this concert were reasonably famous, but this is when the really big names started to be featured. The whole concert was broadcast on MTV, but only this part until the end was also broadcast on network TV.

Since these acts are better known, I hopefully don't have to say much about them. Lou Reed was famous for being in the Velvet Underground and his 1972 hit "Walk on the Wild Side," but he also had more commercial success in the 1980s, including having a minor hit in 1984 with "I Love You Suzanne." His set is 28 minutes long.

British singer Peter Gabriel had lots of success in the 1970s and 80s as a member of Genesis then a solo artist, but he arguably reached his peak of popularity in 1986, right around the time of this concert. That year, he put out the album "So," which sold five million copies in the U.S. alone. His song "Sledgehammer" even hit Number One in the U.S. His set is 38 minutes long.

Canadian singer Bryan Adams had gradually built his fame in the 1980s. By 1986, he had become a big star, thanks to the recent hits "Run to You," "Heaven," and "Summer of '69." He would go on to even bigger fame and fortune with his 1991 mega-hit, "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You." His set is 25 minutes long. 

This album is an hour and 31 minutes long.

068 Rock and Roll (Lou Reed)
069 I Love You, Suzanne (Lou Reed)
070 No Money Down (Lou Reed)
071 Turn to Me (Lou Reed)
072 Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed)
073 Video Violence (Lou Reed)
074 talk by Bill Graham (Peter Gabriel)
075 Red Rain (Peter Gabriel)
076 Shock the Monkey (Peter Gabriel)
077 Family Snapshot (Peter Gabriel)
078 Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel)
079 San Jacinto (Peter Gabriel)
080 Biko (Peter Gabriel)
081 Run to You (Bryan Adams)
082 talk (Bryan Adams)
083 It's Only Love (Bryan Adams)
084 Straight from the Heart (Bryan Adams)
085 Tonight (Bryan Adams)
086 Summer of '69 (Bryan Adams)
087 Somebody (Bryan Adams)

The cover photo of Peter Gabriel is from this exact concert.

A Conspiracy of Hope, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 6-15-1986, Part 3 - Ruben Blades, Yoko Ono, Howard Jones, Miles Davis, Neville Brothers & Joan Baez

This is the third of out five albums of the final concert from the 1986 "A Conspiracy of Hope" tour. If you want to know more about the concert in general, check out the write-up for the first part.

This part has an even more eclectic group of artists than the other parts, in my opinion. There also was an emphasis on world music. That's especially true because of two famous musicians who took part, but didn't have sets of their own. Fela Kuti, from Nigeria, played two songs with the Neville Brothers. Carlos Santana, the main force behind the band Santana, played guitar on songs by Ruben Blades, Miles Davis, and the Neville Brothers.

Ruben Blades, from Panama, is one of the most famous musicians from Latin America. He hasn't had a lot of commercial success in the U.S., probably because he's generally stuck to singing in Spanish, as he did for his set here. But he's had dozens of hits in Spanish speaking countries. He's also won eleven Grammy Awards in the U.S., and has acted in many movies. Plus, he's been a politician in Panama.

Yoko Ono is best known for being the wife of John Lennon of the Beatles. She's been criticized for her avant garde singing style. However, she had a conventional hit in the U.S. and Britain in 1981 with the song "Walking on Thin Ice," which she played here.

British singer Howard Jones had a bunch of new wave hits in the 1980s, but he was only allowed to sing one for this concert, "No One Is to Blame."

Miles Davis is one of the most famous jazz musicians of all time. Unfortunately, his peak years were in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s. He retired from music in the late 1970s, letting sex and drugs take over his life. He resumed his music career in the early 1980s and found his greatest commerical success with a more poppy style, but many jazz fans aren't fond of this phase of his career.

Today, the Neville Brothers are one of the most famous bands out of New Orleans, if not the most famous. But in 1986, they weren't that well known, having only released one album under that name, back in 1978. But some of the brothers in the band had had more success, especially Aaron Neville, who had a big hit way back in 1966 with "Tell It like It Is." Folk singer Joan Baez also had lots of success back in the 1960s. For this concert, she sang the Bob Dylan song "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in acappella style. But for the other songs, she was backed by the Neville Brothers. I think it was a successful, though unexpected, collaboration.

