MATRIXSYNTH: Ultravox Live Aid

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ultravox Live Aid

YouTube via Indio70. "The 2 songs that were edited out off the official DVD... here they are again enjoy."

Ultravox performing Reap the Wild Wind followed by One Day at Live Aid 1985. One Day is definitely the stronger performance. It's almost like they are just warming up with Reap the Wild Wind. The performance gets even better below. Be sure to catch Vienna. Billy whips out the violin. In the video above: Midge on E-Mu Emulator II and Billy on a Yamaha DX7 and Kurzweil K250.

I remember staying up until the wee hours of the night/morning to catch this live when it was first aired. I forget if they aired all four songs in the US but I definitely remember Vienna and at least one other. If you remember, feel free to comment.

BTW, Midge Ure was the co-organizer behind Live Aid, but for whatever reason I only remember seeing Bob Geldof receiving most of the limelight. I always wondered about that. Probably because Geldof was the main organizer and he was a bit more known in the states? Who knows...

"Here is the 2 other songs from Live Aid -85. These made it on the DVD. Classic Ultravox moment. Don't forget 2 view the other part, with the 2 songs that was cut out of the final DVD."

Dancing With Tears in My Eyes followed by Vienna. Chris Cross on PPG Wave 2.2. I also think I see an Oberheim DX drum machine next to the Emulator in this one. Billy on DX7, MIDIBoard and Violin. Midge on the Emulator.

Anyone know what was used for the drum effect in the original recording of Vienna? I always loved that particular sound.

For more posts on Ultravox click here, be sure to scroll for some of the more interesting posts.

Update: be sure to check out the comments for more including an update on the synths used.


  1. Warren Cann, the Ultravox drummer, used a modified Roland CR-78 when I saw them live in 1983. I don't know if that's the source for the drum sound on Vienna though.

  2. the beginning perc sounds is from a multitracked odyssey with a spoonful of verb, alongside the CR-78.

  3. Interesting. Thanks Ortho.

  4. I remember Warren Cann using two Synare drum pads for the tremoloed white noise percussive sound (I even might have an interview somewhere where this was mentioned). The drum machine is a CR-78 for sure, though.

    Also, my departed friend was an Ultravox enthusiast and contributed on a devoted UV site for a long time and our last discussion ever concerned this particular song and its technical aspects.

    However, only Mr. Cann knows the real truth.

  5. Thanks, the sound I'm particularly wondering about is the kind of explosive echoed sound in the very beginning. Kind of like a mix between folding/warping metallic sheets and explosions. Tangent: I remember a trippy 3D arcade game called Cube Quest or something like that around the mid eighties that had a similar if not the same sound.

    Off to check Google for Cube Quest... And... Here it is: link.

  6. BTW, there's some cool audio and video at the bottom of that page. It was a laser disc based game. I wonder what synths were used for the audio.

  7. i don't know where i got the info that it was Odysseys but i remember it from somewhere. When i got to play with a Synare once i couldn't get it to make sounds even close to the Vienna thunder sound. even the "PSHHHEWW" sound (later in the song) wasn't very close on the Synare, These sounds are pretty easy to make on an Odyssey, but when you play live i guess a Synare is probably close enough.

  8. For starters, that's not a Kurzweil MIDIboard Billy Currie is using in the Live Aid videos, it's a Kurzweil K250 digital synthesizer/sampler.

    Moreover, both Billy Currie and Chris Cross have an OSC Oscar synths in their setup, and Cross' stage setup also comprises a Minimoog (on top of the PPG Wave 2.2).

    Re the explosive echoed sound featured on 'Vienna'; lowland is right, the sound comes from a Synare drum pad.

  9. Oh I forgot to mention that Billy Currie's DX-7 was MIDIed to a TX-816 rack.
    According to Billy, it didn't really sound as good as his trusty Yamaha string machine (the SS-30).

  10. Thanks Micke, I was hoping you'd drop by. I updated the post.

  11. Billy always had an Odyssey and Warren probably used the Synare as a trigger pad to trigger the Odyssey sound, if it was the Odyssey used for that sound.

  12. Note the comment from Warren...



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