In the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, the band's manager and lawyer Jim tells Queen that the entire line up for the show was ready and that all the tickets had already been sold out. Yet he managed to squeeze them in.

My question is, if all the tickets were already sold out even before it was announced that Queen was playing, Queen's performance would have in no way increased the ticket sales or revenue generated from the show right?

Or was there a separate revenue generated from their show alone ? Which we see towards the end of the movie when the display board reads £1million?

Edit: The following is from the movie transcript.

"Bob Geldof. I called to convince him to squeeze you guys into the lineup for the Live Aid concert... but he wants an answer now. You have to make a decision. Every ticket's already sold. " Read more: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=bohemian-rhapsody

  • "if all the tickets were already sold out even before it was announced that Queen was playing" --> my question: is this true?
    – usul
    May 27, 2019 at 2:19
  • "Bob Geldof. I called to convince him to squeeze you guys into the lineup for the Live Aid concert... but he wants an answer now. You have to make a decision. Every ticket's already sold. " Read more: springfieldspringfield.co.uk/…
    – penguin99
    May 27, 2019 at 2:28
  • @usul check the above link. That's what the movie says
    – penguin99
    May 27, 2019 at 2:28
  • the movie is historically wrong in many other respects, so I would request a valid source. See for example thewrap.com/… (edit: or is your question not about what actually happened in reality, but just about what story would make the movie self-consistent?)
    – usul
    May 27, 2019 at 11:27
  • @usul I'm not worried about the historical facts. I'm just concerned about small doubts like these which may affect the consistency of a film.
    – penguin99
    May 27, 2019 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


The revenue for Live Aid wasn't really from the ticket sales, it was from phone-in pledges for the charity fronted by Bob Geldof.

Tickets were only £5, but included a donation to the charity, making entry £35 in total.

The bulk of the money came from donations, on the day and following, and also from the DVD sales [much, much later I just realised, the DVD was 2004] - which were given special status and all the tax on them was also given to the charity.

The movie takes slight liberties when it claims that donations rose massively entirely due to Queen's 20 minutes on stage; though the details are incorrect, the notable brilliance of their set did elevate them in the eyes of the audience, live and the millions watching on TV.

You have to bear in mind that this was an unprecedented event. Nothing remotely like this had ever been done before.
Two major concerts, in London and Philadelphia. Live broadcast to the entire world, with a global audience never dreamed of before... and all in the days of analogue TV, no internet, no global communications network like we have now.
Pretty much everyone who was anyone was on it - Bowie, U2, The Who, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan... everybody wanted to be on it. Phil Collins even played at both gigs - he flew Concord to do it. Led Zeppelin even reformed to play it, their first gig since the death of John Bonham.
The acts all played for free.

It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time; an estimated audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast, nearly 40% of the world population.

The emotional impact was colossal.
The money raised was stunning - estimated total £150,000,000.

The true story, rather than the movie version, was really that Bob Geldof got so emotionally intense he started swearing on Live daytime TV - in an era where you'd hardly hear this kind of language after 10pm.

Throughout the concerts, viewers were urged to donate money to the Live Aid cause. Three hundred phone lines were manned by the BBC, so that members of the public could make donations using their credit cards. The phone number and an address that viewers could send cheques to were repeated every twenty minutes.

Nearly seven hours into the concert in London, Bob Geldof enquired how much money had been raised so far; he was told about £1.2 million. He is said to have been sorely disappointed by the amount and marched to the BBC commentary position. Pumped up further by a performance by Queen which he later called "absolutely amazing", Geldof gave an interview in which BBC presenter David Hepworth had attempted to provide a postal address to which potential donations could be sent; Geldof interrupted him in mid-flow and shouted "Fuck the address, let's get the numbers". Although the phrase "give us your fucking money" has passed into folklore, Geldof has stated that it was never uttered. Private Eye magazine made great humorous capital out of this outburst, emphasising Geldof's Irish accent which meant the profanities were heard as "fock" or "focking". After the outburst, donations increased to £300 per second.

No doubt Queen did play their part in that

Queen's twenty-one minute performance, which began at 6:41 pm, was voted the greatest live performance in the history of rock in a 2005 industry poll of more than 60 artists, journalists and music industry executives.

but I don't think they were singularly responsible for the uptick.

Quotes from Wikipedia - Live Aid

Some nice anecdotes with pictures from
RadioX - Was Live Aid the greatest gig ever? Or the most cringeworthy?
Ignore the click-bait title, the report is actually reasonably reverential, with the occasional poke, and some nice incidental facts.

  • 6
    "DVD sales" in 1985? May 26, 2019 at 20:03
  • 2
    Maybe they were pre-orders :) May 26, 2019 at 23:46
  • @Tetsujin, apart from their phenomenal performance, is there any proof of Queen's performance alone increasing the sales from the live aid? Because in the movie, towards the end when Freddie meets his father, he says "Good words good deeds" referring to how his performance would benefit the live aid as he didn't take a single money. So I was just wondering if Queen's did in any way increase the revenue generated
    – penguin99
    May 27, 2019 at 2:33
  • I was there. Well, I was in Philly and Queen's performance was broadcast on the "Diamondvision" as the sets were staggered so that in most cases neither audience had to wait long to see a live performance. Honestly, I didn't really think Queen's set was that stunning. The newly reformed Black Sabbath were actually much better, IMO. And one thing you can't hear from the live DVD release is that when Phil Collins did In The Air Tonite in Philly, the audience of 75,000 sang the echoed vocals you hear on the album version. THAT sent chills up my spine. May 27, 2019 at 3:21
  • 1
    @noorav - you're wishing for information that doesn't exist; that the movie version is 'the truth'. It isn't, it's a subtle distortion of the truth from a movie about the band in question. Of course they're going to make it from their perspective & generally shape the plot for the audience.
    – Tetsujin
    May 27, 2019 at 9:01

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