Carter Alan on U2’s Memorable Live Aid Set: “One of the Galvanizing Moments” of the Concert

U2 delivered one of the most memorable sets of Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in London in 1985, even though they thought they blew it. For the iconic benefit concert’s 30th anniversary, Carter Alan reflects on the band’s performance in a new Carter’s Catalog.

Carter ended up at Live Aid on a stroke of luck. He couldn’t make the Philadelphia leg of Live Aid, because he happened to be staying in London on an invite from U2. He eventually ended up with a path into Wembley Stadium, and got to see the band’s show up close.

Just as U2 was beginning to grow worldwide on the Unforgettable Fire tour, the band wanted to do something special for Live Aid to show that they were a must-see live band. During “Bad” Bono gestured for a fan to come to the front of the stage. The whole process took longer than expected, stretching the song well past the desired length for their limited set time.

The guys thought they messed up badly taking “Bad” too long, but in reality it was one of the most uplifting moments of the day at Wembley. It’s an early example of U2’s rare combination of grandeur and intimacy that makes them the biggest live band in the world, 30 years on.

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