This album is an hour and 44 minutes long.

044 Cuentas del Alma (Ruben Blades)
045 talk (Ruben Blades)
046 Tierra Dura (Ruben Blades)
047 talk (Ruben Blades)
048 Todos Vuelven (Ruben Blades)
049 Muevete (Ruben Blades with Carlos Santana)
050 talk (Ruben Blades)
051 Walking on Thin Ice (Yoko Ono)
052 talk (Yoko Ono)
053 Imagine (Yoko Ono)
054 No One Is to Blame (Howard Jones)
055 One Phone Call - Street Scenes - Speak - That's What Happened [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
056 Tutu [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
057 Splatch [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
058 Burn [Instrumental] (Miles Davis with Carlos Santana)
059 Big Chief (Neville Brothers)
060 Goodbye Forever (Neville Brothers)
061 Everybody Better Wake Up (Neville Brothers with Fela Kuti)
062 Midnight Key (Neville Brothers with Carlos Santana & Fela Kuti)
063 The Times They Are A-Changin' (Joan Baez)
064 Shout (Joan Baez & the Neville Brothers)
065 No Woman, No Cry (Joan Baez & the Neville Brothers)
066 Let It Be (Joan Baez & the Neville Brothers)
067 Amazing Grace (Joan Baez & Aaron Neville)

The cover photo is of Joan Baez and the Neville Brothers, and it comes from this exact concert.

A Conspiracy of Hope, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 6-15-1986, Part 2 - Little Steven, Bob Geldof, Stanley Jordan, Joan Armatrading & Jackson Browne

This is Part 2 of the final show of the 1986 "A Conspiracy of Hope" tour. If you want more information on the concert in general, read the write-up for Part 1. Here are just some basic facts about the songs and artists in this part.

Little Steven (Steven van Zandt), was a guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band from the early 1970s. However, he left that band to pursue a solo career in 1984, right before Springsteen became a superstar with his "Born in the U.S.A." album. He didn't have much commercial success as a solo artist, and later rejoined the E Street Band. But he did gain a lot of prominence in 1985 with his anti-Apartheid song "Sun City." I believe John Waite and Darlene Love joined him for his set here, but they only sang backing vocals.

Bob Geldof was the lead singer for the Irish band the Boomtown Rats. But he became more famous in the 1980s for his activism. He helped form the group Band Aid, and co-write their song "We Are the World." Then he organized the 1985 Live Aid concert. I believe he was backed up by Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul for his set here.

Stanley Jordan, a jazz guitarist, was an unusual addition to this concert. He released his debut album was released the year before this concert. It was a sensation, setting records on the jazz charts, due to his unique guitar playing style. He performed all the songs here alone on stage.

I've posted albums by Joan Armatrading and Jackson Browne at this blog before. They're famous enough that I hopefully don't need to describe them. Browne was arguably the most famous of the artists in this album, so it makes sense that his set was the longest of the four here, at 30 minutes. Note that the last song he performed, "I Am a Patriot," was actually written by Little Steven.

This album is an hour and 18 minutes long.

021 Los Desaparecidos (Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul)
022 Sanctuary (Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul)
023 Native American (Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul)
024 talk (Bob Geldof)
025 In the Pouring Rain (Bob Geldof)
026 talk (Bob Geldof)
027 Redemption Song (Bob Geldof)
028 talk (Stanley Jordan)
029 All the Children [Instrumental] (Stanley Jordan)
030 The Sound of Silence [Instrumental] (Stanley Jordan)
031 Eleanor Rigby [Instrumental] (Stanley Jordan)
032 Steppin' Out (Joan Armatrading)
033 Turn Out the Light (Joan Armatrading)
034 I Can't Lie to Myself (Joan Armatrading)
035 Love and Affection (Joan Armatrading)
036 For Everyman (Jackson Browne)
037 Soldiers of Plenty (Jackson Browne)
038 talk (Jackson Browne)
039 Lives in the Balance (Jackson Browne)
040 Till I Go Down (Jackson Browne)
041 For America (Jackson Browne)
042 talk (Jackson Browne)
043 I Am a Patriot (Jackson Browne)

The cover photo of Jackson Browne comes from this exact concert.

