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"I don't really like hanging out with musicians. [I]t's hard to really talk about anything. Sitting and talking about Peavey amps is not my thing." — Adam

The Great Leap of Faith - Part 2

Hot Press
Elton John came out amid the downpour and the uproar, and, huge lights flashing, launched into "I'm Still Standing." The stadium was singing -- you should have heard it, you should have felt it. The rain, the dark blue sky, the lit up stage, a Goodyear airship overhead, everyone standing, singing, smiling; that picture is etched on my mind as the occasion for once and for all became truly united and euphoric.

Elton's set was a storm blowing out over the stadium. The exceedingly boring Kiki Dee caused a true sensation, probably for the first time in her dull career, as she dueted on the bubblegum hit, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." A bearded George Michael gained some kind of grace by singing Elton's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down" with a confidence and style matched only by the day's finest vocalists. Elton pumped it out 'till the rain stopped during "Can I Get a Witness?" and the heat and dancing began to dry everybody out.

Oh, there was a party going on now, alright. The air was filled with plastic bottles being tossed back and forth while most of one stand kept bellowing "Woah!" The noise grew and exploded into a welcome for the return of Queen's Brian May and Freddie Mercury. They sat on stools and waited for quiet to descend, before performing a slow, acoustic rendition of "Is This the World We Created." The crowd swayed from side to side, treating the simple, well-meant ballad almost like a hymn.

Mercury and May left the stage to a buzz of excitement. What was in store for the ending? The rumoured Beatles reunion with Julian Lennon on guitar? "Don't be stupid!" said the fat Liverpudlian man. A lone figure walked out into the light and sat at the piano. "Keep your fingers crossed," said a girl. "That's Paul..."

The crowd cheered but as the noise subsided, no sound could be heard from the stage. Evidently McCartney was playing and singing...something, but the sound gremlins were at work again. The piano suddenly came through the PA. It was "Let It Be," Paul's head bobbed as he sang, blissfully ignorant of his vocal absence. The crowd joined in anyway, and when his vocal finally came through they bellowed their approval.

Geldof, Townshend, Bowie and Alison Moyet came out to join in the chorus. Everybody sang... never mind that the singing was awful (particularly Geldof's), it was together at the end. "There will be an answer, let it be!"

McCartney and Townshend raised Geldof on their shoulders, the stars of the day began to file onstage -- each new face greeted with cheers. See Bono standing with Paul McCartney, generations and cultures meeting before your very eyes.

"I think you know the next song. It might be a bit of a cock-up, but if you're going to cock it up, you might as well do it with 2 billion people watching you. So let's cock it up together," announced Geldof, as Bowie led the crowd through "Do They Know It's Christmas?" You haven't heard noise until you've heard 72,000 people singing for a cause, you haven't heard the moving power of song. They'll be talking about this for a very long time to come...

The chorus "Feed the world/let them know it's Christmas time," filled the summer night long after the stage had been deserted. It could be heard throughout the stadium, in the corridors and in bursts from the crowds as they headed homeward.

A long time ago, Gerry Moore of Street Talk, a nothing band with big hopes and dreams told me that rock stars could make anything hip. "They can make it cool to be a punk, hip to be a hippy. If the right people give, the people that believe in them will give. Rock 'n' roll is one of the biggest money-spinning rackets in the world, and it could make giving hip."

Geldof had done it, you realised, heading for home. Rock had done it. Given everyone a night to remember, and finally made it cool to be kind.

I know where the fee for this article is going.



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