Live Aid, the 1985 global benefit concert, will serve as the backdrop for a new stage musical that’s set to take place in London next year. But for those thinking they’re going to get an actual re-enactment of the intercontinental concert benefit, think again.
The show, titled Just for One Day after David Bowie’s song “Heroes,” actually has a central story about how the Band Aid and Live Aid benefits came together balanced by a love story inspired by real events surrounding the concert, per the BBC.
Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof confirmed that while the musical will use songs from bands that performed on that day to help tell the story, it won’t be a straight up tribute to those acts. “This isn’t a tribute thing. I wouldn’t have anything to do with that. So, there isn’t a person dressed up as Freddie wearing a crap mustache. The songs drive the drama along,” assured Geldof.
That said, fans can expect to hear music from Queen, U2, Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney and Sting among others helping to drive the plot.
“The story is based on actual testimony from the day,” explains Geldof. “It’s real people telling their story throughout this. So it’s complex theatre.”
What Was Live Aid?
On Saturday, July 13, 1985, London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium played host to some of the biggest music acts in the world, all gathering together to further the charitable efforts of the Band-Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas” benefit single in raising funds to address famine in Ethiopia. With MTV, ABC and the BBC involved, as well as other networks around the world, performances between the two stadiums of performers were broadcast to a global audience. It’s estimated that £150 million was raised by the concerts and put toward famine relief.
In the U.K., Paul McCartney, The Who, David Bowie, Elton John, Dire Straits, U2, Sting and a host of others performed, with Queen in particular playing a standout set that many have regarded as one of the greatest concert performances. In the U.S., a Led Zeppelin reunion was the big highlight, with Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Hall & Oates with The Temptations, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Judas Priest, a Black Sabbath reunion with Ozzy Osbourne and more highlighting the day.
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More About Just For One Day
The new musical is being made with the full permission of the Band Aid charitable trust, and 10 percent of every ticket sale will go toward Band Aid’s efforts toward famine relief. The show was originally conceived by John O’Farrell, who wrote the Mrs Doubtfire musical, and Luke Sheppard – who directed the musical & Juliet which features the songs of Swedish pop songwriter Max Martin.
Geldof says he attended workshops for the production before deciding to give his endorsement, adding, “”We were blown away. I have to say there was not a dry eye in the house.”
The Boomtown Rats singer turned Live Aid organizer says that he wasn’t exactly keen on being a character portrayed in the production, noting, “Let me be completely blunt. It’s bad enough being Bob Geldof. It’s slightly worse seeing someone else pretending to be you.” He then noted of actor Craige Els who is taking on his role, “The one upside for me is that he’s got an amazing voice, stage Bob, so that people will think I actually sing as good as that. And he got the language right.”
The Just for One Day Live Aid musical will take place at London’s Old Vic Theatre from Jan. 26-March 30. Ticketing info can be found here.
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Gallery Credit: Jordan Blum