A Conspiracy of Hope, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 6-15-1986, Part 1 - John Eddie, Third World, the Hooters, and Peter, Paul & Mary

I've recently had a focus on posting big festival concerts, since those often seem to be overlooked. The next one up is the "A Conspiracy of Hope" concert from 1986. 

There actually was a short tour of six concerts across the United States in June 1986. But this one in East Rutherford, New Jersey (near New York City), the last one of the tour, was special. The six shows featured U2, Sting, Bryan Adams, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Joan Baez, and the Neville Brothers, with occasional additions or reductions in the line-up from show to show. But this final show of the tour was much longer, with many more big names. It was almost like a lesser version of Live Aid, which took place the year earlier. 

The cause this time was the non-profit group Amnesty International, which supports human rights across the world, with an emphasis on using public pressure to get governments to release political prisoners. The concerts had more of a focus on raising awareness than raising money. You can read the Wikipedia page about the Conspiracy of Hope tour here:

A Conspiracy of Hope - Wikipedia

And the Wikipedia page on Amnesty International here:

Amnesty International - Wikipedia 

Luckily for us, the entire concert (from noon to 11 P.M.) was professionally recorded and broadcast on MTV at the time. The last three hours were also broadcast on network TV. Furthermore, the Westwood One radio network broadcast it live. That's why bootlegs of the entire show exist. (I don't know of any good ones from the other five shows on the tour. I actually attended the first one, in San Francisco, as one of my first concerts.)

I'm presenting all of it in chronological order. There's enough for seven hours of music, which I've broken into five albums. I believe it includes all the songs that were played. However, there was a lot of dead air between acts, as well as introductions and speeches that got cut. For instance, I learned from the Wikipedia article above that there were speeches by Senator Bill Bradley, Robert de Niro, Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox, Daryl Hannah, and Muhammad Ali that are not included here (they weren't on the bootleg either).

Not surprisingly, the concert started with some lesser known acts and worked up to the better known ones. The ones on this first album make up a very diverse group. John Eddie had just released his debut album, and had one hit on it, "Jungle Boy." That turned out to be his only hit. (I didn't include his first song because the first half of it was missing.) Third World is a Jamaican reggae band that is still in existence as I write this in 2023. They'd had some poppy crossover hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Hooters, an American rock band, just had two hits in the US the year before, "All You Zombies" and "And We Danced." They wouldn't have much more success in the US, but they'd have more hits in Europe. Finally, there's Peter, Paul and Mary, the folk music trio that found their greatest fame in the 1960s.

I did a lot of editing to improve the sound quality. Most importantly, I thought the lead vocals were consistently low in the mix, so I boosted them for ALL the songs in the entire concert using the audio editing program UVR5. On this album, the song "No Easy Walk to Freedom" had a major glitch that I fixed, which is why it's the only one here with "[Edit]" in the title.

This album is an hour and 17 minutes long.

001 Waste Me (John Eddie)
002 Pretty Little Rebel (John Eddie)
003 Jungle Boy (John Eddie)
004 Now That We Found Love (Third World)
005 96 Degrees in the Shade (Third World)
006 You're Playing Us Too Close (Third World)
007 Try Jah Love (Third World)
008 Jah, Jah Children Moving Up (Third World)
009 talk (Third World)
010 Day by Day (Hooters)
011 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Hooters)
012 Where Do the Children Go (Hooters)
013 Blood from a Stone (Hooters)
014 talk (Hooters)
015 All You Zombies (Hooters)
016 And We Danced (Hooters)
017 If I Had a Hammer (Peter, Paul & Mary)
018 El Salvador (Peter, Paul & Mary)
019 No Easy Walk to Freedom [Edit] (Peter, Paul & Mary)
020 Blowin' in the Wind (Peter, Paul & Mary)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert. Since the artists on this volume aren't big names, I decided to show a photo of the big crowd of over 50,000 people instead.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Colin Blunstone - De Lantaren, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1-16-1974

Yesterday, I posted a Colin Blunstone set as part of the Popgala '73 festival in the Netherlands. I didn't think there were any concert bootlegs of Blunstone from his early 1970s prime, other than the Popgala one. But while I was putting that festival music together, I happened to stumble across this bootleg. It's from some unnamed radio show broadcast, and it's actually better than the Popgala set because it's longer.

