Today in 1985 Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones reunited for the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, playing a short set featuring Phil Collins on drums (Collins had contributed to Plant’s first two solo albums). However, the performance was marred by the lack of rehearsal, Page’s struggles with an out-of-tune guitar and poorly-functioning monitors, and by Plant’s hoarse voice. Page himself has described the performance as “pretty shambolic”, while Plant was even less charitable, characterizing it as an “atrocity”. When Live Aid footage was released on a four-DVD set in late 2004, the group unanimously agreed not to allow footage from their performance to be used, asserting that it was not up to their standards. Setlist: Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven.
Live Aid was organized by Bob Geldof (The Boomtown Rats, “Pink” in the 1982 film The Wall) to raise funds for the then-ongoing famine relief in Ethiopia. It was a dual-venue concert, held simultaneously between JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and Wembley Stadium in London. Images were broadcast to over 1.5 billion people in 160 countries, making it the largest live broadcast ever known. The cream of the world’s biggest rock stars took part. Artists included Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, The Who, U2, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Queen, Tina Turner, The Cars, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Bryan Adams, Hall and Oats and Lionel Richie.