Last week I blogged twice about the unexpected death of David Bowie on the 10th of January, at the age of 69 from stomach cancer. In part 1 of this blog (see here), I mentioned that I would be posting a second part but would have to wait until I got back to Cardiff. Well, I have managed to track down the video which I wanted to post in the second part; I thought I was going to have to rip the relevant part from my own DVD collection.
The clip comes from Bowie’s performance at Live Aid in July 1985. I was lucky enough to be at the Live Aid concert in Wembley Stadium, and Bowie had the same 4 or 5-song slot as the other major artists (see below). He was scheduled between Queen and The Who. Queen, with the charisma of Freddie Mercury, had whooped the crowd up into a high state of frenzy, and Bowie continued this with a very dynamic set, ‘TVC 15’, then ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Modern Love’ and ‘Heroes’.
But, as he finished ‘Heroes’, with the crowd all enjoying themselves in the glorious weather, he decided to forsake his fifth song. Instead, he introduced this harrowing video to remind everyone why we were there – to raise money for people starving unnecessarily in Ethiopia. The footage had recently been taken by a film crew from the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC).
To say that the mood of the 100,000 people at Wembley Stadium changed in a few seconds would be an understatement. I have never seen so many people weep simultaneously as the images played before us; images of a famine which had shocked the western world so much over the previous 6-7 months. As a stroke of genius, the images were shown to the eery and moving accompaniment of the Cars’ hit song ‘Drive’.
Bowie, not needing the publicity that a Live Aid performance was giving to many artists, decided we all needed to be reminded of why we were really there.
I cannot say “enjoy”, as this video is not enjoyable. But, it is very moving.