This is similar to the Popgala set, even being recorded in the same country, except it's about a year later, so there were some songs from his then-upcoming album "Journey," released later in 1974, such as "Weak for You" and "Brother Lover." And even though it's not a typical full concert of an hour or more, it's long enough to have some deep cuts, such as the acoustic songs that opened the concert.

The sound quality is as good as you'd hope from a radio broadcast of that era, which means it's very good. There were a couple of cases where the applause got cut off, but I did some editing to smooth those spots over by patching in more applause. There also was a cut in the middle of "Time of the Season." But luckily it was during a verse that was repeated elsewhere in the song, so I was able to patch in a fix for that as well. That's why that one song has "[Edit]" in the title.

This album is 46 minutes long.

01 I've Always Had You - Let Me Come Closer to You (Colin Blunstone)
02 Though You Are Far Away (Colin Blunstone)
03 Caroline Goodbye (Colin Blunstone)
04 talk (Colin Blunstone)
05 How Wrong Can One Man Be (Colin Blunstone)
06 I Don't Believe in Miracles (Colin Blunstone)
07 talk (Colin Blunstone)
08 Brother Lover (Colin Blunstone)
09 talk (Colin Blunstone)
10 Weak for You (Colin Blunstone)
11 She's Not There (Colin Blunstone)
12 Time of the Season [Edit] (Colin Blunstone)

I couldn't find any good photos of Blunstone in concert in 1974. I did find a few good color ones from 1973. However, I liked this one better, despite it being black and white. I tried colorizing it, but I actually preferred when I tinted it blue.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Jimmy Buffett - Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA, 6-3-1978

Jimmy Buffett died yesterday as I write this on September 2, 2023. He was 78 years old, and died of complications related to skin cancer.

I hate that so many famous musicians keep dying these days, but when they do I usually feel obliged to mark their musical legacies by posting something from them. So here we go again. I'm not a big fan of his music, so I had to do some research to determine what best to post, and then go find something worthy. 

I decided that I was most interested in hearing a concert from the late 1970s. By that time, he'd written and released most of his famous songs. But in the 1980s, the popular and critical acclaim of his albums went down, even as he increasingly became a cultural institution. Being a savvy businessman, he was able to parlay his image of island escapism into a cottage industry of restaurants, bars, licensed hotels, casinos, cruise experiences, packaged foods, beverages, spirits, outdoor furniture, home goods, appliances, clothes, and more! By the time of his death, he was estimated to be worth as much as a billion dollars! That makes him the second wealthiest musician from his era, behind only Paul McCartney. (Not bad for a guy who only had one Top Ten hit!) Additionally, he was a best selling author in both fiction and non-fiction, and acted in many TV shows and movies.

So good for him. He clearly was a multi-talented individual. But I fear all those other interests increasingly cut into his actual music career. However, back in the 1970s, he was still a singer-songwriter first and foremost. The name "parrothead" to describe his fans hadn't even been invented yet.

Thus, I looked around for full concerts with soundboard quality from that time, and came up with several. But this one had the best sound without any flaws, such as cut or missing songs.

However, there were a couple of problems that almost caused me to pick a different concert. One is that it has many similarities to his official live album from 1978, "You Had to Be There." That was recorded at a bunch of different venues in August 1978, and this is from June 1978, only two months earlier. Both have 19 songs and are about the same length. However, I decided both are different, and I prefer having a complete concert instead of songs picked from many concerts (which in this case also were not put in the usual order they were played). 

One key difference is this has a bunch of songs not only the official album, most especially one of his most famous songs "Cheeseburger in Paradise." According to the Wikipedia entry on the live album, it is speculated that wasn't included because it was a hit in 1978, and the record company didn't want to have two different versions potentially played on the radio. Other songs here not on the official album include: "Banana Republics," "The Coast of Marseilles," "Manana," "The Last Line," and "Livingston Saturday Night."

The bottom line is, if I just want one live album by Buffett, it would be this one and not "You Had to Be There." It also serves as a de facto best of collection, featuring all of his best known songs, with the exception of "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," which came way later, in 2003. 

The other reason I hesitated to pick this album is that while the recording is a soundboard, and the songs sound excellent, the banter between songs was strangely murky. Perhaps he used a lot of reverb and didn't turn it off between songs. Murkiness isn't something I can fix with the UVR5 programs or other AI programs like it, at least as far as I know. 

However, I decided to try something new to fix it. I searched the Internet, and found there's a different kind of AI program that focuses on improving the clarity of vocals. The best one seems to be something called "Enhanced Speech" by Adobe. So I tried that out on some of the banter here, and wow! It made a big difference. I liked it so much that I used it on all the "talk" tracks between songs in this concert. Additionally, I used UVR5 to boost the lead vocals relative to the instruments on all the actual songs.

As an aside, this "Enhanced Speech" could open up more possibilities for sound editing. It seems aimed more to help with speech as opposed to singing, but I'm going to test it out some more to see what it can do. If you can think of any recordings that generally sound great except are marred by muddy vocals, please let me know.

Anyway, although I was familiar with Buffett's best known songs, I'd never heard a full concert from him before. I was generally impressed. Eventually, he turned into more of a caricature and a brand than a musician, but back in 1978 he'd written or covered many good songs, and put on a good show. May he rest in peace.

This album is an hour and 33 minutes long.

01 Son of a Son of a Sailor (Jimmy Buffett)
02 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
03 Pencil Thin Moustache (Jimmy Buffett)
04 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
05 Wonder Why We Ever Go Home (Jimmy Buffett)
06 Landfall (Jimmy Buffett)
07 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
08 Manana (Jimmy Buffett)
09 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
10 Livingston Saturday Night (Jimmy Buffett)
11 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
12 Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffett)
13 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
14 Grapefruit - Juicy Fruit (Jimmy Buffett)
15 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
16 Banana Republics (Jimmy Buffett)
17 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
18 God's Own Drunk (Jimmy Buffett)
19 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
20 Why Don't We Get Drunk (Jimmy Buffett)
21 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
22 The Coast of Marseilles (Jimmy Buffett)
23 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
24 Cheeseburger in Paradise (Jimmy Buffett)
25 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
26 Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (Jimmy Buffett)
27 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
28 A Pirate Looks at Forty (Jimmy Buffett)
29 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
30 Come Monday (Jimmy Buffett)
31 Tampico Trauma (Jimmy Buffett)
32 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
33 Morris' Nightmare (Jimmy Buffett)
34 Dixie Diner [Instrumental] (Jimmy Buffett)
35 talk (Jimmy Buffett)
36 The Last Line (Jimmy Buffett)

The cover photo is from an appearance on the Saturday Night Live TV show in May 1978. I found the fancy lettering of his name on the Internet and squished it to fit the available space.

Popgala '73, Sporthal de Vliegermolen, Voorburg, Netherlands, 3-10-1973, Part 5: The Who

This is the last album from the Popgala '73 festival. For most of the others, I have only vague ideas about the order of the performances. But I came across a mention that the Who closed the festival, so this justly is the last album.

The Who were in a strange place at the time of this concert. By the standards of the time, it had been quite a while since the release of the band's last album, "Who's Next," which came out in August 1971. But their next album, "Quadrophenia," wouldn't be released until October 1973, six months after this concert. They were generally busy in the studio for a full year, since "Quadrophenia" was a challenging rock opera and a double album. It turns out this was the only concert the Who did for about a year, from September 1972 to October 1973. They elected not to play any of the new songs they were still working on, so their set looks much like one from 1971.

I had to piece this set together from two sources. But I came across an accurate set list, so I was able to place all the songs in the correct order. From that set list, I know there's only one song missing - an encore of "Naked Eye." I actually heard a couple of seconds of the start of it at the end of "Magic Bus," but I edited those seconds out since it's frustrating not to hear more. 

Anyway, even though the set list was nothing new for the band back then, and the show was relatively short for them, this still was the Who in their prime. Like virtually all the other performances from this festival, I boosted the lead vocals relative to the instruments using the UVR5 program.

This album is 47 minutes long.

092 Pinball Wizard (Who)
093 Baba O'Riley (Who)
094 talk (Who)
095 Summertime Blues (Who)
096 Won't Get Fooled Again (Who)
097 talk (Who)
098 My Generation (Who)
099 See Me, Feel Me (Who)
100 Magic Bus (Who)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Popgala '73, Sporthal de Vliegermolen, Voorburg, Netherlands, 3-10-1973, Part 4: The Faces

The next album from the Popgala '73 festival is the Faces. (And yeah, I know that technically they're just called "Faces" like the Eagles from this festival are technically just "Eagles.")

The Faces still had their original membership, including Ronnie Lane, who would leave later in 1973. Their album "Ooh La La" was released the same month as this concert, but only "Cindy Incidentally" is from that album.

Or at least that's all we know of. I think it's highly likely there was a lot more to the Faces' set that isn't included here. Other acts at the festival like the Eagles and the Who had sets that were close to an hour long, so I would assume the Faces did too, and they were one of the biggest acts of the festival.

As it is, I had to piece this together from different sources, and I had to make some educated guesses about the song order. It seems "Cindy Incidentally" was the last song, but beyond that much of the rest could be wrong. If anyone has more accurate information, please let me know.

Just like many of the other albums from this festival, I thought the lead vocals were low relative to the instruments, so I adjusted them using UVR5.

This concert is 33 minutes long.

082 Stay with Me (Faces)
083 Angel (Faces)
084 talk (Faces)
085 You Wear It Well (Faces)
086 Maggie May (Faces)
087 Twistin' the Night Away (Faces)
088 Memphis, Tennessee (Faces)
089 True Blue (Faces)
090 talk (Faces)
091 Cindy Incidentally (Faces)

The cover photo of Faces lead singer Rod Stewart comes from this exact concert.

Popgala '73, Sporthal de Vliegermolen, Voorburg, Netherlands, 3-10-1973, Part 3: Livin' Blues & Rory Gallagher

The next album from the Popgala '73 festival features both the band Livin' Blues and Rory Gallagher.

If you haven't heard of Livin' Blues, don't feel bad. They were a Dutch blues band, but never had much success outside of the Netherlands. They don't have an English Wikipedia entry (as I write this in August 2023), so I've had to use the Dutch one:

Livin' Blues - Wikipedia

It's commendable that the festival organizers included some local talent. But note that all three such acts included in the festival (for which some music survived at least) sang in English. Livin' Blues did the rocking blues that was so popular in the early 1970s.

 The Irish singer and lead guitarist Rory Gallagher basically played the same style of rocking blues, but was much more successful with it. So it's disappointing that only two songs by Living Blues and three by Rory Gallagher survived. But most of them are stretched out with lots of soloing.

This album is 36 minutes long. The Rory Gallagher set by itself is 25 minutes long.

077 Hoochie Coochie Man (Livin' Blues)
078 Cherry Girl (Livin' Blues)
079 Messing with the Kid (Rory Gallagher)
080 What in the World (Rory Gallagher)
081 Laundromat (Rory Gallagher)

The cover photo of Rory Gallagher comes from this exact concert. I couldn't find any good ones, so I took a screenshot from the YouTube video of the concert.

Popgala '73, Sporthal de Vliegermolen, Voorburg, Netherlands, 3-10-1973, Part 2: Argent & Colin Blunstone

Next up from the Popgala '73 rock festival is an album containing performances by Argent and Colin Blunstone.

As I mentioned in a previous write-up, I generally don't know the correct order of the performers. However, Rod Argent, the leader of the band Argent, and Colin Blunstone used to be band mates in the Zombies in the 1960s, so I figured it was fitting to put their sets together on one album. 

I don't know if Argent and Blunstone performed together on stage at this concert. I have no evidence this happened. But that's surprising to me, because the two of them continued to musically collaborate during this time period. For instance, Blunstone's most recent album at the time of this concert, "Ennismore," was produced by Argent, and the band Argent played on most of the songs. Blunstone's next album, "Journey," released in 1974, would include two songs written by Argent.

I'm pretty confident these sets are incomplete. (If anyone has anything I'm missing, please let me know!) That's especially the case for Argent, with only three songs here. I put this together from different sources. Even the three Argent songs come from two sources. So I don't know the correct song order, and I just made my best guess, based largely on how the song transitions sounded. I had to make some fixes too. For instance, "Andorra" came to a sudden end with only a second or two of applause at the end, so I patched in more applause from the ends of other songs. Despite all that, the songs ultimately come from the TV broadcast, and the sound quality is consistently excellent.

As an aside, I included two songs from this performance on the Colin Blunstone album I posted, "BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1971-1973." Those songs were "She's Not There" and "Looking for Someone to Love."

This album is 49 minutes long.

066 Keep On Rollin' (Argent)
067 God Gave Rock and Roll to You (Argent)
068 Hold Your Head Up (Argent)
069 I Don't Believe in Miracles (Colin Blunstone)
070 She's Not There (Colin Blunstone)
071 talk (Colin Blunstone)
072 Looking for Someone to Love (Colin Blunstone)
073 Andorra (Colin Blunstone)
074 Time of the Season (Colin Blunstone)
075 talk (Colin Blunstone)
076 I Want Some More (Colin Blunstone)

The cover photo of Colin Blunstone comes from this exact concert. The original was in black and white. I then used the Palette program to colorize it. However, since they're video footage of this performance, I was able to make sure the colors were correct.

Popgala '73, Sporthal de Vliegermolen, Voorburg, Netherlands, 3-10-1973, Part 1: Supersister & Slade

First off, note the title, because it might be confusing. The Popgala '73 festival took place over two days, March 9th and 10th, in 1973. I just posted three albums from March 9th. So this is "Part 1" of the albums from March 10th, while it is also the fourth album overall.

By 1973, glam rock was all the rage, especially in Britain and the rest of the Europe. It seems the festival was represented with Slade and Gary Glitter, but none of the audio from the Gary Glitter set appears to have survived, as I mentioned previously. However, it appears the full Slade set did survive, even though a couple of the songs weren't played on TV at the time.

However, first, there's one song by another band: Supersister. I had never heard about them before, but they were a Dutch prog rock band. Furthermore, it seems they were highly acclaimed, with some prog rock fans saying they were the best such band from continental Europe. That was especially true in the early 1970s, when they released their best albums. You can read more about them at Wikipedia:

Supersister (Dutch band) - Wikipedia

Unfortunately, only one song from their performance has survived, and that is an excerpt from an instrumental. But it's a sizeable one at seven minutes long. (The album version, which came out in 1972, is 21 minutes long.)

That means the vast majority of this album consists of Slade's performance. The band already had three Number One hits in Britain by this time, and their fourth Number One, "Cum On Feel the Noize," was released the same month as this concert. This appears to have been the very first time it was played in concert.

This album is 40 minutes long.

054 Exerpt from Pudding en Gisteren Music for Ballet [Instrumental] (Supersister)
055 talk (Slade)
056 Coz I Luv You (Slade)
057 talk (Slade)
058 Take Me Bak 'Ome (Slade)
059 talk (Slade)
060 Goodbye T' Jane (Slade)
061 Move Over (Slade)
062 talk (Slade)
063 Cum On Feel the Noise (Slade)
064 talk (Slade)
065 Get Down with It (Slade)

The cover photo of the lead singer of Slade, Noddy Holder, is from this exact concert.